Diluting with distilled water?

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Rlawlyes

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In order to get my water profile where I want it, I need to dilute my mash/sparge water with 4 gallons of distilled water. I am using beersmith 3 as my software if that matters. Should I add all of the distilled water with the strike water or split between strike and sparge? I use lactic acid to adjust my mash pH and I am worried that if I use all of the distilled water in the mash my acid adjustments will be off, resulting in a low mash pH.
 

EineProsit

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In order to get my water profile where I want it, I need to dilute my mash/sparge water with 4 gallons of distilled water. I am using beersmith 3 as my software if that matters. Should I add all of the distilled water with the strike water or split between strike and sparge? I use lactic acid to adjust my mash pH and I am worried that if I use all of the distilled water in the mash my acid adjustments will be off, resulting in a low mash pH.
From what I’ve read, you do not want to use distilled water.
The most beneficial information I can think of is the book ‘Water’ by John PAlmer. Happy brewing
 

mongoose33

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In order to get my water profile where I want it, I need to dilute my mash/sparge water with 4 gallons of distilled water. I am using beersmith 3 as my software if that matters. Should I add all of the distilled water with the strike water or split between strike and sparge? I use lactic acid to adjust my mash pH and I am worried that if I use all of the distilled water in the mash my acid adjustments will be off, resulting in a low mash pH.
You need to think about this a bit. If you're getting the mash pH you want now, then why do you need to dilute your mash/sparge water with distilled water? And what does that mean, "dilute the sparge water?" What are you doing to produce the strike water in the first place, such that your mash pH is fine? (Exception: you're using a ton of Lactic, at which point you should probably rethink this).

Once your mash is done and conversion is complete, the composition of the water you use to sparge won't matter to conversion at all, because, well, conversion is complete. All you're doing is rinsing the dissolved sugar off the grain.
 

micraftbeer

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I've never heard of a problem brewing with distilled water, I did for years before I bought an in-house filter system. Made great beer that way, was just tired of running to the store buying all those gallon jugs.

I don't know BS3 water calculator tools, but it seems it must be able to manage the mineral calculations based on combination of so many gallons of one water plus so many gallons of another and give you the resulting profile. Just use that resulting profile to figure out how much acid to add. And just use the same ratio of tap/distilled water for mash water and sparge water.
 

mashpaddled

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Is there a reason why you do not want to build the water profile for the entire water volume of the mash and sparge rather than building a profile and diluting with distilled water? Seems like you are making the process more difficult than it needs to be.

Distilled water is fine if you are mixing it with water that has minerals to reach a water profile. You wouldn't want to use distilled by itself because it lacks the minerals you need but you are fine to use distilled water as a base or dilution.
 
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Rlawlyes

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Is there a reason why you do not want to build the water profile for the entire water volume of the mash and sparge rather than building a profile and diluting with distilled water? Seems like you are making the process more difficult than it needs to be.

Distilled water is fine if you are mixing it with water that has minerals to reach a water profile. You wouldn't want to use distilled by itself because it lacks the minerals you need but you are fine to use distilled water as a base or dilution.
I have built both my tap water profile and my target NE IPA profile. I was using distilled to dilute my tap water due to mineral content.
 

brewbama

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From what I’ve read, you do not want to use distilled water.
The most beneficial information I can think of is the book ‘Water’ by John PAlmer. Happy brewing
I build from 100% distilled water.
 

EineProsit

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I build from 100% distilled water.
Well, I learned something then. I can imagine this helps with your consistency. Question. Have you ever comparison experimented with tap vs your treated water? Were the results detectable in your finished beer?
 
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brewbama

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Yes. I used straight out of the tap and I filtered tap. I ended up starting from zero with distilled. It makes a very detectable difference.

It would probably be cheaper to get an RO system but I haven’t.
 

micraftbeer

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Question. Have you ever comparison experimented with tap vs your treated water? Were the results detectable in your finished beer?
When I started all-grain, right off the bat I used distilled water and added brewing salts to hit a target mineral profile. I brewed that way for several years, and then I installed a 3-filter system in my brew area and used that water straight up with no mineral additions and my beer was notably missing the "zing" I had from before. I then tried adding the brewing salts again assuming my filtered water was the same as distilled water, and it still wasn't right. I then bought a water test kit to get the mineral level of my filtered water, and then used that as the base water in my brewing software and added salts to get back to the same target profile as I used to go to when building from Distilled, and bingo- the zing was back.
 

mongoose33

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Well, I learned something then. I can imagine this helps with your consistency. Question. Have you ever comparison experimented with tap vs your treated water? Were the results detectable in your finished beer?
Your question wasn't directed to me, but I have specific experience with this as well. My son used to brew using just his tap water (he's in Birmingham, AL). Beer was ok. Nothing special. At my urging he started using RO water. Wow! Huge improvement.

I had the same experience when I started. I'd followed the bad advice new brewers sometimes find when searching for information, i.e., "If your water tastes good you can brew good beer with it." Well, maybe, if your water is appropriate to the style *and* you take care of chlorine and chloramines. Switched from using my tap water to RO water and the beer took a leap forward.

IMO, the two places new brewers can make the greatest improvements in their beers are fermentation temperature control, and ensuring the water is appropriate for what they're trying to do. In my son's case, he was doing extract brews at the time, and even with that, the water mattered.

*****
I see you live in mid-North Carolina. Your water might be ok. Years ago I lived in Greenville NC and our water was excellent--very soft. We didn't even need a water softener. Asheville NC became a beer capitol because of the water. Don't know about your place but it's possible it's just fine for most styles, with some adjustment. Or not. Have to find out.

An RO system will save money in the long run if A) you brew enough, B) buying RO water costs enough, and C) you have to drive significant distance to get it. In my case, I was paying over $5 each time I bought RO water from Wal-Mart. My RO setup cost me somewhere around $150, so every time I use it, I save $5. Took 30 brews to recover the cost, and now it's all gravy. At some point I'll have to replace the filter, but it's been going more than 3 years.

Further, I ended up using that RO water in my Keurig coffee maker (no scale that needs to be cleaned), and I always have it right there, ready to go, no trips to the store, nothing like that.

If one has the spare cash to get one, and the space to install/store it, it's a worthwhile brewing investment, IMO.
 
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