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Old 05-09-2007, 07:43 PM   #1
May 2007
Posts: 66

i have a question about using reverse osmosis water for all-grain brewing beer.

i have been using reverse osmosis water for about a year now and would like a bit more info.
i have been having some minor problems like gushing and would like to know if it could be from lack of minerals in R.O. water.
what i mean with gushing is when i open warm beer is gushes out.
when i cool my beer , it dosen't gush, it's perfect, great ,tasting marvelous stuff.
so i don't think it's bacteria because it's awesome beer ,once cooled.
so what minerals could i add or try?
or should i not be using R.O. water at all?

thank you ,happy brewing. later.

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Old 05-10-2007, 01:20 AM   #2
Feb 2007
Posts: 205
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The problem with RO water is its lack of minerals. It has nothing to do with your gushing beers. The gushing of warm beer is simply due to the fact that CO2 is more soluble in cold liquid than warm liquid. Thus, when warm, the excess CO2 immediately comes out of solution when you uncap it. Thus the gusher.

The lack of minerals do cause some other problems. With the high ph and lack of calcium, you won't get as good conversion in the mash and your efficiency will suffer a little. Also, the various minerals (or lack thereof) will affect the flavor of your beer. John Palmer does discuss this in detail in the water chemistry chapter in Some minerals such as the sulfates will emphasize the hop bitterness. Others will have other effects.

I do make use of RO water in all my all grain brews. This is because my tap water is very high in carbonates. I cut my tap water 50/50 with RO water for most brews to bring the mineral content to acceptable levels. For very light beers such as pilsners, I use 75% RO water.

You really should use at least some percentage of tap water with the RO or add minerals to your water. In order to know where to start, you should contact your local water utility and request a water report on the tap water. These are normally free (or available for the cost of copying) since these are public records. In my case, I had to talk to 3 different people including the city engineer since no one had ever asked for one of these before. It took them a while to find the latest report.

If you decide not to use any of your tap water, then you need to doctor the RO water yourself. Here is a handy chart to help you know what to aim for.
Figuring out how much of what to add can be a little tricky. You need to use something like BreWater 3.0 to figure it out. This calculator can be found at

Hope this helps out a little.

Bugeater Brewing Company

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Old 05-10-2007, 02:33 PM   #3
May 2007
Posts: 66

thanks wayne;
i have another question for you .my tap water has a clorine smell.what should i do just let it sit for a day or two?also should i use water that has gone though a water softner?

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Old 05-10-2007, 04:51 PM   #4
Got Trub?
Apr 2007
Washington State
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As far as the chlorine smell you can run it through a water filter like a Brita, let it sit for a few days or use bottled water.

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Old 05-10-2007, 06:06 PM   #5
Jul 2005
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I bought a $20 shower water filter and a hose-to-faucet converter. The filter removes A LOT of the chlorine taste and smell, but doesn't strip out all the minerals.
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:52 PM   #6
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Oct 2006
Richmond, VA
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I use 1/2 Campden tablet per about 8 gallons of water to eliminate chloramine in my tap water. I haven't had any issues with chlorophenolic taste in my beers, and my water has a decent amount of chloramine in it straight out of the tap.
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:58 PM   #7
Denny's Evil Concoctions
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Oct 2005
West Kelowna BC, Canada
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If it's chlorine then use a carbon filter or boil it to remove the chlorine or some of thee suggestions.

If its chloramine, you have to use a special type of carbon filter. There was a thread on this a few days ago.

Basically, if you boil water and let it cool and it still smells/tastes like chlorine.. then it is chloramine.

I've been tempted to go the RO route on pilsners since we have a fair bit of carbonate in our water and the water is also fairly hard. Might just use bottled RO water mixed with tap water for my next pils.
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Old 05-10-2007, 09:17 PM   #8
May 2007
Posts: 66

i have another water question. what is a good P.H.reading for brewing water?

also, what do i use to adjust P.H. up or down?

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Old 05-10-2007, 11:18 PM   #9
Mar 2007
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I believe 5.2-5.5 is a good pH throughout brewing.
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Old 05-10-2007, 11:38 PM   #10
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Jun 2006
Taunton, MA
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5.2-5.5 pH is a good mash ph range not brewing water pH range. The ph of your water really does not mean that much, what is important is the pH of your mash. The pH of you mash will be dropped by the acidic nature of the grains. The darker the grain, the more acidic your mash. Alkalinity is a measurement of how easily your pH can be changed. That is why the high alkalinity water in Ireland is perfect for stouts and the low alkalinity water in Czechoslovakia is perfect for pilsners.

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