is it necessary to get a water test if I am doing extract brewing. I am using well water and have 7 batches under my belt. everything that I have brewed taste great to me and also to family and friends. if it is recommended is wards the company to send sample to and which test would I need to get? what are the benefits getting my water tested ? I will have more ? if everyone says I need to get a test.
If you like your beer then don’t.
However, it is recommended that when making beer using extract that distilled water should be used. The reason is, when the extract is processed and subsequently condensed into syrup, the water is driven off leaving most essential brewing minerals behind. If you use water that contains more minerals, you are essentially doubling up which can lead to unbalanced mineral profiles.
If you decide to get your water tested, it would be of little benefit unless you could determine the mineral profile of the maltsters water.
I thought distilled water was not for drinking
It can be drunk, it won’t hurt you. It shouldn’t be the only source of drinking water since since it provides no mineral benefits.
so will the taste be a lot different using distilled water over my well water
Common advice for extract brewing is that if the water tastes good, and the beer tastes good, you’re fine. All-grain bewing requires attention to pH, though, so if you end up going that route you’ll need to either get a test on the well water or use DI water and brew with a clean slate. In the mean time, brewing blind with well water, you can brew a recipe and get a baseline flavor profile - is it malty enough or hoppy? For example, say you’ve just brewed an IPA and the hops just aren’t standing out, then for your next hoppy beer you could add a teaspoon of gypsum to the kettle to accentuate the hops. Or vice versa, you brew a brown ale and it’s not malty to your taste, next malty brew you could add a teaspoon of calcium chloride to the kettle.
That is the only key in that statement. Just because a water tastes good is NO indicator that it will produce good beer. Whereas if a water tastes bad, it will probably produce poor beer…you can’t just turn that statement around and say the converse is true.
The good thing about using a low-mineralized water like RO or distilled water in extract brewing is that the alkalinity is already low. Excessive alkalinity is the aspect that I find is most likely to degrade beer quality. A tap water may be more likely to have alkalinity that could raise the wort pH and that can have several degrading effects such as loss of ‘crispness’ and extracting harsh components from hops.
So if the beer tastes great, you are good to go. But if you aren’t tasting the qualities you want in your extract beers, then maybe it is your tap water (regardless of how good it tastes).
That depends on your well water. If you like your beer, there’s probably no need to worry.
One thing to keep in mind is if you brew extract beer with RO or distilled water, you’re not actually going to have no minerals, you’ll end up with the minerals from the water that was used to make the extract. Which is exactly right in most cases. That’s why using RO or distilled is the easiest way for extract brewers to ensure they get good beer. You might want to add a little gypsum or something to hoppy beers to give it some extra kick, but that’s strictly optional.
Its probably a worthwhile experiment to brew a beer with distilled just to compare and see which you like better.
One problem we have where I live is many wells have water with high levels of Bicarbonate. This will give the beer a dull flavor even with extracts.
One simple test you can try is measure your beers PH at 60 digress.
Finished beer should be in a range of 3.7 to 4.4. If it is much higher I would suggest a water test.
thanks for all the replies. if anyone has any other comments feel free to chime in thanks again. eventually I want to step up to all grain, but I am still satisfied with extract brewing . plus from the looks of things it is quiet costly to get into.
Read http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/ before you conclude all grain is too expensive.