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Old 12-23-2009, 05:23 AM   #1
Dec 2009
Posts: 7

Anyone try this? I'm currently drinking some Baron's brew (Brown Ale), used the water from my water softener (First batch I've ever done). Slight salty after taste, other than that, it's great. Next batches I'm trying without. Curious if others have noticed the difference. Thanks.

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Old 12-23-2009, 05:38 AM   #2
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marubozo's Avatar
May 2009
SW Michigan
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I used to brew with my tap water that was treated with a water softener, but I got a nagging unpleasantly bitter aftertaste in all of my beers. It wasn't salty like you describe, but it wasn't ideal, either.

In my case I just started splitting up my brewing water. I'll use about half tap water and half distilled water in my brew to get a more balanced water profile.

There is some debate as to what effect water softener water has on the overall taste, but without a true water test showing what's in it, it's really a guessing game. I just took the conservative route and started introducing some distilled water into the mix and am happy with the results.

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Old 12-23-2009, 09:09 AM   #3

From what I understand, the softening process puts a ton of sodium into the water, so it's recommended to never use water from a softener. You'll haveta look it up though.

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Old 12-23-2009, 09:19 AM   #4
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Mar 2007
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The sodium ion exchange is what does it. If you have or put and R/O system after it you will be fine.
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:17 PM   #5
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Apr 2008
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The problem that I had was that I had no head retention...barely even a head, actually. I draw my water from the out door faucet (not on the softener) and have never had a problem since. I don't believe I had much of an aftertaste, but I was still new and learning.
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:59 PM   #6
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Dec 2005
Round Rock Texas
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From what I understand, the softening process puts a ton of sodium into the water
To be accurate, the exchange of sodium with hardness minerals is just that, an exchange. The more hardness minerals - primarily calcium and magnesium - the more sodium is exchanged.

The problem is two fold in terms of brewing:

1. The addition of sodium
2. The removal of calcium & magnesium

The removal of hardness will negatively impact mashing, hop bitterness and so on.

The alternate "salt" used in water softeners is Potassium Chloride which will exchange the potassium ion for the hardness ions. Same problem - different mask!

BTW, for those that say water softeners put salt in your water. Salt is a compound. For what we commonly know as salt for softeners and table use it is Sodium Chloride, one of many types of "salt" that exists as compounds. The ion exchanged in a water softener is only the Sodium ion and it has a metallic taste to most peoples senses and does not taste like "salt" at all. (unpleasantly bitter aftertaste)
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Old 12-23-2009, 03:16 PM   #7
The Pol
Feb 2007
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You have soft, salty water... like me.

I buy all of my water, distilled, then build water profiles for each beer I brew.

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Old 12-23-2009, 04:02 PM   #8
Apr 2008
Posts: 341

Here is a good article on the contents of water and their effects.

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Old 12-23-2009, 05:13 PM   #9
Dr Vorlauf
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Dec 2007
Lehigh Valley,PA
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I always use the bypass on my softener when brewing. My water is fairly hard but since I tend to do darker beers there isnt much of an issue.

If I wanted to do lighter styles I would go with distilled or store bought water ( with known mineral profile ) and build it up with salts as needed.
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Old 12-23-2009, 05:31 PM   #10
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Jul 2009
Sacramento, CA
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I use my softened water all the time without any effect on tatse. I do, however, have a whole house water filter as well.

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