What type of water do you use for your BIAB brews?

I want to try some of the BIAB kits sold on this site and was wondering what type of water to brew with. I mostly brew extract , using distilled water but i know that it is lower on mineral content and that’s not so good for all grain. Would it be better to use spring water? My tap water is hard so that’s out. And if I use spring water what additions if any should I get to add to it on brewing day? My thinking is that the spring water with nothing added will make a tasty beer. Thanks for your time look forward to hearing from you.

Spring water is usually very hard as well, and can lead to excessive bitterness. However in some styles, this is just fine.

The following guidance is very generic and there are many exceptions, but in general you can achieve good chemistry using a blend of perhaps 90% distilled to 10% hard water for light color beer styles, a 50/50 mixture for in-between amber color beers, and closer to 100% hard water for the darkest beers. You may also use hard water or a 50/50 blend for any bitter styles such as APA, IPA, RIS, German pilsners, Dortmunder, etc.

I’ll say again: This guidance is very generalized. But in the short term, it will work fine. Also in general, if your water tastes good, it’s good to brew with. You really don’t need to sweat it too much or overthink it. As long as your mash pH is okay (in the 5.2-5.5 range), then water should be the final frontier, to explore only after you’ve mastered every other aspect of brewing. Mash pH is the main reason for all the water madness. If you can hit the magic range of 5.2-5.5 without any effort, it’s no surprise as your malt bill wants to take you there all by itself… and you’re also fortunate because a few people do have some problems and need to adjust with bicarbonate (raises mash pH) or acid (reduces).

The only other thing to consider, if you’re ever going to try using your tap water, is whether it is chlorinated. If so, you need to eliminate the chlorine to avoid medicinal flavors in the final beer, and the easiest way to do that is to crush and add 1/4 Campden tablet per 5 gallons water. The reaction will instantly remove the chlorine and be safe to brew with. If not using tap water, then nevermind, you should be safe from the chlorine effect.

++++to Dave’s answer above. Really this should get you started fine with all grain water. Down the road get a water report (you said you have hard water but not sure if you have sent in your water yet?). Mixing for style as stated will work beautifully and campden tab addition is how I started. Much more important is getting down the all grain process.

Thanks ,this is the type of info I was looking for. Something to get me started in the right direction…( I understand it is very general). I know there is always something to learn with this hobby. I’ve been reading and searching for info on the all grain process as well. I like the idea of BIAB and the 3 gallon batch size, and look forward to trying more with all grain brewing. :cheers:

Not to hijack the thread, but I do not have a ph meter or a TDS. I have three brews under my belt- have yet to taste any yet.

First brew I used spring water, the second and third used bottled drinking water from WalMart.
There is one of those filtered water stations by my house. 5 gallons for $1. Not sure if the water is just filtered or is RO.

I’ve tried the water and it taste good. Without having any info about the water, would I need to add anything to it to get a good tasting beer? I really don’t want to spring for a PH or TDS meter unless it is necessary so I’m just trying to determine what i need to do.

I’ve read a ton of posts about water composition etc and the more I read the more confused I get. Just want to get a great beer to drink without all the technical stuff.

If you’re making good beer, then don’t worry about it. I’m not certain what the Walmart “drinking water” has in it. Might have added minerals for flavor, which means it’s hard water. So like I said before, you can use hard water but you might want to consider a blend with distilled. Maybe. But if the beer tastes good, then just don’t worry too much about it.

I don’t want to spend a buck a gallon for water. I don’t drink my tap water- not saying it’s not good. I just grew up drinking bottled water. I would prefer to use the filtered or RO water from the place by my house for a buck for 5 gallons. I know filtered water takes out the impurities and not sure if I should just add a 1/4 t of calcium chloride and use a bit of acid malt in my grains to be on the safe side.

Maybe I should use a percentage of RO and tap or RO and drinking water?
Just trying to figure out the best route to take. I would prefer to spend money on a bigger kettle vs a PH or TDS meter.

I’ll get to try my first beer Saturday so I may know more then. Most of my friends and my wife are not into craft beers yet so I’ll probably be drinking my brew alone. As long as I don’t make a skunky beer it should be good.

Ed I would be VERY careful with some of those water stations. RO water is junk if the membranes/system is not maintained. If the system is not maintained then you are essentially buying tap water.

I figured as much. If I switch to distilled for now, would it be best to cut it with tap without adding any additives?

I guess I could get a water report for my tap water from Ward but I may be selling my house towards the end of the year. And I really don’t want to get all technical and have to add additives to get my water to brew quality.

Ed, personally I find it easier to start with a blank slate and add salts. I use brewing water and find it very very easy to use.


If I had to buy water to brew I’d buy distilled and use brunwater to build it up for the specific style you’re brewing. Using any amount of your tap water without a water report is just guessing.

[quote=“Loopie Beer”]Ed, personally I find it easier to start with a blank slate and add salts. I use brewing water and find it very very easy to use.


I learned how to get balls of raw opium from my neighbors poppies. :smiley:

I tried downloading brunwater but could not open the file. Is there another calculator that I could use?
I’m not opposed to using distilled water.

Brunwater will not work on my crappy computer. Any other similar programs?

You could try ez water which I have used in the past. Simpler program and may work with your computer.

EZ water works but I don’t have any water analysis to enter.
If I am using distilled water, isn’t it zero across the board?
If it is, would i enter zero in all fields of ez water?

If i am using distilled water, wouldn’t I need a PH meter to adjust what I would need to add?
Finally, if distilled water is zero, could I use a base of 1/4t of calcium chloride per gallon of water? Would I also have to add gypsum?

Sorry for all the questions.

You would enter zero across the board for distilled. Enter your malt bill then make adjustments based on step 5 “view resulting water profile”. Add salts based on the style you wish to brew, not simply adding gypsum or whatever…that program will generally guide you to Palmer’s recommended ranges for the major water chemicals. I have moved on from that program but I made some nice beers with it :cheers:

Oh and there are some ez water tutorials on you tube that I found helpful when I was starting out. They are a little slow moving but give you a good idea of how to get started.

Never have used a ph meter as everyone seems to indicate a fair amount of hassle keeping them working. I use ph strips to test mash ph and works fine for my purposes.