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Yes, another water question

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Jhedrick83

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So, as someone who is truly just getting in to home brewing, I have two extract kits under my belt and am looking to do my first partial mash this coming Sunday (time willing). I’ve been reading John Palmer’s How to Brew, crazy helpful.

I’ve been unable to get a detailed report from my water company and was thinking I may just combine Distilled water with info from this water chart:

https://www.amazon.com/The-Homebrew...ry/dp/B07JM5Q2SN#immersive-view_1610598717832

Good idea? Too simplistic? I was just thinking this may be a way to ease into dealing with water chemistry.
 

Sammy86

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Without knowing what's in the water it will be difficult for anyone to give you a definitive answer on how well mixing 50/50 with distilled.

My recommendation...either use 100% distilled water...its a clean slate and make your adjustments as needed or get your water tested

W-501. Brewer’s Test
 

3 Dawg Night

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How does your tap water taste? If it tastes fine, it should be fine to brew with. Make it easy on yourself and just brew with your un-adjusted tap water until you get your brewing process down. The only exception might be to run it through a charcoal filter to remove chlorine.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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Without knowing what's in the water it will be difficult for anyone to give you a definitive answer on how well mixing 50/50 with distilled.

My recommendation...either use 100% distilled water...its a clean slate and make your adjustments as needed or get your water tested

W-501. Brewer’s Test
I was meaning use 100% distilled and adjust using that chart. I’m just doing 1 gallon brews while I get my feet wet.
 
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Jhedrick83

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How does your tap water taste? If it tastes fine, it should be fine to brew with. Make it easy on yourself and just brew with your un-adjusted tap water until you get your brewing process down. The only exception might be to run it through a charcoal filter to remove chlorine.
The tap water tastes fine and I’ve been using it from the fridge filter for the past two batches. I need to get one of the test kits and send it off but I think of it as will that level of detail make a different to me as opposed to spending that $40 on grains and kits for the experience and when I get more experience then I can get granular with the water. I just thought combining that basic chart with 100% distilled as an intro to treating water.
 

Yooper

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Using 100% distilled or reverse osmosis water is great. You can add a little to it, but since extract doesn’t really require any additions (it’s already part of the extract), you don’t have to.
If you’re making an IPA, you may want some gypsum or a malty beer you could use some calcium chloride, but it’s definitely not necessary.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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Using 100% distilled or reverse osmosis water is great. You can add a little to it, but since extract doesn’t really require any additions (it’s already part of the extract), you don’t have to.
If you’re making an IPA, you may want some gypsum or a malty beer you could use some calcium chloride, but it’s definitely not necessary.
this is one area where I do have a little confusion. This next Brew will be my first partial mash using DME rather than the LME 100% extract kits. So, when you talk about it being part of the extract, is that true for DME as well? Or just the 100% LME kits? To be specific, I’m making the Brewers Best Belgian Triple 1 gallon kit.
 

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Yes, the spray dried extract (DME) has been concentrated with the water in the wort removed. There is no need for additions, but again depending on what you’re making it may not be a bad idea.

When you do your partial mash with RO water, you are likely in a decent mash pH range. That’s really the important thing, and not the salts you add. If you want to go down that rabbit hole, I’ll be glad to help out with that!

What I mean is this- just like with cooking you can use salts (seasonings) to your food to really bring it alive. If you’re making chicken soup for example, a little salt and pepper can take it from blah to yum. With brewing, a little salt (yes, those are salts!) can do the same but it can’t make a bad beer good. So, if you’re making an IPA (as an example), a little gypsum may bring a good beer to very good. But if the soup base (your mash) is flawed, adding some salts won’t help at all.
 

