Pros and cons of removing chlorine?

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MachineShopBrewing

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I have tried various searches on the subject but all i keep finding is how to remove chlorine from your water. I am curious as to how important chlorine removal is and what is does to - the mash, the sparge, and the finished product? Will it affect efficiency, pH, flavor, . . .? I am curious to hear from people that have done both and have, or have not noticed a difference is various styles.
 

z987k

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Unremoved chloramine can lead to chlorophenols after fermentation. I describe it as an intensely spicy phenolic.
 

Yooper

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Right. In the quantities used in a water supply, it wouldn't harm the yeast or the the mash. It just causes a bad flavor in the resulting beer. Like band-aids, plastic, or medicinal flavor.
 

TipsyDragon

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I agree with the above. boiling will reduce clorine to insignificant levels. now cloromate (bad spelling) is a more stable form of clorine and is not removed by boiling. to reduce it to insignificant levels you need to add 1 campden tablet to the brew after toping off.
 
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MachineShopBrewing

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thanks for the info guys. I am guessing that it will be worth my time to remove the chlorine from my water. I have a large PUR pitcher that I run some through and I have a 7 gallon jerry can that I can store it in.
 

RunBikeBrew

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Campden tablets are very effective at removing both chlorine and chloramine. Before I started using them, I'd get a rubbery off taste in my finished beers.
 

gxm

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I've not done anything to treat chloramine (what our local water supply uses), and I've not experienced any of the off flavors. I wonder if there is a baseline level above which the off flavors become noticeable?
 

GilaMinumBeer

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I've not done anything to treat chloramine (what our local water supply uses), and I've not experienced any of the off flavors. I wonder if there is a baseline level above which the off flavors become noticeable?
Yes. For chlorophenols it's generally 1-5 parts per billion.
 

mmb

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I've not done anything to treat chloramine (what our local water supply uses), and I've not experienced any of the off flavors. I wonder if there is a baseline level above which the off flavors become noticeable?
Also might depend on how clean of a fermentation profile the beer you normally make has.

Imperial Stout would mask more phenols than, say, American Standard Lager or a Kolsch.
 

Shooter

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Related to this, at what point is it "too" late to add the crushed Campden tablet to the water? I've been collecting all my water crushing a half a tablet and stirring. I then use part of that water to steep. However, this weekend I did a stovetop partial mash with two pots and it would have been a lot easier to do the mash, do the sparge in the second pot, add it all to the boil kettle and THEN throw in the Campden as it's coming up to temperature. Is there any reason that would be a bad idea? Does the chlorine hurt the mash or effect the sparge negatively? Is there a temperature above which the chemical reaction of the Campden with the chlorine will not take place?
 

remilard

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Related to this, at what point is it "too" late to add the crushed Campden tablet to the water? I've been collecting all my water crushing a half a tablet and stirring. I then use part of that water to steep. However, this weekend I did a stovetop partial mash with two pots and it would have been a lot easier to do the mash, do the sparge in the second pot, add it all to the boil kettle and THEN throw in the Campden as it's coming up to temperature. Is there any reason that would be a bad idea? Does the chlorine hurt the mash or effect the sparge negatively? Is there a temperature above which the chemical reaction of the Campden with the chlorine will not take place?
The problem with this is that by the time you add the campden, the chlorine may have already reacted with phenols.
 

Shooter

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The problem with this is that by the time you add the campden, the chlorine may have already reacted with phenols.
So, the phenol reaction could happen in the mash? I was hoping it was only a reaction that occured during fermentation.

Sigh, it would have been much easier to add it later! So much to learn as I move on to mashing.

Thanks! :)
 

samc

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I've not done anything to treat chloramine (what our local water supply uses), and I've not experienced any of the off flavors. I wonder if there is a baseline level above which the off flavors become noticeable?
In Portland here are times of the year when the chlorine is pretty noticeable to me and other times you can barely tell it's there.

Here is a link to some good info on getting rid of it http://***********/stories/wizard/a...ing-chloramine-a-historical-hopping-mr-wizard
 

z987k

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To delve into this topic some more, you should know if you have chlorine or chloramine in your water. Chloramine is by far better. I believe I've read it reduces chlorophenol production by 90 some percent compared to free chlorine. Chloramine is a bit harder to get rid of though. Sunlight, and leaving the water stand for 48 hours are good ways. Sodium metabisulfate(campden) works, activated carbon works. But the method I like best is ascorbic acid. The dosage rate is .1 grams per 5 gallons.
 

Scimmia

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Chloramine is a bit harder to get rid of though. Sunlight, and leaving the water stand for 48 hours are good ways.
Sunlight and letting the water sit will have no effect on chloramines. That will effectively get rid of chlorine, but not chloramine. Activated carbon will work, but it's extremely slow. Chloramine may be a bit safer than chlorine if the water isn't going to be treated, but it's significantly harder to remove.
 

z987k

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Sunlight and letting the water sit will have no effect on chloramines. That will effectively get rid of chlorine, but not chloramine. Activated carbon will work, but it's extremely slow. Chloramine may be a bit safer than chlorine if the water isn't going to be treated, but it's significantly harder to remove.
Not really. Ascorbic acid and Na/K-Meta are very available.
For the Vitamin C I've seen rated of 333mg per 5gal to 100mg per 5 gal. I'd just go with the higher as it would have no effect on taste or pH anyways.
 

gxm

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In Portland here are times of the year when the chlorine is pretty noticeable to me and other times you can barely tell it's there.
This got me to thinking that I always drink the tap water at home, but I never drink tap at work. I've never noticed a chlorine odor in my home water (SE Portland), but work water smells and tastes bad. (downtown portland).

