Extract and BrunWater

I am looking to brew some extract kits and use the Brunwater spreadsheet. I might be over thinking things but how to I account for sparge when there is no sparge? Or should I not even worry and spend a few extra bucks and get distilled since i am using extract?

Extract is basically dehydrated wort, so all the minerals are already there (from the water that was used to mash the grains for the extract). You don’t need to worry about mineral additions. That said, I would probably recommend RO or distilled water for extract brewing, unless your tap water has pretty low mineral content.

I should be fine. The only higher mineral count in my water is calcium at 40 ppm and that isn’t that bad…I just have a higher bicarbonate count at 188 ppm so I will probably so 50/50 distilled and tap.

You’ll be ok. My calcium is 70ppm with 170ppm bicarbonate and I made good extract beers with it and 50% distilled water.

In most extracts, the mineral content is modest. Briess is one that has a significant sodium content, but sodium isn’t always a problem in brewing. With that information in mind, most brewing doesn’t really need much in the way of additional minerals. There are a few styles such as pale ales that do benefit from mineral addition.

The main consideration with using tap water is that its mineral content needs to be reviewed to make sure that it is not pushing the overall content for some ions too high. For example, some water supplies may have high sodium or magnesium and the resulting wort would have levels of those ions that are poor tasting.

In the case of your water, the bicarbonate content will end up affecting the kettle wort pH by pushing it higher than desirable. That has negative effects throughout the brewing process and resulting beer flavor. A simple neutralization of the bicarbonate via an acid addition is all that is needed. Bring the bicarbonate down to under 50 ppm (preferably under 25 ppm) and this problem should be avoided. Bru’n Water has the Sparging Water calculator that is perfect for figuring out how much acid to use to get you where you need to be.

I didn’t see anything mentioned about chlorine/chloramine, so I figured I’d throw a reminder out there. Treat your tap water with campden tabs if it contains chlorine/chloramine.