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Water testing?

I whole heartedly agree with Flars… Sneezles61

Thank you, yes I looked and our water can come from a few local springs/ reservoirs. They are all located within a few miles of each other but no telling what the differences could be. What is RO water and does that need to be tested and treated towards what I am brewing? I am guessing RO is reverse osmosis ? Just a guess…


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Yes, reverse osmosis… There is a meter for testing it too. I do not have one. I brewed so many batches using RO and with good results, BUT, we have good water here, from our own well, and have a report that gives me the break down of the aquifer that serves this area. That is how I’m brewing now… Gets to be a PITA getting enough RO water for a 10 gallon brew day! You could get an RO system too. Sneezles61

How to Brew, 4e in on my list of books to buy later this spring.

I brew with RO/distilled water. I’m currently viewing adding minerals to water as “season to taste” - it will make a good recipe better. One still has to execute the other things (sanitation, temperature control, ingredient selection) well before water minerals matter.

What I do know from experience with some of my standard extract/partial-mash recipes is that a little bit of gypsum will enhance hop flavors / aromas in pale ales / IPAs:

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We use RO in our home.

Interesting how fast the forum chatter has moved forum in the last couple of months - a number of people digging in deep on the science behind the use of minerals in water.

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In every hobby I’ve been involved in, there always seems to be a second approach that contrasts the “primary” meme in some ways. Usually it’s a simplicity/complexity contrast.

With minerals in water, I’m finding that some of the articles that Chris Colby writes make minerals in water very approachable. If you have already figured out water, these articles may not be for you. But for getting started, it may be a quicker easier apporach:

So far, this approach is working well for me.

I ignored my water chemistry for a long time figuring that my beer tasted good so why bother. Finally decided that maybe it could taste better so why not look into it. What I discovered was our water supply was really good and needed very little adjustment. It was fun figuring it out though.

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I agree, I think it is the natural progression to keep investigating the details. I think if I were not interested in the “hows” and “whys” of beer brewing then I would just drive to the store and buy my beer. I am still very challenged by the water topic, (thank you for those links Chertel) . Its not something I am going to understand in a hurry, but little by little I will get it.
Someday I may find a good all day or multi day class on all grain brewing where I can maybe pick it up a bit quicker.


I getting ready to brew the Speckled Heifer partial mash. Brewed this one a few times before I started using Bru’n Water. So far there was no water adjustment for the mash liquor. Bru’n Water suggests 10 ml of 10% phosphoric acid addition to the mash liquor with 3.8 ml added to the sparge water.

I suppose the acid addition to the mash liquor is because of the lack of acid malts in a light yellow beer. I’m going to go with Bru’n Water to see how it compares to previous Speckled Heifers.

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I think if your using tap water from a well, it has alot of carbonates to buffer the acid addition, so more acid is needed. If you are using distilled/RO you are still adding acid, not as much because the carbonates are virtually non existent and not much buffering happens. Also the very light malts don’t have much acidity to offer in the mash. Sneezles61

My HCO3 is at 156. I was thinking about boiling the water to reduce the carbonate. According to Martin Brungard’s formula this would put my calcium into the negative numbers. I would need to add calcium chloride or calcium sulfate depending on existing levels. More reading to do!

I agree & it’s likely I’ll “dive into the deep end” on the science of brewing water this winter. And Bru’n Water will be one of my starting points.

It’s also fun to add a ‘pinch’ of gypsum (to accent the hops) in a short boil all DME APA/IPA. Yes, extract brewing with small amounts of minerals (seasoned to taste) runs against the standard internet forum meme on using minerals with DME. Is it safe to say that I first heard about this while stewarding at a regional homebrew contest? :slight_smile: .

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There’s no doubt you can add minerals to accentuate extract brewing. You just have to be very careful as you don’t know the mineral level in the extract.

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Meh. It’s a hobby and it 's beer. Gotta have fun with it or it’s not worth doing. :slight_smile:

Have you ever had to dump 5gal beer? When yo do let me know how fun it is. :wink:

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Yup thats how I feel, and prob why I ask a lot of questions and opinions, as by the time my beer goes into the fermentor and then through the primary… well I have a lot of time and effort into that brew and I hate even the thought of having to dump it. Someday if I get super experimental I will either have the confidence and experience to know pretty strongly that whatever happens it will still be drinkable, or I will do my crazy experiments on 1 gallon batches. Maybe then it would be less painful.


I’m taking smaller steps and keeping the notes detailed… I have dumped a few 5 gallons batches many years ago… I will blame one on bad sanitation, another, I saw a fruit fly dive bomb into a bottling bucket! I am working on using lactic acid for pH mashing, finding on my pale brews I have the pre-mash (BIAB) water at 5.8… with 3 - 10 gallon brews successfully done, I feel good with my results…Next, I’ve reading on chloride/sulfate… This W/E is IPA time. I will use gypsum to the boil kettle… Start small, 1 tablespoon for 10… Sneezles61

I happen to listen to a podcast on water testing this am. Has anyone ever looked into these guys…
Industrial Test Systems

They have an advanced kit but that just includes a ph meter that is less accurate than the one I already have. I don’t think I am going to bother with this as I feel like my current method of treating spring water is ok as my beed tastes good to me and others I share it with. I am just curious if a test kit like this would add any value to the effort of water adjustment.

I just about fell out of my recliner… You can read enough, single out just one part of the water, say start with pH… Once you have a grasp, then move on to the boil additions… Thats almost as much as I paid for my 20 gallon kettle!! Holy Moly! Sneezles61

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