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Old 05-03-2012, 04:32 PM   #1
May 2012
Boston, MA
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I have been using distilled water(to top off, tap water for boil) in my brews and was wondering what anyone's opinions were on water to use. Aside from RO water and creating an exact chemical balance, distilled is the only one void of minerals that can alter flavor.

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Old 05-03-2012, 04:37 PM   #2
Shaneoco1981's Avatar
Apr 2011
Rochester, MI
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The minerals in the boil water affect the taste just as much as the top off water.

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Old 05-03-2012, 04:40 PM   #3
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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From Brewing Your First Extract Beer

For the water, you want to use the best possible water for your beer. When I brewed extract beers, I always used spring water purchased at a grocery store and never really seemed to have a problem with it. Since you may not be boiling all of the water used in your beer, you want your water to come from as pristine a source as possible. You will also need to make sure you don't use distilled water as it does not have the mineral content needed to make beer. The minerals in spring water are needed in beer so we need to make sure we use water that contains minerals. If you have any questions about your water, it is not a bad idea to give it a quick boil in order to kill off anything unsanitary that might be lurking in it
John Palmer, How To Brew your first beer (Revised v-2)

The water is very important to the resulting beer. After all, beer is mostly water. If your tap water tastes good at room temperature, it should make good beer. It will just need to be boiled for a few minutes to remove the chlorine and kill any bacteria. If the water has a metallic taste, boil and let it cool before using to let the excess minerals settle out, and pour it off to another vessel. Do not use water from a salt based water softener. Do not use Distilled (De-ionized) water. Beer, and Ale particularly, needs the minerals for flavor. The yeast need the minerals for proper growth. A good bet for your first batch of beer is the bottled water sold in most supermarkets as Drinking Water. Use the 2.5 gallon containers. Use one container for boiling the extract and set the other aside for addition to the fermenter later.
Other folks argue that you're getting the minerals from the extract, but I tend to differ to John Palmer on many things.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:42 PM   #4
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Feb 2009
Tucson, AZ
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Originally Posted by sully20331 View Post
I have been using distilled water(to top off, tap water for boil) in my brews and was wondering what anyone's opinions were on water to use. Aside from RO water and creating an exact chemical balance, distilled is the only one void of minerals that can alter flavor.
Correct, but you must take into consideration that the malt, liquid or dry, (I am assuming you are extract brewing) will create a very similar if not the same water profile in distilled or RO water that was used to make the wort for the extract.

If you are using tap water, then you are effectively combining your tap water profile with your malt extract's water profile, possibly having some of your minerals in more than desirable concentrations.

If this is the case, I would recommend using all RO or Distilled water for brewing extract when using full boils.

Diluting your tap water boil with distilled water is helpful, yet if your mineral concentrations are much too high, you more than likely aren't diluting down to where the levels belong when topping up.

If you are unable to do full boils, I would suggest boiling the wort with the Distilled water, and topping up with a mix of 50/50 tap water and Distilled water. That might be a better compromise.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:45 PM   #5
May 2012
norfolk, va
Posts: 5

When you boil water it removes harmful bacteria but does not remove minerals in the water itself. I am new to brewing but everything I have read the minerals in your water effect the flavor of your beer a minor amount that makes your beer unique and distinctive flavor. And if you have a heavy mineral water you may need to treat it.

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Old 05-03-2012, 05:08 PM   #6
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Jun 2007
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I thought I've read that mineral content can also affect hop flavors, although I'm pretty sure it was 'too much of this' would cause some harsh hop flavors, rather than a 'lack of enough' which is what distilled would give you.

I keep some jugs of spring water handy for these situations.
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Old 06-10-2012, 04:13 PM   #7
Jun 2012
tooele, ut
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I have been thinking about using distilled water for some time with my extract brews. When the extract is made I assume they use suitable water treatment and the minerals get carried through into the LME/DME. So why add more minerals by using tap or bottled spring water when I can use distilled water?

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Old 06-10-2012, 04:47 PM   #8
Oct 2011
Worcester, MA
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I just use a PUR water filter, because my faucet is a wierd size and I can't find a coupling for a 3/4-27 faucet (its pretty small), so that I can use a camco water filter. Besides the water, there are a lot more things that a home brewer could do to alter the taste, IMO Filtered water is fine, I just try not to mess it up by doing other dumb things.

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