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Thread: Which water is best for brewing?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    charleston, sc
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    Question Which water is best for brewing?

    It's been talked about before, I know. Which water filtration method is best for brewing? At home we use RO becuase we think it's the best drinking water. At the brewery I work at we just use a charcoal filter, which seems just ok. When I have homebrewed with my home RO water it seemed a little thin. I'm starting my own small micro so I am debating between the 2. I want the best water (health and taste wise) but don't want to have to add every mineral/vitamin back in.
    What is everyone using?

  2. #2
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    Santa Rosa CA USA
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    Every water makes a different beer. There is no one best water. It matters that you like the resulting beer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    186
    Moonlight hit the nail on the head. Each beer style can vary greatly depending on it's water profile.

    I believe R.O. water is the best (if you can afford it).

    On the other hand, any filtration is better than no filtration, but you need to know what the water looks like post filtration.

    Or, you can do what I do, and do nothing, except fight with the Public Works Dept. whenever you want an updated water analysis.

    Best of luck!
    Last edited by mr.jay; 04-07-2007 at 06:08 AM.

  4. #4
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    Stavanger Norway
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    having consistant water with out changes especialy in chlorine levels is important to brewing consistant beer.
    I use RO water and yes it will be thinner in flavor and the yeast will have a hard time falling out if you dont add back some minerals. I add about 500 grms of Calcium chloride into 19hl of mash water before mashing in, then about 70 grms of zinc sulfide in the boiling wort.

  5. #5
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    Mammoth Lakes, CA
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    Anyone have any suggestions on a type and brand of carbon filter for filtering 20bbl brewing water at a time?
    Thanks,
    Jason

  6. #6
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    Mar 2006
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    Germany
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    RO water

    The best thing to do if you have an RO unit is to cut the RO water with a little (say 10%) water which hasn't been through the RO unit, but has been through the carbon filter (because of chlorine). The amount you use depends upon the mineral content of your water and the style of beer you're brewing. Also, maintenance is a key issue when dealing with water treatment systems.

  7. #7
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    Sep 2004
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbs
    Anyone have any suggestions on a type and brand of carbon filter for filtering 20bbl brewing water at a time?
    Thanks,
    Jason
    We've had good success with three 20" Big Blue carbon filters in parallel. They are manufactured by Ametek.

    Cheers!
    --Neil Herbst
    Alley Kat Brewery

  8. #8
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    Dec 2005
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    charleston, sc
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    The 90% RO water and 10% filtered water seems like the best route. You get the "cleanest" water that way. I'll think we'll give that a go and then get the final product water analyzed and see what we've got.
    Anyone try the filter recommended for breweries by Serfilco?
    COAST Brewing Company
    SC Brewer's Association

  9. #9
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    Jul 2006
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    Oconomowoc, WI USA
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    water treatment

    On average our tap water is around 350 ppms of hardness, pH around 8.5, and a boat load of carbonates. I treat the water with a combination of CaHO2 (ounce per bbl) to drop out the nasties, CaCl and CaSO4 to introduce Ca back into the water. As far as the pH, Acidulated Malt at 1 to 2 percent in the mash depending on the amount of roasted malt. If the amount of roasted climbs above 7%, the acisity of the roast will replace any need for the acidulated.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2006
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    Rapperswil, Switzerland
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    be careful with the zinc

    [QUOTE= I add about 500 grms of Calcium chloride into 19hl of mash water before mashing in, then about 70 grms of zinc sulfide in the boiling wort.[/QUOTE]

    Just a friendly word of warning. It seems like a hell of a lot of zinc to throw in. The zinc is important as a trace element for the yeast during propagation but too much and it can be poisonous.
    A zinc deficient wort will require 0.5ppm at the most for the yeast. For 20hl that is 1gm. Assuming you are adding zinc sulphate (zinc sulfide is a paint pigment) that calculates, with water of crytallisation, to aprox. 4.5 gm. Maybe you are adding a diluted solution - but just be careful here.

  11. #11
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    I'd like to second the warning on Zinc. It harms the yeast and you may not notice it so much in the first or even second generation, but viability tapers off tragically.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Germany
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    Zinc

    In my opinion, it'd be best to forget about adding zinc to your water altogether. Some breweries have a length of pipe made of zinc or a chain placed strategically somewhere in the brewhouse, because not much is required and too much can kill. If you want to add something with a zinc component, try adding yeast nutrients at the end of the boil. Often this will contain lysed and dried yeast cells raised with the addition of zinc in some form.

  13. #13
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    Oct 2002
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    Stavanger Norway
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    Quote Originally Posted by crassbrauer
    In my opinion, it'd be best to forget about adding zinc to your water altogether. Some breweries have a length of pipe made of zinc or a chain placed strategically somewhere in the brewhouse, because not much is required and too much can kill. If you want to add something with a zinc component, try adding yeast nutrients at the end of the boil. Often this will contain lysed and dried yeast cells raised with the addition of zinc in some form.

    You all are probably correct, in fact I just recieved by mistake a yeast nutrient so perhaps I'll start using that, I had already begun to "forget" the zinc additive. It wasnt my call on the zinc allthough... I happy with just the calcium chloride additions myself.

  14. #14
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    Oct 2006
    Location
    Israel
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    105

    Water Report

    Cap'n Mullet -

    What sorts of beers are you adding acid malt to? Does it add any discernable flavor (sourness) to your beer? I was reading that 2.9% acid malt will lower mash pH by ~.1 - what mash pH do you wind up with?

    David

  15. #15
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    Jul 2006
    Location
    Oconomowoc, WI USA
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    106

    mash pH

    David,

    The beers are an American Lager, Hefeweissen, American Pale Ale, Belgium Blonde and so on. Any beer in which roasted malts are not part of the mash, the roasted malt will effect the pH in the same way as the acid malt. The flavor is effected by giving a crispness to the beer but not enough to note the acidity.

    The typical pH range is 5.4 to 5.2.

    Captain

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