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Old 10-21-2010, 02:36 PM   #1
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Default Using Distilled water

Haven't fully decided if I am going to use tap water or not for my first extract w/speciality grain brews. The tap water tastes good, I drink it from the tap all the time but I haven't had a chance to test for chloride, chlorine etc. levels and would hate for my first brews to taste like medicine so I have contemplated using distilled water.

If I go the distilled water route, what do I need to add to the water to harden it since distilled water is soft water?

Thanks!

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Old 10-21-2010, 02:57 PM   #2
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Without going too deep into water chemistry, tap water will be fine. If you're worried about chlorine/chloramines, use an activated charcoal inline water filter. I picked mine up at bed bath and beyond for like $16.

If you want to get into water chemistry, here's a place to start.
http://www.winning-homebrew.com/brewing-water.html

I really don't recommend making water profiles from scratch unless you have a good idea what you're doing. I made a few mediocre batches of beer when I first started adjusting my water.

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Old 10-21-2010, 02:57 PM   #3
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If your tap water tastes good then I doubt it will cause your beer to taste like medicine. My understanding is if you are doing an extract brew than you are fine using distilled water because the extract already contains the minerals that the yeast need. I did my first extract brew with distilled and it is coming along fine.

If you are doing all grain my understanding is you shouldn't use distilled, or at least then you need to add some stuff.

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Old 10-21-2010, 03:09 PM   #4
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Have you ever baked a cake or cookies and forgot to add salt? It doesn't taste good. The same is true with brewing salts and water ions.

Even though the yeast will be fine with just the minerals from the extract, there are a lot of flavor components in your water that you'll be missing if you use distilled. Unless your water tastes bad and is horribly hard, you'll get better results from an inline filter than going totally distilled.

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Old 10-21-2010, 03:55 PM   #5
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If you're worried about your water then you can use distilled/spring water with no issues if your brewing with extracts. The minerals in the Maltster's water have been dried and are now part of the extracts. Until you make the jump to All Grain Brewing, there isn't too much to worry about as far as Water Chemistry is concerned.

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Old 10-21-2010, 05:18 PM   #6
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I used distilled water once because I didn't know what I was doing. The beer came out weird and lifeless. Just really strange.

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Old 10-21-2010, 06:00 PM   #7
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Especially if you are extract brewing, don't waste money on bottled water unless your tap water tastes horrible. If you are worried about chlorine, boil 6 gals or so of tap water the night before and let it cool. This will dissipate the chlorine. When brewing with extracts you really don't have to worry a lot about water chemistry. I live in an area with extremely alkaline (hard) water. Haven't had any extract brewing problems. Now AG brewing has been another story.

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Old 10-21-2010, 06:07 PM   #8
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I use bottled Poland Spring water... all grain. 3 to 4 2.5 gallon jugs. My tap water is fine. However, since I changed to bottled (at the request of SWMBO), I find my beer to be cleaner tasting... a very subtle, barely detectable sulfury taste that used to be there is now gone.

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Old 10-21-2010, 06:25 PM   #9
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are you on a well? Is your water softened? If yes to either question, i'd use bottled spring water and brew something in the 12-15 srm range.

if no, use tap.

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Old 10-21-2010, 06:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Especially if you are extract brewing, don't waste money on bottled water unless your tap water tastes horrible. If you are worried about chlorine, boil 6 gals or so of tap water the night before and let it cool. This will dissipate the chlorine.
You don't have to boil water to allow chlorine to dissipate, it will do it on its own in 24 hours or less. If your water has chloramines you will need to treat it with campden (1 tablet/20gal) as choloramines will not dissipate. Campden will also handle the chlorine.
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