Distilled water?

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Dmerner23

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Has anyone brewed an all grain batch with Distilled water? I have been doing a lot of research on what types of ph will alter each brew but if you start at a neutral ph will this affect the flavors you are going for?
 

Coastalbrew

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Has anyone brewed an all grain batch with Distilled water? I have been doing a lot of research on what types of ph will alter each brew but if you start at a neutral ph will this affect the flavors you are going for?
I used 100% DI water for my last batch. I used Bru'n water to calculate my mineral additions. Beer came out fantastic.
 

Keith81

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I used distilled water before I got an RO System. If you are looking to add minerals to build a water profile to the style you are brewing then distilled works well. If you just want to use the water "as is" then I'd use Spring Water. Before I started paying attention to water chemistry I tried both distilled and spring water without adding minerals and preferred the taste of the spring water.
 

Jag75

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Spring water has minerals in it where as distilled has little to none I believe . I use Ro water and Bru N Water as well with great results. My RO water sometimes reads 6ppm which is pretty good .
 

VTX1300

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The mineral content of your water will absolutely affect the taste of your beer as well as the mash ph.
And mash ph is important it doing all grain.

Before I purchased an RO system I always used distilled water with additions as my tap water is just awful. But you should use additions to build a profile suited to the style of beer you plan to brew. It is one of the major steps in improving your beer.
 

smata67

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Both Distilled and RO water are fine, but you MUST add minerals. You can use the simplified method posted by AJDelange (can't find that link at the moment) or purchase the various minerals and a small scale and use the Brun water spreadsheet. This second option sounds intimidating but is actually quite simple, you will get up to speed in no time. And it can be accomplished for less than about $40. The minerals are cheap and very small amounts are used, I've done about 10 batches so far and have plenty left.
 
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Dmerner23

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What is bru’n water? Can I just use Brewfather and calculate that way or is this a separate app or spread sheet to use? Only use IPAD don’t have a laptop or desktop
 

Coastalbrew

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@Dmerner23 Bru'n water is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet based water adjustment calculator. You can check the website and see if they have a compatible version for your iPad. If not you could use the calculators on Brewers friend. That is a web based program. I'm not familiar with the brew father app, so can't give any advice there. If you can use Bru'n water, I think it's the way to go.
 
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Dmerner23

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@Dmerner23 Bru'n water is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet based water adjustment calculator. You can check the website and see if they have a compatible version for your iPad. If not you could use the calculators on Brewers friend. That is a web based program. I'm not familiar with the brew father app, so can't give any advice there. If you can use Bru'n water, I think it's the way to go.
Thanks I’ll look into seeing if I can download the spread sheet. I have Microsoft Excel App so it probably can work :)
 
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I've been struggling with water additions for a while. The problem I have with the calcs I've used is the guessing part where I add a bit of this and a bit of that trying to balance all the ions and I can't ever seem to get it right. What would be amazing is a list of really accurate profile recipes that specifies amount of each ingredient to add per gallon of distilled/RO. Most brewers use RO anyway. I really don't care to know the ion content, that stuff means zero to me when I'm working on a beer recipe. Besides, the target water profiles are all pretty well established, why reinvent the wheel every time? In the old days, web programmers had to write html to create a page. Then visual programmers were developed that enabled designers to build pages visually while the code was automatically generated in the background. I want that for building water profiles.

Or have I missed something? Does this already exist?
 
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brewbama

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I struggled when I first started out with Bru’n Water but over time it’s become fairly easy to hit the numbers. I use 100% distilled and build from there.

I save the files with unique beer names for my standard recipes and reuse them as that recipe comes up in the rotation.
 

Samlbowles

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What would be amazing is a list of really accurate profile recipes that specifies amount of each ingredient to add per gallon of distilled/RO.
So, the best way to do that is, especially if you use Beersmith, is to take the water profile listed. I have noticed more and more brewers are listing the ppm of each mineral they used for their water profile. Use that, create a water profile in beersmith, and use the base water profile as distilled/RO water. That will tell you EXACTLY what you need to add.
 

bgmac

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Here is a link to a long thread about simplifying brewing salts. I go with the simple additions listed in the very first post but skip the acidulated/sauermaltz on most of my brews, even the light colored ones. I modified it a little based on the light colored and malty profile in the brewers friend water calculator. So it works out to about 3/4 teaspoon of CalcChloride and 1/2 teaspoon Gypsum per 5 gallons.

It is simplified but seems to work pretty good IMO. I start with RO water that is around 3-4 TDS.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/a-brewing-water-chemistry-primer.198460/

Here is the recommendations from the first post when using soft water (RO or DI):

Baseline: Add 1 tsp of calcium chloride dihydrate (what your LHBS sells) to each 5 gallons of water treated. Add 2% sauermalz to the grist.

