what water has nothing in it?

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sputnam

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after 2 years I have decided to start learning about water construction. I have made some pretty good beers but I feel like they could be better so water must be the key.
Anyway, I have found out how to find a specific profile for what type beer i want and what I need to know now is what is the best water to use? I assume either DI or RO water? I read something about Glacier bottled water but I can't figure out what's in it....is there water that has nothing in it? where should i start?
 

TheMadKing

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https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=198460

I'm sure many other's will point you here. I just got help from AJ a couple days ago, and am just learning about water chemistry myself, so I don't have any answers to technical questions.

Working in a lab though, I do know something about DI water. True DI water is the closest to "nothing in it" but is expensive/harder to get.

RO should effectively be considered the same thing for brewing, but it does have some residuals in it.
 

feinbera

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Your first step should be to find a water report for your tap water. Some municipal supplies have very few dissolved minerals, if you're lucky enough to live somewhere with soft tapwater, this will be a lot cheaper and more convenient than anything else.
 

JonM

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Reverse osmosis distilled is the way to go. I just take my fermenters over to the grocery store, where they have one of those big RO machines. I fill up the fermenters for 32 cents a gallon and I'm on my way.

Many people recommend paying the $20 or so bucks for a TDS meter (total dissolved solids) so you know how pure the RO water is.
 
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sputnam

sputnam

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Your first step should be to find a water report for your tap water. Some municipal supplies have very few dissolved minerals, if you're lucky enough to live somewhere with soft tapwater, this will be a lot cheaper and more convenient than anything else.
i "think" i do have soft tap water, but I have gone to hell and back and can not get a water report to save my life, which is why I'm thinking of starting at ground zero and building from there. I think there is a Glacier machine nearby, is that DI or RO?
 

TheMadKing

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Are there any local breweries you could contact? I got my city's water report by contacting a local brewery and asking for help.
 

grrickar

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I believe most of the store dispenser machines are RO, but I have read some negative things about the companies not maintaining them so once the filter is in need of replacement until that happens you are getting water that is pretty much out of the tap/source.

I have been buying the 5 gallon green jugs of water from Menards. The jugs are PET and could be used for fermenters if one chose to do so. I think I have about 16 of them now.
 

brewcat

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i "think" i do have soft tap water, but I have gone to hell and back and can not get a water report to save my life, which is why I'm thinking of starting at ground zero and building from there. I think there is a Glacier machine nearby, is that DI or RO?
Have you tried sending a sample to Ward Labs?
 
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sputnam

sputnam

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Are there any local breweries you could contact? I got my city's water report by contacting a local brewery and asking for help.
i have a few breweries in the area but the closest is 20 miles away and in a different county. I "assume" a different water source but how could I check?
 

JonM

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Call the water utility and ask.

(I don't mean to sound like a smartass - I used to work for my local water utility, and the folks on the phone welcome questions that are different from the usual blah blah blah calls. I bet they'll be happy to help.)
 
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The machines at stores are typically RO, not RODI. Remember that RO water is widely used for drinking water, but the general public has no use for RODI water.

The water from RO machines can be what you're expecting, or it may not be. Having your own TDS meter (get one with ATM - a decent handheld is less than $25) is how you'd check the water quality. Pet stores catering to people with marine aquariums often sell RODI water if that is what you're after.

Especially if you are also buying bottled water for drinking at your house, the decision to get your own RO system is a slam dunk.

Russ
 

whoaru99

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That's about the same type of report available from our Municipality. Says pretty much nothing about the mineral content relative to brewing water chemistry.

Wards Lab seems to be the go-to. I sent samples there, and this is what you get with the Home Brewer's test. It's about $25 as I recall.

The link below is for our municipal water. Not too good for brewing. Currently I use a water distiller and also sent a sample from that. It came back pretty much zeros/undetectable across the board except TDS was like 12.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showpost.php?p=6843438&postcount=1037
 

Natdavis777

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Reverse osmosis distilled is the way to go. I just take my fermenters over to the grocery store, where they have one of those big RO machines. I fill up the fermenters for 32 cents a gallon and I'm on my way.

Many people recommend paying the $20 or so bucks for a TDS meter (total dissolved solids) so you know how pure the RO water is.

Same here.

Except I have leftover 5 gal jugs instead of fermenters that I refill
 

grrickar

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Call the water utility and ask.

