Water type for all grain?

I have been an extract brewer and currently I am buying equipment to start all grain brewing. I have been reading a lot of stuff however one thing I’m not quite sure about is the water type to use for all grain brewing. I have been buying distilled water for my extract batches and it has worked just fine. I am wondering what type of water i should use for all grain batches. It seems like the distilled water is not the right way to go. Is nondistilled bottled water from the grocery store okay or do i have to add a bunch of stuff to that. i guess i could use tapwater also but my tap water doesn’t taste all that great. any opinions?

While messsing with water has made my beer better, for the first 10+ years I brewed I did nothing but add a bit of gypsum for hoppy beers. Which is to say that you have more important things to deal with before you worry about water. If you want to keep buying water, I suggest you use mineral or spring water, not distilled. That way you’ll have at least some minerals in it. After you get your all grain skills together, then you can start playing with water.

Thanks Denny, I appreciate your help. I just watch a video where someone just used store bottled water and added a pH stabilizer. Maybe I’ll do that. Anyway, glad you responded because I just today read your website and watch some podcasts where you explain your method for batch sparging. I think I’m going to start with that. Quick question, some batch Sparge instructions say to pour the sparge water in and let it sit for 30 minutes but it sounds like you pour the Sparge water and stir it and drain it right away. Is that correct?
Thanks, T

[quote=“Trapae”]Thanks Denny, I appreciate your help. I just watch a video where someone just used store bottled water and added a pH stabilizer. Maybe I’ll do that. Anyway, glad you responded because I just today read your website and watch some podcasts where you explain your method for batch sparging. I think I’m going to start with that. Quick question, some batch Sparge instructions say to pour the sparge water in and let it sit for 30 minutes but it sounds like you pour the Sparge water and stir it and drain it right away. Is that correct?
Thanks, T[/quote]

I’ve dound through a lot of experimentation that there’s no need to let the sparge water sit. I’ve experimented with everything from 30 min. to immediate runoff and found there’s nothing gained by letting it sit.

Forget the 5.2 “stabilizer”. Most people (including me) find it doesn’t work. And because it contains a lot of sodium it gives your beer an off taste.

Thanks so much. Can’t wait for my first all grain brew day.

Which is to say that you have more important things to deal with before you worry about water

I agree, and good point. There are many factors that can influence the taste of the beer. If water is an easy fix, why not take it out of the equation? A quick step of adding campden tablets or pH stabalizer is a good idea. Check your water first to see if you even need it.

+1 to working on your process first. You have enough to remember and think about right now. If you don’t like your tap water then the spring water in the supermarket is a good place to start. If it tased bad, they wouldn’t/couldn’t sell it.

If you like hoppy beers, there is a lot written to support adding the gypsum. I started with Joy of Homebrewing and I think gypsum is in everyone of Papazian’s recipes. It’s been awhile, so shoot me if I’m wrong about that.

Have fun and enjoy it. You’ll make good beer.

[quote=“stacheybandit”]Which is to say that you have more important things to deal with before you worry about water

I agree, and good point. There are many factors that can influence the taste of the beer. If water is an easy fix, why not take it out of the equation? A quick step of adding campden tablets or pH stabalizer is a good idea. Check your water first to see if you even need it.[/quote]

Campden tabs, absolutely if you have chlorinated water. pH stabilzer, no way.

I don’t disagree with anything above, but, I would not be so quick to dismiss your water. The one thing I would do is find out your water profile - if it comes back basically normal - then I do agree with everything above… However, if it comes back and there is something significantly extreme about it - then, I think it is in your best interest to compensate for it.

For instance - if your water is REALLY hard - high Bicarbonate - you will have a very tough time using it to brew lagers, pale ales, etc. I spent a decade brewing bad IPA’s and pale ales, and fixed it overnight by paying attention to my water.
Or, if your water is high in chlorine (campden tabs will solve this) that is a big problem.

Take all of the advice above - but also at least find out what you are working with in your water - you may find that your water is basically suited for brewing. you may find out there are problems that you have to adjust for - Ward Labs Homebrewer Test - can give you this info for $16 in a week. Or, you might be able to look some of it up too.

Also - buying water - I would consider Reverse Osmosis water from a dispenser (refill jugs) - costs .39 cents a gallon as opposed to $1 a gallon.

Also - agree with Denny on the pH stabilizer - it does not work. It is proven to not do what it says it does.

What does your water taste like? All you may need is a run through a carbon filter.

the first thing to learn if you want to take a stab at water adjustment is to keep your water in the right ph range. you can check ph with ph strips, so it won’t cost much to check.

+1 on this. Store-brand spring water makes good beer in my experience.

I am not sure this is a good suggestion. I have not used RO water for all-grain because RO removes minerals. You want minerals for flavor.

My tap water tastes ok. We have a house water softener. I have just gotten in the habit of buying water for extract. Sounds like spring water at least for starting out will be ok? I found this site that has target ranges for minerals that I guess I can use for reference in the future.

http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/03/14 ... formation/