Bottled water

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Darren Jeory

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In an attempt to improve my beer my next one will have bottled water but I have noted greatly differing levels of chloride in them...what is an acceptable level and what is the difference between chloride in bottled water and what's in the tap.

One that is "bottled at source" has 15mg per litre but asdas cheapest has 11mg. I'm just wondering how low this figure should be to make it worthwhile?

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Stevieboy

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Darren - are you confusing Chloride and Chlorine?

Chloride is a naturally occurring mineral - anything between 0-100mg, and is an electrolyte, Chlorine is the chemical put in our tap water for sterilisation.

Bottled water is sterilised using Boiling and Ultra Violet to kill any bugs.

If you're brewing kits, then use bottled water - no chlorine - but if you're making all grain with a boil, tap water is fine as the chlorine gets boiled off.
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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Apologies if you already know this but bottled water on its own is unlikely to contain enough minerals to give your beer any character or to ensure healthy yeast growth :-)
 

Tavi-brewer

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Hi Darren
I always use tap water and sometimes let it sit covered overnight to off gas/settle then give it a shake before use to help it along.
To be honest my palate couldn't discern from bottle or tap water anyway ;(
That said, that's for wine/mead, my understanding is that beer is a far more sensitive process requiring a little more TLC.
Good luck.
 

Ronin56

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Apologies if you already know this but bottled water on its own is unlikely to contain enough minerals to give your beer any character or to ensure healthy yeast growth :-)
I don't have enough knowledge to challenge your assertion on a technical basis but I always use bottled water since I noticed that you can actually smell the chlorine in our tap water. Since I started using bottled water I have noticed a more vigorous fermentation in my brews and no problems with taste or character.
 

dcbrookes

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Chlorine will boil off or just disperse naturally if the water is left for a few hours. Chloramine will not boil off and needs to be treated with Campden tablets. I am not sure if any UK water utilities actually use chloramine as opposed to free chlorine - my present water is Severn Trent and one of their engineers told me that they don't use chloramine; neither do Welsh Water which supplied our previous house. I am, however, a bit suspicious of Severn Trent as they cannot/will not supply a complete analysis (unlike Welsh Water) so I decided to go down the RO route.
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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I don't have enough knowledge to challenge your assertion on a technical basis but I always use bottled water since I noticed that you can actually smell the chlorine in our tap water. Since I started using bottled water I have noticed a more vigorous fermentation in my brews and no problems with taste or character.
athumb.. well if it ain't broke ...
Incidentally Camden tabs are a very good way to get rid of chlorine - half a tablet to 30L
 

MmmBeer

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Cheers for that...I'm trying desperately to get rid of a twang that every brew seems to have. It lessens over time but is ever present
Out of interest are you making beer from kits or grain?

If kits, then the infamous twang is unlikely to be caused by the water used.

If you are brewing all grain, then using 30l of Ashbeck may be a way to test a theory, but I would also look at the other aspects of your process, all ingredients in date and well stored, equipment properly cleaned and sanitised, all other additions (water chemicals etc.) used correctly and in the right quantities. I have had two repeating off flavours, the first caused by using too much campden tablet, one per batch and the second from using lactic acid rather than AMS.
 

dad_of_jon

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I don't have enough knowledge to challenge your assertion on a technical basis but I always use bottled water since I noticed that you can actually smell the chlorine in our tap water. Since I started using bottled water I have noticed a more vigorous fermentation in my brews and no problems with taste or character.
chase spring works for me every time, I'm happy with the beers it makes. Thats not to say I couldn't improve my beer with some mineral additions.
 

dad_of_jon

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Chlorine will boil off or just disperse naturally if the water is left for a few hours. Chloramine will not boil off and needs to be treated with Campden tablets. I am not sure if any UK water utilities actually use chloramine as opposed to free chlorine - my present water is Severn Trent and one of their engineers told me that they don't use chloramine; neither do Welsh Water which supplied our previous house. I am, however, a bit suspicious of Severn Trent as they cannot/will not supply a complete analysis (unlike Welsh Water) so I decided to go down the RO route.
re: welsh water I noticed a film in tea without milk a few years ago, that never used to be there so I'm of the opinion they changed from chlorine to chlorimine a then :-(

as a control I boiled a cuppa with chase spring and no film.

chloromine is safer in the respect you can leave water out and it wont dissipate therefore less risky to drink waster that's been standing out for a while. The only benefit I can think of re this would be leaving a glass of water out for the oldies by the bed for when they wake up in the morning.
 

bobukbrewer

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Anglian Water use chloramine, so I use half a campden tablet in 32 litres - treating the water the night before brewing. StevieBoy said but if you're making all grain with a boil, tap water is fine as the chlorine gets boiled off. Does he mean boil the water at the start, because if not, maybe the mash will be adversely affected.
 

mickc

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I've previously used only tap water (Belfast), but have 30 litres of Ashbeck for my next AG brew, which will be an English bitter. Should I be adding anything to the water?
 

Hazelwood Brewery

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When people use bottled water it’s very often to get around the problem of high alkalinity and maybe to reduce other salts in their water if they want a particular water profile.

My own tap water has an alkalinity of 300 which is not particularly good for any beers but is rubbish for pilsners. I use a reverse osmosis machine to produce virtually pure water and use this to “dilute” my tap water. Pilsners might want to be around 20 parts per million, pale ales 50, ambers and browns 100, and dark ales 150. This is because the darker malts are more acidic so need a higher alkalinity for the mash to end up at the right pH.

Chloride and Sulphate don’t matter too much unless these are over say 200 parts per million but higher sulphate favours a dry bitter ale and higher chloride favours a sweet malty ale.

Calcium is needed for the enzymes that are involved in the mash and should be between 50 and 150 parts per million with 80-100ppm being right for most beers. Getting this wrong will give poor efficiency and again affects pH.

All the minerals needed by the yeast can be provided by the malt actually so there’s not often a case for needing more.

You can find out a lot more about water treatments in @strange-steve ‘s excellent articles in the “Grain, Hops, Yeast and Water” thread. Link below…

 

mickc

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Hazelwood Brewery, thanks very much indeed for that, I'll certainly study that thread. As in all things, the more one gets into it, the more one realises how little one knows!
 

Hazelwood Brewery

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Hazelwood Brewery, thanks very much indeed for that, I'll certainly study that thread. As in all things, the more one gets into it, the more one realises how little one knows!
I know, we’ll all be learning for years to come (hopefully 😉 ).

@MmmBeer also made a good point, if you’re brewing from an extract kit all the mash chemistry is behind you.
 

foxbat

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I've previously used only tap water (Belfast), but have 30 litres of Ashbeck for my next AG brew, which will be an English bitter. Should I be adding anything to the water?
Ashbeck is all I use for any beer. It doesn't actually need anything added to have a successful fermentation, yeast health or flocculation performance since everything required is available from the malts but for a bitter you may want to consider adding minerals to match your taste (which I understand you might not know yet).

For example, in my last bitter I added salts to change the mineral profile to Ca:80, Mg:13, Na:10, SO4:128, Cl:78. The emphasis being to get SO4 to around 100 with Cl a bit less and the others just fall where they do.
 
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