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Old 02-03-2010, 05:28 PM   #1
BubbaK
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Default specialty grains in extract brew

I started using lab grade deionized, RO water for my last few extract kits. I've been reading that all the minerals and stuff gained through the water are already in the LME so why not. The beer has been very clear and smooth-- I'm pretty happy so far. I was concerned with the specialty grains..When I steep the specialty grains, should I use normal water? Do they need any of the extra minerals that have been filtered out?

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Old 02-03-2010, 05:34 PM   #2
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Since it's going into your wort, you should probably use the same type of water you're normally accustomed to. The main purpose of specialty grains is to extract color and flavor from the grains themselves, so whatever kind of water you normally use shouldn't be a big deal. After you do your steeping, you'd brew as you normally would in an extract batch.

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Old 02-03-2010, 05:35 PM   #3
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my knee jerk reaction is to say yes. if i remember correctly the water profile will affect tannin extraction even in specialty grain. but if your not having any problems i wouldn't worry.

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Old 02-04-2010, 01:31 AM   #4
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Beer is about what tastes good. If you use crappy water, it will taste crappy.
Drink a glass of that RO water and see what you think of the taste. Compare it to your tap water.
Use whatever you like better.

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Old 02-05-2010, 01:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceFisherChris View Post
Beer is about what tastes good. If you use crappy water, it will taste crappy.
Drink a glass of that RO water and see what you think of the taste. Compare it to your tap water.
Use whatever you like better.

I agree that my tap water does taste better than RO... RO has no flavor. But wouldn't the true flavoring come from the ingredients?

I've brewed using bottled water, well (my tap) water, and RO water. I have yet to brew the same flavor side by side using the different waters though. May be a good test. I've been happy with my tap water brews, but with the RO water, I think I'm getting a clearer beer. My tap water is high in dissolved solids.
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Old 02-05-2010, 01:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaK View Post
I agree that my tap water does taste better than RO... RO has no flavor. But wouldn't the true flavoring come from the ingredients?
Yes, and tap water does contain ingredients.
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Old 02-05-2010, 02:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaK View Post
I agree that my tap water does taste better than RO... RO has no flavor. But wouldn't the true flavoring come from the ingredients?
I'm sure the true flavor of beer does come from it's own ingredients, but people are used to drinking water with minerals. And those minerals give a hidden taste. If you made 1 beer from RO water and 1 from good tap water, I doubt either would taste bad. I'm sure I would gladly drink either. I would even more gladly drink both. It's one of those things that you would have to experiment with to really know the answer.

I guess this is kind of getting off topic. I can't really comment on whether or not the water should have minerals to extract flavors/compounds in the grains :P
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Old 02-05-2010, 01:48 PM   #8
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I don't think the lack of minerals will affect the steep. Like BlueSunshine said, you're only pulling color/flavor (not a mash.)

But there's this from Janson's Brew Chem 101 book: He says the the biggest problem with steep or sparging is water too hot or too high a PH. He says PH too high results in extraction of tannins, silicates, large proteins, & fatty materials that contribute to off-flavors. He seems to think 5.7 is an ideal PH.

I don't know jack about de-ionized water. . .what's the PH?

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Old 02-05-2010, 03:14 PM   #9
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I thought that the problem with DI water was that it is very aggressive, especially to copper? All of the DI water supply in our microbiology labs were plastic pipe and fittings because of that.
From the Wiki
"The very lack of ions make deionized water unusually corrosive and one of the most aggressive solvents known."
but i could be a dumbass and talking through my hat.

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Old 02-05-2010, 05:56 PM   #10
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Torbanac, that's true that it is aggressive. Whether or not it's a big deal to the copper wort chiller.. I don't know, I guess it depends on how long you let it sit in the boil and how many batches you do. But you make a good point about deionized water. I don't think its worth the hassle to use it instead of tap water (unless yours tastes like crap)

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