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Types of water to use

Okay, I am new to the forums. I have been brewing my own beer for about a year now. I mainly use kits that I have been getting online. I use bottled water for all my brewing, is this wise? I have been reading people testing their water to get better results. Thanks for the advice in advance.

I live in Texas so not sure how good the water is for brewing beer.

Which part of the state?

I recommend you use water in the liquid form, other types can be very difficult to brew with.

If you contact your local water authority, they will be able to provide a free water report that will list the important minerals present typically in the water supply. If you are using well-water or the sources for the city water vary depending on your location in the city (and the city may not give the breakdown in a way to pinpoint that for you), you can order a test from Ward labs:

https://producers.wardlab.com/BrewersKitOrder.aspx

But getting to that much detail is primarily important to all-grain brewers. If you are using extract, you can likely get away with whatever water you have as long as it tastes good and you remove any chlorine or chloramines before using it to brew.

That may be the case in some municipalities, but based on what I encountered I certainly wouldn’t count on it.
After a few unanswered emails and phone calls to the water department of the township in which I live (in Central NJ), they finally got back to me saying (and I’m quoting them directly) “…we don’t do that…” , further stating that their annual report listing the contaminants in the water should suffice. They went on on say that they weren’t obligated to provide any other information but referred me to a few local places who could provide the analysis…for $375 - $500.

You may have better luck where you live. But if not, Ward Labs is your best bet…not expensive at all, they make it very easy to send your samples to them, and you get your results in a matter of just a couple of days.
:cheers:

If you’re an extract brewer, it doesn’t matter much. Distilled is great for extract, spring water works well, too. If your tap water isn’t disgusting and you can remove the chlorine, it will work, too. Water chemistry doesn’t matter much for extract brewers as long as the water isn’t too extreme. If you’re brewing all grain, water chemistry becomes more important. That’s when you need to get your water report. Or you can start with distilled water and add minerals back into it.

That may be the case in some municipalities, but based on what I encountered I certainly wouldn’t count on it.
After a few unanswered emails and phone calls to the water department of the township in which I live (in Central NJ), they finally got back to me saying (and I’m quoting them directly) “…we don’t do that…” , further stating that their annual report listing the contaminants in the water should suffice. They went on on say that they weren’t obligated to provide any other information but referred me to a few local places who could provide the analysis…for $375 - $500.

You may have better luck where you live. But if not, Ward Labs is your best bet…not expensive at all, they make it very easy to send your samples to them, and you get your results in a matter of just a couple of days.
:cheers: [/quote]
Interesting. Back when I was living in the US, I used to get a water report mailed to me every year - every customer of the local water authority got one. I had thought it was a legal requirement; maybe it was in Massachusetts.

When I moved here I had a great conversation with one of the staff chemists in the water department. She seemed unable to understand what I was trying to learn - kept telling me that the water was very soft so I didn’t need any additives when using soap for my clothes. What was really funny about it was she was trying to be helpful; she had just never gotten questions related to brewing before, and was one of the rare Finns who didn’t speak fluent English. I finally sent a sample to Ward labs the next time I visited the states.

I have excellent tasting tap water (city water) and use it for extract and partial mash. If I need to top off the primary due to loss during the brew, I usually add some purified water. I would say if your water tastes good from the faucet it’s o.k. to brew with.

Water is one of the biggest questions I had when I recently laid out my first batch using a Cooper extract kit. I live in a small county with excellent water, but I was torn between buying store bought “spring water” or working with what I had. Then my wife suggested going to her parents house down the road where they have the best tasting well water I’ve ever had. Three choices was too much, and my brain nearly shut-down. :mrgreen:

I’m back on track now. Thanks for some clarity.

As many have found, water quality reports from utilities in the US are REQUIRED to provide information on contaminants in the water. That is good to know, but its not what we brewers want to know. We want to know about “Secondary Parameters”, as they are known in the water industry. Those utilities DO NOT have to analyze or report about those secondary parameters. If your utility does, great for you. For the rest of you, you know about Ward.

Extract brewing is best performed with water that has little or no mineralization. And most importantly, it must be water with little alkalinity. Even when brewing with extract, if you use a water with high alkalinity, the pH of the wort is likely to be higher than desirable. That can make the resulting beer dull and the hop flavor and bittering ‘rough’. A little acidification of high alkalinity water can make it suitable for brewing with extract.

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