And this is an interesting quote from the Portland water bureau: "Treatment operators, along with lab personnel, carefully monitor raw water quality so as to keep mono-chloramine at a high level. Mono is good and keeps our water tasting good. Di-chloramine and tri-chloramine are bad. Think swimming pool odor for those. This is a careful balance, however, and is not an easy task."

http://www.portlandonline.com/water/index.cfm?a=236717&c=39678
 

Scotty_g

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So, the phenol reaction could happen in the mash? I was hoping it was only a reaction that occured during fermentation.

Sigh, it would have been much easier to add it later! So much to learn as I move on to mashing.

Thanks! :)
I am not an expert on the subject (we use bottled water for brewing to avoid the chlorine issue; the city switched off well water to lake water a few years ago and that requires considerably more disinfectant), but I think the chlorine issue would primarily be during fermentation. I don't think you can get chlorophenols until the yeast make some regular phenols first. There would be some phenolic-like compounds in the grist (like lignin) but I don't know if they dissolve. The paper industry used to use chlorine to bleach lignin from pulp, but that was at much higher concentrations of chlorine.

I suspect the boil would remove chlorine just fine from the water; the potential source of chlorine in the fermentation would be any top-off water. I'd worry most about that.
 

Shooter

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I suspect the boil would remove chlorine just fine from the water; the potential source of chlorine in the fermentation would be any top-off water. I'd worry most about that.
Yes, it's my understanding that you add the Campden primarily to take care of the chloramine which allows it to be driven off with the chlorine, or as chlorine, in the boil. I was hoping that I could add the Campden while the final boil volume was coming up to temperature. Right now I measure out a bunch of water in advance, treat it and I then have to redistribute it between my different vessels. It would just make it a little easier if the treatment didn't have to happen until it all got into the boil kettle. You make a good point though about top off water. :mug:
 

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I am not an expert on the subject (we use bottled water for brewing to avoid the chlorine issue; the city switched off well water to lake water a few years ago and that requires considerably more disinfectant), but I think the chlorine issue would primarily be during fermentation. I don't think you can get chlorophenols until the yeast make some regular phenols first. There would be some phenolic-like compounds in the grist (like lignin) but I don't know if they dissolve. The paper industry used to use chlorine to bleach lignin from pulp, but that was at much higher concentrations of chlorine.

I suspect the boil would remove chlorine just fine from the water; the potential source of chlorine in the fermentation would be any top-off water. I'd worry most about that.
Malt, particularly the husks, contains phenols as do hops and most other plants for that matter.
 

Scotty_g

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Malt, particularly the husks, contains phenols as do hops and most other plants for that matter.
Quite true. However, I was mostly thinking (perhaps incorrectly) about the phenol character that certain yeast provide while other yeast do not. If you can get the band-aid taste when using chlorinated water and a cleaner yeast, then it would be the malt husks (etc.) providing the phenols for the undesirable flavor. In that case, you would need to keep all chlorinated water out of the brewing process (mashing, boiling, top-off).
 

z987k

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Quite true. However, I was mostly thinking (perhaps incorrectly) about the phenol character that certain yeast provide while other yeast do not. If you can get the band-aid taste when using chlorinated water and a cleaner yeast, then it would be the malt husks (etc.) providing the phenols for the undesirable flavor. In that case, you would need to keep all chlorinated water out of the brewing process (mashing, boiling, top-off).
Nope, chlorophenols can defiantly happen in the mash. Especially with chlorine, they react with the husks as said. Fermentation is also a problem.
 

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Ok, so I know some of this was touched on, but I'm still a bit fuzzy on some of this.

I use an activated carbon filter to help remove chlorine and chloramine. My chemistry is a bit lacking but does the activated carbon remove other ions like Chloride, Sodium, or anything else?

Also a comment earlier stated that the filtration had to be slow. Would a standard in-line GE filtration unit with activated carbon filter not remove the advertised 99.5% (or whatever) of chlorine? Also, is this rate of removal of chloramine similar to that of chlorine?

Thanks for breaking this down for me.
 

twst1up

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slightly :off:
so, if i'm using a whole house filter what kind of filter should i be looking for? Are carbon block filters the same thing as activated charcoal?
 

schweaty

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is there a waiting period between using a campden tablet and pitching yeast?
I treat all the water I'm brewing and sanitizing with first thing. I believe I read that the reaction doesn't take very long but I would treat your water at the beginning of the brew day.

FWIW my batches of beer have been noticeably better since I started using campden tabs. I highly recommend them or the charcoal filtration as earlier stated. If you do nothing else to your water when brewing you'll want to do this.

