Consistant off flavor!

I recently brewed and oktoberfest and a Mild. I used unfiltered chicago tap water. I am sad to say that they both taste “weird”, but similar.I take pretty good notes and I clean and saitize everything twice. The only thing they had in common was tap water. I believe it is the chlorine in the water causing the off flavor. In the past I’ve used distilled water and as far as I can remember I had much better results. With that said, without getting into tons of water chemistry what is the easisest and best? Do I keep buying distilled water by the gallon? Do I purchase a carbon water filter to remove the chlorine flavor from the water? Any thoughts? :cheers:


Using tap water, especially city tap water that is high in chlorine can cause chlorophenol. This will give off a plastic flavor or a band-aid flavor.

If you had better results using distilled/ro water I would suggest using a carbon filter. This is probably the most economic way. It might be a little more expensive upfront, but after awhile of buying gallons of distilled/ro water can really add up.

A simple carbon filter may be all you need…it’ll make a huge difference! Your tap water will be much more fit for drinking as well. Much of the bottled water sold these days is merely filtered tap water anyway.

Have you tried hitting it with campden?

Agreed with the above statements. I live in South Jersey. For a while I was using the water straight from my faucet figuring “I have to boil it anyway, so it should be fine.” But there were several occasions that I had beers with a band-aid taste (usually hoppier beers, not sure why?). I then switched to only using water that went through my in-sink filter. I haven’t had that issue since.

Spring for an under-sink filter. They are pretty easy to install, and if you drink water like I do, its great to have the equivalent of ‘brita’ coming out of your faucet at the regular speed.

Also, a 30-pack of campden tabs will last you exactly 120 brews. Pick up a pack of those and throw (I think a quarter tablet?) into your mash water. I had one random band aid beer (a wheat…I’ve since researched that wheat malt has more of one compound in them that can cause 4-ethylphenol (band aid)) and since then I’ve always used a campden tab to neutralize any precursors just to be safe.

I have not used campden yet. Is campden specificly used to nutrilize the chemicals in water that cause the band-aide flavor? I will definitly get some for the next batch.

I have not used campden yet. Is campden specificly used to nutrilize the chemicals in water that cause the band-aide flavor? I will definitly get some for the next batch.[/quote]
Yes. More specifically, chloramine which cannot be boiled or evaporated out like chlorine can. I would try a small/half batch with DI or RO water first to determine that it is the tap water causing the problem. It will be useful information further down the road if/when you decide to go all grain.


Chicago water is NOT treated with Chloramine only chlorine. You can boil off the chlorine in 5 minutes or so. The campden tablets will also take care of chlorine so if you don’t want to boil use the tablets. The water is good for brewing except for the chlorine.

There is a lot of chlorine in the Chicago water. An easy fix is to let it sit in the carboy at room temp. for 24-48 hours before brewing. You can smell the chlorine evaporating.

I have brewed a dozen or so batches with my father-in-law using this method and have never had a flavor problem.

I did the same for the first batch I did on my own this past weekend. I obviously have not had a chance to taste it yet but I don’t expect and bad flavors to come from the water.