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Old 11-14-2007, 10:14 PM   #1
beergears
 
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I am using my local tap water here, in the Northeast.

Do we (New-Englanders) know the characteristics of the our typical local water, as related to general beer styles?

(i.e. London local water agrees/gives a certain character to local beers, which is different from Berlin's water and beer styles, etc.)


Anybody with a strong feeling about their local water and its impact on their brewing?


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Old 11-14-2007, 10:33 PM   #2
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Get in touch with your water utility and ask to get a copy of the water quality report. It will give you a break down on what's in the water. Then go to www.howtobrew.com and go to the chapter on water. There are nomographs you can do to determine what your water is best suited for and what salts you can use to adjust it to style. Water quality varies by the local source.


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Old 11-14-2007, 10:54 PM   #3
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Additionally if you think you might have problems brewing out of some old plumbing, from your garden hose, or if you are using well water, the University of Massachusetts Amherst will test your water for you. Here is the link to their soil test division, they also do water testing:

http://www.umass.edu/plsoils/soiltest/

Send them a bottle of water and some money and they send you a report in about 6 weeks.
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:11 PM   #4
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Varies WIDELY! I would say.

Are you on city/town water? Is it from a resevoir, treatment plant, etc. Do you have well water? Is it a deep well, shallow well. Do you have water from a spring? Deep, shallow? What is your location, mountains, valley, heavily populated, rural?...


Northeast may be small but it is rather diverse in topography/population depending on where you are. Definately check with your town/city water dept. for a report. That being said. My water dept. way up here only tests for nasty stuff and does not analyze the amounts of items we would be concerned with. If you really want to know and your town won't/can't help you will have to pay for a analysis.


Otherwise you can just not worry about it.
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beergears
I am using my local tap water here, in the Northeast.

Do we (New-Englanders) know the characteristics of the our typical local water, as related to general beer styles?

(i.e. London local water agrees/gives a certain character to local beers, which is different from Berlin's water and beer styles, etc.)


Anybody with a strong feeling about their local water and its impact on their brewing?
Most of the surface water in this part of the country is very soft and low in mineral content. If your water source is a lake or reservoir you can probably assume the water is of that quality. Ground water, however, can vary greatly. Whatever the source a good water report is a valuable tool for any homebrewer. Soft, low-mineral water doesn't have much character but it is an ideal starting point because it is easily modified for different styles of beer. I put the link for my water (Providence, RI) below. It's typical of the water in this part of the country. As to traditional styles, this type of water is closest to those used for pilsners. I can attest this water makes a very good pils but because there is so little in it to begin with it is quite simple to add the appropriate brewing salts to mimic other traditional water styles.

http://http://www.provwater.com/water_char.htm

 
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Old 11-15-2007, 02:36 AM   #6
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Most municipalities get their water from different sources. I would either get a copy of the water report for your town or ask another local homebrewer how they treat their water.
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:11 AM   #7
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Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

 
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Old 11-15-2007, 04:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glibbidy

Unfortunately those reports are "health" reports focusing on bacterial contammination and such. For brewing purposes you want to know the level of certain minerals and other ions important to beer making. The link below has a good primer on the basics of water for brewing and also has a sublink which tells you what to ask the water department.

http://http://www.allaboutbeer.com/homebrew/water3.html

 
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Old 11-15-2007, 04:32 AM   #9
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do you have well or city water?
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:04 PM   #10
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We use water from an aquafer in town, which just so happens to be the water used by Olde Burnside Brewing Co. in CT. They brew in an old icehouse shack that still sells ice the old fashioned way, in big friggin chunks. They also have a spigot outside, that for 50 cents a gallon will give you the same water they use to brew. Personally I don't know the qualities of the water, but I figure if it's good enough for a commercial brewery, it's good enough for the stuff I make in my kitchen

mike


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