Apparently campden tabs can also be used for the neutralization and decontamination after exposure to tear gas. So if you plan on rioting make sure to bring some campden!
 

-TH-

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is there a waiting period between using a campden tablet and pitching yeast?
In Brewing Classic Styles, John Palmer says that: "One tablet will treat 20 gallons, although using 1 tablet for only 5 gallons won't hurt anything. Both chlorine and chloramine are reduced to insignificant levels of sulfate and chloride ions (<10 ppm) within a couple of minutes at room temperature."
 

Wellshooter

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I think i'll give campden tablets a try next time as I've been getting a mediciny taste in my beer the last few batches.
Me too, and I 've been buying spring water, which is not supposed to have any chlorine in it. I have been wondering if perhaps my rinsing of carboys and corny kegs with a water hose has contributed to this medicine taste. I always drain them before filling with beer but they are not always completely dry. So this brings up some questions for the experts.

1) If I use camden prior to the boil will it carry through the brewing process including fermentation and bottling to neutralize any residual chlorine at the end?

2) How much chlorinated water does it take to cause the medicine taste? A teaspoon? Tablespoon? Pint? etc.

I plan to order (no such thing as a LHBS near here) some campden and some chlorine test strips soon.

Thanks in advance
 

SugarJohnson

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I wonder if I have been hard on my brews. I just cracked an amber ale tonight that has a familar taste. It is not really medicine like but has that slight flavor. Not really band aid but slightly phenol. It was brewed on my new brutus with probably the best and most stable brew day, temps etc. I used spring water because my water is very hard. I sanitize with Starsan and used american ale yeast. Fermented at 66 solid for 4 weeks and bottled. Don't get me wrong it does taste good and very drinkable. I wonder if I am confusing hop phenols/ bitterness for off flavors. How off is your phenol type flavors when they develop. There is no chlorine anywhere in my system. Maybe I'm just NUTS? All of my beers have been drinkable except one wheat but I'm pretty sure that was because it was mashed way to hot and way to long.
 

gxm

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jf3233, maybe you should find some local brewers to come sample your beer, or take some bottles in the LHBS.
 

ian-atx

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Me too, and I 've been buying spring water, which is not supposed to have any chlorine in it. I have been wondering if perhaps my rinsing of carboys and corny kegs with a water hose has contributed to this medicine taste. I always drain them before filling with beer but they are not always completely dry. So this brings up some questions for the experts.

1) If I use camden prior to the boil will it carry through the brewing process including fermentation and bottling to neutralize any residual chlorine at the end?

2) How much chlorinated water does it take to cause the medicine taste? A teaspoon? Tablespoon? Pint? etc.

I plan to order (no such thing as a LHBS near here) some campden and some chlorine test strips soon.

Thanks in advance
I would be suspect of spring water purchased from the store. You really don't know what is in it, aside from that it was sourced from a 'spring'. You would be better off getting distilled water and adding salts/etc and knowing what you actually have in the water. If possible, get the info on the spring water that you are using to know what is actually in it.

Regarding residual chlorine, i can't imagine having the trace amount would do anything. I would be look more at what you clean your gear with, and also question the garden hose.

I personally get water from my kitchen tap, then treat the night before with a campden tablet and then it is ready to go on brew day. The campden tablet has helped a lot in removing off flavor from brews.
 

carcinogen

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Both chlorine and chloramine are reduced to insignificant levels of sulfate and chloride ions (<10 ppm) within a couple of minutes at room temperature."
I just checked my local water supply report since I just moved and forgot that there's chlorine in the water. Oops! If I have:

Chloroform (ug/l) 6.50 By-product of drinking water chlorination
Bromodichloromethane (ug/l) 5.90 By-product of drinking water chlorination
Dibromochloromethane (ug/l) 3.18 By-product of drinking water chlorination
TTHMs [total trihalomethanes] (ug/l) 80 By-product of drinking water chlorination

HAA [Haloacitic Acids] (ug/l) 60 By-product of drinking water chlorination

If 1000 ug/L = 1 ppm, does this mean I can sleep easily tonight? I'm going to do something in the future to remedy the chlorine in the next batch but it really seems that this water isn't all that chlorinated. Am I missing something?

Edit: It appears that my location, Cleveland, is now treating its water using liquid bleach (sodium hypochlorite) rather than chlorine or chloramine. (http://www.ehw.org/Chemical_Accidents/CHEM_ElimChlorine.htm)

I'm sorry if I'm getting off-topic here, but will bleach-treated water react negatively with the mash sugars?
 

ForRealBeer

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Honestly, crushing and tossing in a Campden tablet is as easy as pie, and so is adding Ascorbic acid if that's your thing. Either one works and the upside is that you'll have no chloramine or chlorine worries. The downside? You spend an extra sixty seconds on your brewday.
 

ErinGoBuff

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Would sanitizing with hydrogen peroxide contribute to the phenol reaction? Perhaps even amplify it?

I used peroxide in a pinch to sanitize, (sterilize, really) and it just dawned on me that the peroxide, combined with chlorinated water, probably has a more profound effect on off-flavors.
 
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