(I don't mean to sound like a smartass - I used to work for my local water utility, and the folks on the phone welcome questions that are different from the usual blah blah blah calls. I bet they'll be happy to help.)
Do most water utilities have that sort of information (mineral profile)? My email exchange with my local WD seems to be more about EPA regs and the fact there weren't heavy metals, etc in the water.

I never got the answers I wanted regarding the items more important to brewing. Maybe I didn't ask the right questions?

I am thinking of sending off a sample to Wards and pay to have the analysis.
 
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If you re thinking you need some water treatment equipment, like a softener, or and RO, or something to remove iron, or manganese for instance, the ward lab reports will likely be insufficient to support the design/spec'ing of that equipment.

Russ
 

jmadway

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Reverse osmosis distilled is the way to go. I just take my fermenters over to the grocery store, where they have one of those big RO machines. I fill up the fermenters for 32 cents a gallon and I'm on my way.

Many people recommend paying the $20 or so bucks for a TDS meter (total dissolved solids) so you know how pure the RO water is.

This is what I do, as well. I then build my water up from there. It's made a really positive difference in my beers and is super easy.
 
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I think what you guys mean is "Reverse Osmosis/Deionized" rather than Distilled, right?

Two different processes.

Deionization involves running the RO water through ion exchange resin.
Distillation involves boiling and then condensing the steam.

Russ
 

whoaru99

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Do most water utilities have that sort of information (mineral profile)? My email exchange with my local WD seems to be more about EPA regs and the fact there weren't heavy metals, etc in the water.

I never got the answers I wanted regarding the items more important to brewing. Maybe I didn't ask the right questions?

I am thinking of sending off a sample to Wards and pay to have the analysis.
Not from what I've seen. Some may, but my utility does not, nor does the Greenville utility linked in earlier. People in other threads have commented similarly. Their utility has a Consumer Confidence report, but not a mineral content analysis.

"all utilities" produce "consumer confidence reports" annually.
Yes, but for the most part they contain stuff about toxins, not minerals.
 

whoaru99

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If you re thinking you need some water treatment equipment, like a softener, or and RO, or something to remove iron, or manganese for instance, the ward lab reports will likely be insufficient to support the design/spec'ing of that equipment.

Russ
Wards Lab report will tell you all you need for the most part but you can specify additional tests if you want.

Again, here's a copy of a report from Wards Lab. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showpost.php?p=6843438&postcount=1037
 

whoaru99

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I think what you guys mean is "Reverse Osmosis/Deionized" rather than Distilled, right?

Two different processes.

Deionization involves running the RO water through ion exchange resin.
Distillation involves boiling and then condensing the steam.

Russ
I have a water distiller that I currently use for making "zero" water. It produces distilled water at 0.5 GPH. Sent in a sample to Ward Labs from the distiller. It came back as pretty much a clean slate. TDS was pretty low, like 12 or 13, as I recall off the top of my head.
 

Qhrumphf

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Looks to be the first place I'd start. Simply saying you're asking for Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfate, Chloride, Sodium, and Alkalinity as calcium carbonate figures in ppm or mg/l, they can probably answer.

There's also this: http://www.lamotte.com/en/food-beverage/7188-01.html

It's more expensive than a Ward Labs analysis, but has the added benefit of being able to check when you want. Water fluctuates throughout the year, sometimes pretty significantly. I know that Northern Brewer sold it for a while, but don't see it on their website. It's actually quite easy to use.
 

whoaru99

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Looks to be the first place I'd start. Simply saying you're asking for Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfate, Chloride, Sodium, and Alkalinity as calcium carbonate figures in ppm or mg/l, they can probably answer.
I don't like to be disagreeable, but most likely they can't answer those questions because they're very likely not testing for that stuff.

Of course it doesn't hurt to ask, but don't be surprised if they don't have the info...
 

Qhrumphf

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I don't like to be disagreeable, but most likely they can't answer those questions because they're very likely not testing for that stuff.

Of course it doesn't hurt to ask, but don't be surprised if they don't have the info...
They may or may not. But as those things influence the flavor of the water, I'd figure most water utilities check them even if they don't report them publicly.
 

whoaru99

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I can say with 100% confidence our Municipality does not. I was skeptical I'd get the full story from our City Admin so I went directly to the water plant. No mineral testing aside from what is required in the water quality/consumer confidence report.
 
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