Deviate from the baseline as follows:

For soft water beers (i.e Pils, Helles). Use half the baseline amount of calcium chloride and increase the sauermalz to 3%

For beers that use roast malt (Stout, porter): Skip the sauermalz.

For British beers: Add 1 tsp gypsum as well as 1 tsp calcium chloride

For very minerally beers (Export, Burton ale): Double the calcium chloride and the gypsum.

These recommendations should get you a good beer if not the best beer. To get the best you should vary the amounts of the added salts noting carefully whether a change benefits or detriments your enjoyment of the beer. Additional sulfate will sharpen the perceived hops bitterness. Additional chloride will round, smooth and sweeten the beer. Add or decrease these in small amounts.

Those serious about getting the best possible results should buy a pH meter and check mash pH increasing or decreasing the amount of sauermalz to get pH around 5.3. Unfortunately the strips don’t seem to work very well.
End Post......................


BTW, I know of several craft breweries that use just city water run through activated charcoal filters to remove chlorine/chloramines and I have no complaints about their beer
 
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BrewnWKopperKat

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What would be amazing is a list of really accurate profile recipes that specifies amount of each ingredient to add per gallon of distilled/RO.

[...]

Or have I missed something? Does this already exist?
Brewing Better Beer (Strong) and Homebrew: Beyond the Basics (Karnowski) offer 'water chemistry' profiles that are "ready to use" (using either measuring spoons or an accurate scale). I'm currently using the two profiles (hoppy, malty) in Karnowski's book to make beer that I enjoy.
 
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Brewing Better Beer (Strong) and Homebrew: Beyond the Basics (Karnowski) offer 'water chemistry' profiles that are "ready to use" (using either measuring spoons or an accurate scale). I'm currently using the two profiles (hoppy, malty) in Karnowski's book to make beer that I enjoy.
Hey that poster is helpful, thanks!
 
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BrewnWKopperKat

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In the early 2010s, there were a number of articles on simplified (or maybe streamlined) water chemistry. Early on I used http://beerandwinejournal.com/easy-aqua/ successfully.
At the moment, I'm finding that Karnowski's profiles work a little better for me.

If someone is interested in the longer list, I can post them here. Many are based on the article mentioned above.
 
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BrewnWKopperKat

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Here's the longer list.

Be aware that some of the articles make use of brewing salts that are either 1) difficult to use (for example chalk), or 2) may not be necessary if one chooses to brew with a "short list" of brewing salts.

https://www.brewersfriend.com/2017/11/19/brewing-water-basics-part-1/
https://www.brewersfriend.com/2017/11/19/brewing-water-basics-part-2/
https://www.brewersfriend.com/2018/02/13/brewing-water-basics-putting-it-all-together/

https://www.reddit.com/r/Homebrewing/comments/8y1tj5/water_chemistry_for_dummies_a_practical_guide/

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/a-brewing-water-chemistry-primer.198460/

https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/water-knowledge

http://beerandwinejournal.com/easy-aqua/

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=brewing+water+chemistry+poster [URL]https://www.themadfermentatio.../water-chemistry-how-to-build-your-water.html

https://accidentalis.com/brewing-water-series-introduction/

Coming back to a previous question
the target water profiles are all pretty well established, why reinvent the wheel every time? [...] I want that for building water profiles.
The book Water, around p 155, may be useful for creating these profiles.

Water chemistry spreadsheets would use similar information, so it may be "easiest" just to use a spreadsheet. Personally, I'm more interested in understanding what the spreadsheets "abstract".
 

Sparge

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Through experimentation, I've found that for me, using fifty percent RO water and fifty percent tap works just about right. However, I'm on a well so your mileage may vary.
 
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Through experimentation, I've found that for me, using fifty percent RO water and fifty percent tap works just about right. However, I'm on a well so your mileage may vary.
Yeah, for me that would mean 50% RO and 50% over chlorinated swimming pool "tap" water. I think I'll stick with 100% RO plus mineral additions.
 

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I'm planning to Brew a pale ale on Friday and was cruising through my copy of the Homebrew recipe Bible, by Chris Colby. He has organized the book by style and/or color, and at the beginning of each chapter there is a page where he suggests how to treat your water for each of the beers in that chapter. His method seems very simple and straight forward. This is from the pale ale chapter.

"... Adding minerals to 5 gallons of DI or RO water start by adding 0-2 g of baking soda, 0 for beers around 3 srm and 2 for beers around 10 srm. Now choose a calcium addition. For balanced beers add 4 g CaCl and 4 g gypsum. For hoppy beers add 8 g gypsum. "

He goes on to say that you will need to make more than 5 gallons of water for the all grain recipes. But I am taking his mineral suggestions to be proportional to 5 gallons of water.

