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water water water which one to use?

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garyhood

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so i am in the desert.. and we have awful water from the tap.. which water would someone recommend to use from the grocery store... Is there one that is better than the other?
thanks
Gary
 

woollybugger2

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We have Primo bottled water here, I like the taste and it brews up fine....

Can't stand the city water without filtering and am looking into adding a carbon filter for home brewing.
 

bull8042

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Any bottled spring or mineral water should be fine. I wouldn't go with distilled or RO though, especially if mashing because of the lack of minerals. Minerals are also a yeast nutrient, so another thing to consider....
 

fretsforlife

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I've been using the 2.5 gallon Deer Park jugs from Wal Mart (though i've seen them in almost all grocery stores) they were the only jugs that didn't say 'distilled' or 'Reverse Osmosis' on them...
 
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garyhood

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I have used distilled water in my last two batches.. and they did seem a little off.. just very alocholic tasting.. I am doing all extract recipes. Would this be a cause of such a taste? I am switching to a nice mineral water today. I am going to try some of the Primo water or something that has lots of minerals:) I want my beer to have its full potential.. :tank:
thanks for the heads up
 
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garyhood

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Hmm kept the fermentation temps between 66-71 the whole time when i did my stout.. I guess that is the one that tastes more off than the other... I am interested to try to the Dunkelweizen I just bottled.. wondering if it has a similiar result.. Kept it pretty close to the same temps..
 

BarleyWater

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In the case of extract brewing, I would actually say that RO or Distilled is better. The extract manufacturer has already done the mashing, and there were minerals in that water to make the mash work properly.

When the extract is concentrated down, all the minerals remain in there, so adding more while brewing at home could cause a MUCH too high level of some minerals, giving harsh and unpleasant tastes in the final product. When extract brewing, you just can't be sure of what minerals are already in there, so your best bet is to not add any more, there is no need since you have no grain to mash and it's already in the extract.
 
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garyhood

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This is interesting.. So what should be the verdict? Go no minerals or distilled.. if so does anyone have a good distilled water they have had success with? or a RO water? Just trying to expand my horizons:)
 

bell0347

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My last couple of batches have been with filtered tap water. I don't like the taste of my tap water so I bought one of the in line filters from wally world a couple of years ago. My last two batches have been outstanding compared to the first few I did, which I used bottled spring water for. Of course, my brewing process as a whole has improved since then too. I do partial mash also.
 

Dennis1979

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Distilled water is generally considered a bad idea due to the abscence of any minerals and minerals are important to the brewing process. I would suggest bottled spring water or purified water. Almost any store-bought brand will do but I always figure cheaper doesn't mean better so I have lately been going with Ozarka. Your beer is 90% water so why not spend a little bit more and get good water.

As for tap water, I think most, but not all, tap water would be an excellent source if not for the chlorine and other chemicals. Figure out a way to get it cleaned up and that would be a good way to go.

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BarleyWater

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Distilled water is generally considered a bad idea due to the abscence of any minerals and minerals are important to the brewing process.
Minerals that are really only important in the conversion of starches to sugars in the mash, which has already been done. It's already in the extract, you don't need to add more, and adding more can lead to harsh mineral flavors, unbalanced bitterness or overly malty tasting beers.

I brew all grain, and would only use RO water if adding back a calculated amount of minerals trying to match a specific water profile, but you can't do that with extract, because the water profile has been chosen for you by the extract manufacturer. Not to say that other water is going to make a bad batch of beer, but without knowing the mineral content of the extract, I think distilled is the best way to go.
 

conpewter

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If going extract just use whatever cheap store brand distilled or RO water you can get. If you are doing all-grain you can spend a lot of time on getting water profiles and matching the profile to the style etc.
 

bull8042

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In the case of extract brewing, I would actually say that RO or Distilled is better. The extract manufacturer has already done the mashing, and there were minerals in that water to make the mash work properly.

When the extract is concentrated down, all the minerals remain in there, so adding more while brewing at home could cause a MUCH too high level of some minerals, giving harsh and unpleasant tastes in the final product. When extract brewing, you just can't be sure of what minerals are already in there, so your best bet is to not add any more, there is no need since you have no grain to mash and it's already in the extract.
That is right on and is pretty much what I was trying to say. :mug:
I think conpewter is right there too.
 

Dennis1979

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Minerals that are really only important in the conversion of starches to sugars in the mash, which has already been done. It's already in the extract, you don't need to add more, and adding more can lead to harsh mineral flavors, unbalanced bitterness or overly malty tasting beers.

I brew all grain, and would only use RO water if adding back a calculated amount of minerals trying to match a specific water profile, but you can't do that with extract, because the water profile has been chosen for you by the extract manufacturer. Not to say that other water is going to make a bad batch of beer, but without knowing the mineral content of the extract, I think distilled is the best way to go.
So are you saying that extract brewers should only use distilled and that anything else will cause off flavors?

I am brewing with extract and specialty grains and have been using only spring water. Stayed away from distilled because other brewers and things I read said to not use it. I'm have no off flavors. My beer has been fantastic. Is it because of the grain steeping?

Dennis
 

BarleyWater

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So are you saying that extract brewers should only use distilled and that anything else will cause off flavors?
Not by any means, I only said that it can happen. So to get the best beer possible use distilled unless you know the levels of all the minerals in your extract.
 

bull8042

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So are you saying that extract brewers should only use distilled and that anything else will cause off flavors?

Dennis
No, not at all. It is just that the minerals are not as important for extract brewing.... NOT that they cause off flavors. This is of course assuming that you are talking about "reasonable" levels of minerals. Once you start talking water that is approaching one end of the spectrum or the other with regards to mineral levels, then it would begin to affect flavor profiles.
 
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garyhood

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Finally I have created a post that is gaining interest! So it looks like the verdict is Distilled or RO... I am going to buy a higher brand and try to see what it does in taste.. I also use Gypsum Salt at the beginning of each brew.. is this recommended?
 
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