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If your location implies that you're from Knoxville, TN and your water comes from KUB, the standard annual water report pretty much contains all the numbers you need, an they look pretty good for brewing.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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If your location implies that you're from Knoxville, TN and your water comes from KUB, the standard annual water report pretty much contains all the numbers you need, an they look pretty good for brewing.
So, I actually get it from WKUD but the trick is that there’s actually some sort of filter system mid line for my kitchen. It’s not labeled and when I bought the house there was no paperwork included for it so I’m unsure of what exactly it does and how exactly it changes my water chemistry for the kitchen. Obviously, I can always get the water from elsewhere that’s not on the filter. Until I started getting into brewing, I didn’t really care what the filter was because the water produced was good.
 

bu_gee

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So, I actually get it from WKUD but the trick is that there’s actually some sort of filter system mid line for my kitchen. It’s not labeled and when I bought the house there was no paperwork included for it so I’m unsure of what exactly it does and how exactly it changes my water chemistry for the kitchen. Obviously, I can always get the water from elsewhere that’s not on the filter. Until I started getting into brewing, I didn’t really care what the filter was because the water produced was good.
If it is simply a sediment filter, it won't change your water chemistry when it comes to brewing. If it has charcoal, it may change certain aspects of your water, but the most important ones won't be affected all that much by it and, regardless, using a filter of any sort creates a movinig target problem as the age of the filter has a large bearing on its effectiveness.

If you'd like to post a photo of your mid-line filter, I'd be happy to help you try to identify it. I ended up installing a water line filter to my kitchen myself and I always like to see what other setups are out there.
 
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Jhedrick83

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using a filter of any sort creates a movinig target problem as the age of the filter has a large bearing on its effectiveness
That's why I was thinking about just going distilled and treat if necessary for right now. If I get a chance in the next few days, I'll try to get in the crawl space and take some pics of it.
 

bu_gee

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That's why I was thinking about just going distilled and treat if necessary for right now.
Pure distilled water, from what I understand since I've never tried it, makes for a pretty lousy solvent so you'll probably be fighting it if you go that route. If you can find a known source spring water or even "drinking water" you'd probably be in decent shape. Even without a known source, you'd be better off than untreated distilled water, even if it is a moving source target.

Also, please don't make a special trip to the crawl space for me. My curiosity will only be a mild simmer. ;)

Also, also, I've mixed up this thread with another concurrent water quality thread on this site and realized that nobody has mentioned Bru N Water in this thread. It is an indispensable tool if you're looking to actually geek out on the water chemistry.

Most notably, it has a tool to help you make calculations for mixing your tap water with distilled/RO water. Even if WKUD doesn't have a full report, your district and KUB both probably get TVA water possibly even from the same exact reservoir so you could, and I am going to catch a lot of flak for this, use it as a starting point until you're ready to get a full on water report.
 
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...there’s actually some sort of filter system mid line for my kitchen. It’s not labeled and when I bought the house there was no paperwork included for it so I’m unsure of what exactly it does and how exactly it changes my water chemistry for the kitchen.
Yuck! If that has been in line for an extended period of time, I'd advise you pay it some attention. Old clogged sediment filters will limit flow/pressure, and old carbon will impart a less than pleasant flavor/odor. Especially if you are drinking that water - definitely take a look at it. Post a pick of it and its model number/label and we can help you ID it.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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Yuck! If that has been in line for an extended period of time, I'd advise you pay it some attention. Old clogged sediment filters will limit flow/pressure, and old carbon will impart a less than pleasant flavor/odor. Especially if you are drinking that water - definitely take a look at it. Post a pick of it and its model number/label and we can help you ID it.
I'm also going to reach out to the previous owner ( just bought the house about a year and a half ago) and see if they have any documentation regarding it. The guy was a retired engineer and I get the impression he was the type to keep every manual ever. Until now, I didn't really care about it as I just used the water for drinking and washing dishes.
 

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If it is 18+ months old... put it on bypass if you can - especially if you are drinking it!
There was a whole-house filter on the last house I owned. I didn't even know about it until about a year and a half after moving in. One Sunday morning, I was walking down the hallway and heard a buzzing/spraying noise. Putting my ear to the floor, I realized it was in the crawlspace. After heading down there, I discovered that the filter had become so clogged that water was spraying from the input fitting. I called a plumber and had him cut it out and splice in a pipe. We were using a faucet-attached filter for our drinking water anyway, so we didn't notice any difference.
 

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