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Filtering tap water question

I’m contemplating doing filtration on my tap water, but I’d like to hear from those that do it first.

What do you use to filter your water? What does it all remove, and once complete, what is your water like? Does it change the character of your water (i.e. sodium, bicarbonates, etc)?

And most important question of all: did you notice a significant improvement in your beer?

Thanks in advance!

I went to HD and picked up a GE water filter(I believe rated for 16,000 gallons). I put in a charcoal water filter to get rid of the Cl out of my tap water.
The water comes out great, no Cl smell(not much to begin with anyway) and the water tastes like good ol water.
It improved my beers 100-fold. I now eliminated the “bandaid” flavor out of my beers, especially when using wheat malt for my hefe’s.
I didn’t hard-plumb it. As you can tell by the pics it is pretty simple and the “Y” adapter off of the faucet is so I can run the filter and still use water for washing.
As someone likes to say, “Cheap-n-Easy”.


I have a similar filter chamber (carbon block) that I got from MoreBeer. I primarily got it to remove chlorine from my Lake Michigan water. It does a great job removing chlorine. The label on the filter said that it would remove chlorine, chloramine, organic flavor and particulate down to .5 micron. But it does not alter the water ions in the water (calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, sulfates, bicarbonates). If you want to add those to soft water, you can make those additions. If you have high levels of those ions that you want to reduce, the best bet is to dilute the water with distilled or RO.

Here’s a good one: We get the big, blue 5-gallon water bottles from Ice Mountain and sometimes the water runs out before they come back. My whole family (me, my wife, 3 kids) drinks that water. Once when the bottle was empty, I filled it back up with tap water and got many compaints… Ew, gross, what’s wrong with this water?… that kind of thing. So then I filled it with filtered water and no one could tell the difference between that and the Ice Mountain. Clearly the Ice Mountain drinking water has different ions, but the fact that the filter got rid of the chlorine was a big step forward.

All that said, I also fill those empty bottles with RO water from the grocery store and make batches with either 100% RO water (with additions) or some percentage of RO water mixed with my filtered tap water based on the style I’m making. Lighter styles suffer from a high bicarbonate level. Cheers.

If you are just trying to remove chlorine and chloramine, Campden tablets are the most effective, but filtration can help, if you filter slowly.

We get our water from a reservoir, and it can be quite delicious, but it will occasionally get organic off flavors and aromas, especially if the weather has been hot. Our water is generally so good that I’ve never bothered with a filter, but I’ve thought of it because of the organic flavors.

Instead, I always taste my water before I start to brew to make sure it tastes good, then treat it for chloramines. It’s usually not a problem when the weather is cold, which is when I do most of my brewing. And let’s face it, in New England the weather is only warm about 3 months of the year, if we’re lucky.

Thank you for the answers, everyone. I should’ve mentioned that I do use campden tablets for the chloramine/chlorine… Would filtering make the water better? I’m specifically looking to remove things like those already mentioned above, plus flouride, etc.

Thanks again!

[quote=“larsenj”]Thank you for the answers, everyone. I should’ve mentioned that I do use campden tablets for the chloramine/chlorine… Would filtering make the water better? I’m specifically looking to remove things like those already mentioned above, plus flouride, etc.

Thanks again![/quote]
You need to know what you want to do before you do it. If you’re looking to remove chlorine, a campden tablet (and allowing the water to sit overnight, I think) and a carbon block filter are going to accomplish the same thing. If you have some sort of organic flavor to your water that you would like to get rid of, the carbon block filter will help. I use the filter with the water turned on very low so the water has good contact time with the filter. If I drink water straight from the tap, I taste chlorine (same when I fill my coffee pot). But if I filter the water and then drink it, it tastes very good… so I’m filtering to remove chlorine and that’s it. Again, as far as the other big 6 brewing ions are concerned, a filter and a campden tablet will not alter those. A good place to start is getting a water analysis from Ward Labs in Nebraska. It’s relatively inexpensive and you will know exactly what’s in your water. From there, you can determine what you need to add (or remove) from your water for various styles based on what is typically present in the water for those styles. You could look at “the great brewing waters of the world” which are available online (John Palmer’s site comes to mind), but trying to duplicate those waters is tricky or impossible so just getting close is usually good enough. Cheers.

if you search here for ro water you will see many pros/cons. I use ro water excusively. I can build the water profile I want for any beer, light or dark. This has made my beer much much better.

I use a carbon filter made for Rec Vehicles. The one I got was from wally world. There really cheap, less than $20. I change mine out once a year. Our municipal water has a ton of chlorine. It smells like a swimming pool and also has other off flavor. Back in the early 1900’s this was an area for mineral baths. That maybe great for bathes but it sucks for drinking. The carbon filter removes all the off flavors and like others have said it does not strip out any of the beneficial minerals. Here’s the link to the filter I use.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Water-F ... e/14504321

There’s experimental results that seem to indicate that campden/sodium metabisulfite works within about 5 minutes.

I have the normal carbon filter cartridge and canister that they sell here (K130, et al).

My water tastes OK out of the tap. What I notice is that after using the filter for just a little while, the outside surface of the cartridge gets bands of brown discoloration. I assume that if I don’t filter, that discoloration will make it into the beer. So I always filter just to scrub the water before it goes into the HLT.

Thanks again for the feedback.

How long does your filter last? Do you use it for more than brewing water, and if not, what do you do with it between brew sessions? Does it just sit there with water in-line? Or do you dry it out between sessions?

:cheers:

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