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Old 07-19-2010, 03:26 AM   #1
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Default Water Filtration

How necessary is water filtration? I've got a few brews under my belt now, I'm happy with them, but I've always borrowed a friend's carbon filter and filtered my water and let it sit over night before brewing. This was recommended to me, but I'm wondering how necessary it is. My friend is a beer judge and has won several awards so I know it's probably better to do things this way, and I know that I'll still get beer if I don't filter my water, but I want to know how big a difference this is going to make. Should I go out and buy a carbon filter? I've got another friend that uses an RO filter for his fish tanks could I use that or would I have to add minerals in if I use RO water? Would boiling for a few minutes before adding extracts be enough? Perhaps I should relax and have a homebrew

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Old 07-19-2010, 03:50 AM   #2
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I use straight RO water on some of my beers and I haven't noticed any downsides. Some people will say otherwise, but my experience tells me it doesn't matter much.

I do add minerals to most of my water though.

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Old 07-19-2010, 04:36 AM   #3
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The important thing is that you're not putting chlorine or chloramine in your beer. RO, carbon filter, or Campden tablets take care of chlorine and chloramine, boiling will only remove chlorine.

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Old 07-19-2010, 11:05 AM   #4
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I use straight RO water on some of my beers and I haven't noticed any downsides. Some people will say otherwise, but my experience tells me it doesn't matter much.

I do add minerals to most of my water though.
ummmm - then it's not straight RO water is it. You are adding the most important reason NOT to use straight RO water back into it, minerals.

If your water tastes bad it will show in the beer. Al our water comes into the house softened already - city does it. I use a carbon filter from Walgreens - costs $30.

After the filter no need to sit it over night! )Like my fish tank water). It's all about taste. If it tastes good it's good to go unless it's RO and you need minerals.
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:48 AM   #5
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ummmm - then it's not straight RO water is it. You are adding the most important reason NOT to use straight RO water back into it, minerals.

......unless it's RO and you need minerals.
I hate reading these forums and seeing someone come in with a huge correction on somebody's wording, so im going to try it out and see how it feels.

The 1884 guy said to different things. And I'm sure he also meant a combination of the two different things he said. He said he has used straight RO water. Then he said he adds minerals to most of his beers. I gather from this, and I have seen it before, as well as heard about it in BJCP class, that the guy is making his own water profile with "straight RO water" AND minerals. It's a great method for creating water to match any profile you can imagine.

I use straight filtered city water. Mainly because the mineral content in our city's water looked ok from a data sheet we had on hand at one point. So really, the only reason why I use a carbon filter is to remove the chlorine and chloramide.
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Old 07-19-2010, 01:04 PM   #6
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You're correct Dark, but not 100%. While I do at minerals to MOST of my beers, some of them I get lazy and don't bother. So...I'm using straight RO water on a few beers here and there without any issues.

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Old 07-19-2010, 02:40 PM   #7
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Really!? Everything I've read about RO said your beer would have a flat taste.

So general consensus is use a carbon filter for chlorine/chloramine and if I get serious later I can start fooling with minerals and RO water.

So I still wonder should I be filtering my water the night before brew day and letting it sit over night to help off flavors dissipate?

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Old 07-19-2010, 09:30 PM   #8
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Grinder said above that there's no need for it to sit overnight.

And as far as the flat taste goes with RO water...I've never had it. I think some of these myths come from people who have learned one way and never actually tried it another way. I tried it, and although I'm happier with my beers when I add minerals, they taste fine without.

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Old 07-19-2010, 10:16 PM   #9
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I think the necessity of filtering water depends on where you live and what kind of water you have.

Currently, I live in an area with arsenic in our well water along with lots of iron. For that reason, I use RO water and add minerals back into it. There are folks I know who just use their well water or use a carbon filter. It depends on what your water profile looks like. When I lived in New Mexico, I would have been good just using our well water. When I was in Florida, we had too much sulfur in the water to make it worth using.

If you are using city water, I would filter. If you are on a well in Indiana, I would guess your well water will be good to go...

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Old 07-19-2010, 11:21 PM   #10
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Check google for your municipality or county or regional water boards website. They will have their readings listed. I was pretty surprised at how many details my county water boards website had. It includes various natural springs and their quality and so forth for area well using citizens.

Another thing about RO water is that once most/all of the particles are removed from your water, it's PH buffering ability is virtually gone. Thats not a bad thing, just something to bear in mind I guess. Basically, RO water will take on whatever PH of the items mixed in with it without resistance.

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