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Illinois Question for Chicago lager brewers

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Hedo-Rick

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Hey Chicago,

I'm currently living and have been brewing in San Francisco for the last 9 years, but want to move back to Chicago this fall.

95% of what I brew are German Pilsners with the occasional hoppy beer sprinkled in. We have really lean water here and I can build just about any water profile I need to with calcium chloride and gypsum additions.

What are you brewers in Chicago doing with your water to brew a German Pilsner? What is the water profile like coming out of the tap?
 

RPh_Guy

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Reverse osmosis purified (RO) water is widely available, inexpensive, and very well suited for building your preferred mineral profile.
 

Steven Barrett

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Hey Chicago,

I'm currently living and have been brewing in San Francisco for the last 9 years, but want to move back to Chicago this fall.

95% of what I brew are German Pilsners with the occasional hoppy beer sprinkled in. We have really lean water here and I can build just about any water profile I need to with calcium chloride and gypsum additions.

What are you brewers in Chicago doing with your water to brew a German Pilsner? What is the water profile like coming out of the tap?
Chicago has fairly soft water. The city conducts comprehensive water analyses quarterly and they are available online here: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/dep...ndreports/comprehensive_chemicalanalysis.html
 

mirthfuldragon

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What is the water profile like coming out of the tap?
Depends on what you mean by "Chicago". There are three water sources from Lake Michigan. My water comes from Evanston and I live in the northwest suburbs. Using the public reports, the water profile is something along the lines of Ca 32, Mg 11, Na 7.7, Bicarbonate 122, So4 25, and Cl 14. It makes it fairly hard. Be prepared to use extra soap and detergent.

Honestly, I don't mess with water too much - I fill water jugs after the brew day and let the chlorine (not chloromine) off-gas for a week and use straight-up tap water for just about everything. There is a reason Milwaukee (just up the road) is famous for lagers. The reason it's Milwaukee and not Chicago largely comes back to Prohibition and Capone and a lot of other reasons, and I suggest Bob Skilnik's excellent Beer: A History of Brewing in Chicago for more information.
 
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