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100% disitilled water brewing, looking to go to tap

Hi All,

I’ve been brewing now with 100% distilled water for about a year and using Brun Water to figure out my additives for each style. The results so far have been been excellent on all pale beers and lager under 1.050 but it seems to produce a pretty flat flavor profile once I get over 1.050 especially when you introduce a lot of crystal like in stouts or browns. I tend to drop from 75% efficiency to about 60% when it is a high OG beer with a lot of crystal.

I’m contributing this to PH since as of right now I’m going in blind with the exception to what Brun Water suggest. I’m in the process of sending out my water sample to wards for testing, investing in filter below and I would like to buy the PH Meter below. My questions are below, I live in St Charles, IL and have really hard water that from experience doesn’t produce great beer even when I go 50/50 RO and tap:

  • Should I wait to send out my water sample to wards until I get the filter in place, then run the sample off of the filtered water?

  • For the PH meter, do I just need the 4.01 and 7.01 buffer for calibration or should I add 6.86 in the mix for three point testing?

That’s it for now, my end goal is to use my tap water with additives but we’ll see. 100% Distilled is getting pretty expensive though.

http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/hanna-instruments/ph-meters/testers/hi-98127.htm

http://www.lowes.com/pd_136858-86921-KR10_4294822071__?productId=3548972&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&facetInfo=

The filter is reverse osmosis, so you wouldn’t really be brewing with your tap water. It will strip most mineral content out, you’ll still be adding minerals in like you did with distilled. For this filter, you’d wait until after you installed it before sending a sample to Ward, if you intend to brew with the RO water and not tap water. I’m not sure you will be getting much different results than brewing with distilled though. What water profile are you using in Bru’n Water when making your dark beers? What mineral additions are you making?

I almost bought an RO system a few years back but chose a different path. Cost of the RO system was too high. For $235, you’d pay $2.35 per gal for the first year if you use 100 gal. Sometime down the road you’ll need to replace filters. More $$.

I buy drinking water at the local grocery store filled from an RO system at $.40 per gallon in a 5 gal container. I typically use 50/50 tap/RO depending upon the beer.

I had the RO water analyzed and the results fell right in with a typical RO profile.

This works well for me.

$235 for a RO system is a Cadillac price. You easily find a decent 3 stage RO system (particulate, carbon, and Membrane) without a tank for around $100. Running a RO system without a pressure tank will improve the system efficiency.

As to the original questions. A filter will not change the ionic content, so don’t worry about that. Get the water test now. You only need the 4 and 7 solutions. Don’t bother with the other solution.

I’ll hold off on any RO system until I get my results back, then I’ll determine if I really need one or can work backwards. I’ll also order the PH Meter this week, that should help out big time.

Here’s what I did on an Amber Ale:

10.5gal batch
17.25lbs of 2-Row
4.5lbs of Victory
2lbs of Crystal 80L
100% distilled water
[attachment=1]amber.png[/attachment]

Here’s what I did for a Brown:

10.5gal batch
15lbs Maris Otter
1lb Crystal 80L
1lb Crystal 120L
.5lb Chocolate
1lb Oats
.75lbs Wheat

[attachment=0]brown.png[/attachment]

I went the other way from tap to distilled. Cheapest I find is WalMart, then add in my salts based on Bru’water, got a good pH meter MW-101, I usually hit within .05 or less on my pH. Make sure you’re testing the pH at room temperature, not at mash temperature. Get a good accurate scale as well.

The tap water is too variable for me, the lakes we get our water from changes in their chemistry and taste with the seasons. Distilled is a known entity.

Lowville,

What style beers have you made since going with 100% distilled? I find my IPA’s, Lagers and APA’s are benefiting but the darker beers such as Ambers, Browns and Stouts come out a little flat from a taste standpoint. Does your additions look similar to mine on your darker beers?

Thanks,
Dave

I stick to the APA, IPA, German Alts. No lagers. I use the pale ale profile in Brun’water.

I can get my pH correct without acid. I do have the 4 and 10 pH calibration sachets but don’t use them a lot, only when I feel I should. They’re cheap.

There are many variables that affect hop utilization. Vigor and length of the boil, gravity of the wort, container geometry, water chemistry, plus more are all factors.

My recommendation is to first get a handle on your pH with a good meter. I also use the paid version of Brun’water and have a scale that measures in the hundreds. Then when the Brun’water pH estimate closely matches the pH of the mash then I know I relax on that aspect. If it doesn’t taste right I look elsewhere. Use the process of scientific elimination till you find your area to improve upon.

[quote=“Lowville”]I went the other way from tap to distilled. Cheapest I find is WalMart, then add in my salts based on Bru’water, got a good pH meter MW-101, I usually hit within .05 or less on my pH. Make sure you’re testing the pH at room temperature, not at mash temperature. Get a good accurate scale as well.

The tap water is too variable for me, the lakes we get our water from changes in their chemistry and taste with the seasons. Distilled is a known entity.[/quote]
+1 to everything above, except my municipal water comes from the KS River. I was paying to have my water tested a few times a year and cutting it with a high percentage of distilled anyway, so for me the net cost of going to 100% distilled was very low.

Maybe it’s coincidence, but since going to 100% distilled the quality of my beer has improved and is consistent. I would think the RO system would yield similar results as long as it is maintained properly.

I went from building water from distilled to using tap water pH corrected with phosphoric acid but as Lowville pointed out that can be problematic if your water changes seasonally. My city gets its water from several deep wells which don’t show much seasonal variability. I used a pH meter and the paid version of Bru’n Water to get things figured out but after lots of batches with my pH coming out as calculated I don’t bother measuring it any more (also my pH meter died), I just do the calculation in Bru’n Water and rarely bother checking my pH.

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