Water Profile Question

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Clem64

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I've always been an extract brewer and recently bought a new Anvil Foundry 10.5 to go to all grain. My tap water is very hard, so I have a water softener in my house. I've always boiled with 2.5 gal and then used bottled spring water to top off my beers. I've been thinking about just buying the spring water as usual to brew with in my new Anvil. But if I'm going to do that (at least in the immediate future) why not build my own water profile with distilled water (it costs the same). I have John Palmer's book but I really don't want to dive that deep into water chem right now.

My question to you all-

Has anyone used distilled water and then used the water profile guidelines in the Anvil Manual? See attached. Those are some simple guidelines without going down a rabbit hole.

Thanks!
Clem
 

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I see a couple of significant problems with your previous extract brewing: softened tap water and spring water. Both are unlikely to be suited for most brewing. I recommend that you remove them from your process, whether extract or mashing.

Knowing what's in your brewing water is really the first step to success in brewing and that applies to extract and mash brewing. That way you can figure out what you should do to produce a decent and reliable product. In the case of extract brewing, starting with RO or distilled water is a good approach and you don't really HAVE to do anything else for that brewing approach, but there might be some water salt additions that could help that brewing result.

For mashing, getting the mash pH to a proper level is an important element of success in brewing. Adding water salts aren't mandatory, but they'll help if you're starting with RO or distilled water.

I just looked at the Anvil chart and since it recommends that you start with RO or distilled water and shows reasonable salt additions, its not a bad place to start. Its simple and should produce OK results, but maybe not great for all your beers. To help produce a better result, you may need to do a little more to your brewing water. At a minimum, I strongly recommend that you read the Water Knowledge page on the Bru'n Water website to understand the What and Why of brewing water adjustments. You can stick with the Anvil chart for a good long time in your brewing journey, but you may find that eventually you'll want to get a little deeper into your water and I think you'll find that a program like Bru'n Water will help ease that transition.

Enjoy!
 
I'll expand on my extract brewing. Once I got my water softener I just used all bottled spring water. The reason I started using spring water was to cool my wort quickly after brewing. I'd keep 3 gallons in the freezer and would top off with very cold water to get my beer down to a proper yeast pitching temp. I think I'll use the Anvil guide to start. As I said, I'm new to all grain and want to learn how to do that well first. Then I can dive deeper into water chem. I was just hoping someone out there has used the water profile guide in the Anvil manual and could let me know how well it turned out. Thanks for the feedback. Clem
 
I'll expand on my extract brewing. Once I got my water softener I just used all bottled spring water. The reason I started using spring water was to cool my wort quickly after brewing. I'd keep 3 gallons in the freezer and would top off with very cold water to get my beer down to a proper yeast pitching temp. I think I'll use the Anvil guide to start. As I said, I'm new to all grain and want to learn how to do that well first. Then I can dive deeper into water chem. I was just hoping someone out there has used the water profile guide in the Anvil manual and could let me know how well it turned out. Thanks for the feedback. Clem
Yeah, given what you're saying I think the simple answer is to just use that chart for now. It's not perfect but it's better than no water treatment. Adjusting your pH would be a beneficial addition but that would need to be calculated each brew based on your recipe and the salts you add from this chart. So that will have to come later when you figure out water better.

I haven't used the chart but it will make decent beer. Honestly, we don't need to have used it to tell you it's okay but not perfect. It's just a very basic approach that ignores many nuances and leaves out details. If you take the advice from Mac and Martin above your beer will get much better, but it's not necessary at this stage if you're not comfortable tackling it right away.

For the record, once you learn Bru'n Water it's not too hard. Read the directions and then maybe find someone and have them walk you through it once. I'm a donating supporter just because I have used it so much! Once you're comfortable enough this is a good level up for your beer. Good luck!
 
Thank you. I've bookmarked it and will read it a little at a time, over and over as I go. I live smack dab in the middle of Pa. and I'm living on top of and surrounded by limestone. Hench the water softener.
 

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