I was curious what kind of water profile this would give me, so I entered my recipe into Bru'n water, chose the pale ale profile and used the above guide lines to enter my water adjustments. I opted for a 1 g baking soda addition and the balanced 4 g of CaCl and gypsum additions per 5 gallons. When I plugged my numbers in for my batch size the mineral concentrations were just about spot on and my predicted pH was 5.35. I'll take it. I'm going to try this method on this pale ale and see how it goes. He has different suggestions for each of the other styles in the book, Amber ale, dark ale, lagers, etc. They seem to all be variations on the same theme, just with different levels of the various minerals, but with the same level of simplicity. If this batch turns out well, I'm going to play around with this method some more.

Cheers!
 

acidrain

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what types of ph will alter each brew
A common stumbling block when thinking about water profiles and PH is that the water starting PH is important. It is not.
The minerals in the water, mixed with the malted grains at a given temperature all create a specific PH.
That's why PH calculators need to know exactly what the recipe is, and what the water profile is. They never ask for the starting PH of the water.
 

TimmyR

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I am getting ready to brew again after a LONG break. I have only distilled water to use. I ran the water profile I used to use (Mike McDole's Hoppy Ale) thru BeerSmith and my only concern is the fact I have zero Bicarbonate in the water. I looked at an older spreadsheet I used to use, where I combined minerals and tap to get my water profile, and it shows RA of -222 versus my old water (tap and distilled plus minerals) of -95. BeerSmith numbers don't match the EZ Water Adjustment spreadsheet I used to use.

I guess I'm asking if there are any other concerns for water additions if you know a profile water you want to hit when building from distilled versus tap water. I trust BeerSmith has it right I've just never built up from distilled before.
 

Yooper

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There is never a goal for bicarbonate- generally you want as little as possible.

You only need enough alkalinity to get your mash pH in the 5.3--5.5 range. With distilled water, you may not need any acid in the water to get there when making a pale ale, so 0 bicarbonate is a very good thing!

The most important thing is the mash pH. The secondary things are the salts you've added, which are for flavor. Think of the salts you're adding like spices in food. Adding salts may be bring a good beer to a very good beer, but too much is like adding too much salt to food. So get the mash pH in range, add the salts you want, and you'll be all set.
 

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BTW, I know of several craft breweries that use just city water run through activated charcoal filters to remove chlorine/chloramines and I have no complaints about their beer
That's my plan. I make about 8 gals of charcoal filtered tap water a day ahead of brew day. Brew room stays 68 in the winter and 73 in the summer. My goal is to brew every style of beer I like using the water, ambient temp and equipment I have. The good ones, I will brew again. I am not interested in getting all wound up in water chemistry and artificial temperature control. Of course - that attitude could change at any time - but currently that's the best method I can apply to the situation I have.
 

TimmyR

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Thanks. I am familiar with mash pH and all that goes along with it. Our water options at my house and my neighbor's are limited. His house is on a softener so it's out. My house water is not convenient to tote to his house and I need it tested again. It's well water that's filtered, treated for arsenic, and then carbon filtered. We are going to build the water from BeerSmith and target Mike McDole's hoppy water profile I've used in the past. It favors bitter beers and low SRM.

One more question, treat the spare water or just spare with distilled and add spare additions in the kettle?
 

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Thanks. I am familiar with mash pH and all that goes along with it. Our water options at my house and my neighbor's are limited. His house is on a softener so it's out. My house water is not convenient to tote to his house and I need it tested again. It's well water that's filtered, treated for arsenic, and then carbon filtered. We are going to build the water from BeerSmith and target Mike McDole's hoppy water profile I've used in the past. It favors bitter beers and low SRM.

One more question, treat the spare water or just spare with distilled and add spare additions in the kettle?
It doesn't matter. If you treat your mash water only, it could possibly drive the mash pH a bit too low, so then you could add the rest of the additions to the kettle or sparge water.
 

TimmyR

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It doesn't matter. If you treat your mash water only, it could possibly drive the mash pH a bit too low, so then you could add the rest of the additions to the kettle or sparge water.
Thanks @Yooper. I used to have all this nailed down, but it's been a few years and its on a different set-up. I am pretty sure with the built water, a conservative efficiency estimate and solid yeast pitch we should be pretty successful. My neighbor is really wanting to make a good beer. We failed 2X before but I did not know his water was softened. :oops:
 

Yooper

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Thanks @Yooper. I used to have all this nailed down, but it's been a few years and its on a different set-up. I am pretty sure with the built water, a conservative efficiency estimate and solid yeast pitch we should be pretty successful. My neighbor is really wanting to make a good beer. We failed 2X before but I did not know his water was softened. :oops:
I think you've got it pretty well nailed down now, using distilled water and a few additions. Let me know how it turns out- I'm very interested!
 
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