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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2006 * Archive through April 19, 2006 * Rain water for a pilsner.. < Previous Next >

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RJ Testerman
Junior Member
Username: Rjt

Post Number: 90
Registered: 07-2003
Posted From: 208.31.88.52
Posted on Sunday, April 09, 2006 - 08:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My spring water is hard. I want to brew a pilsner and have collected rain water. Besides letting it set for a couple of weeks and filtering it, should I give it any other treatment?
 

Bill Moore
Intermediate Member
Username: Bill_beerman

Post Number: 461
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 65.80.77.185
Posted on Sunday, April 09, 2006 - 08:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'd check the pH. Depending on where you live, rain water can be acidic.
 

Tony Legge
Member
Username: Boo_boo

Post Number: 158
Registered: 05-2005
Posted From: 142.163.77.82
Posted on Sunday, April 09, 2006 - 09:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Water to make a pilsner needs more than just a good PH value. The water needs to be soft. If you want to brew a great pilsner and you don't know the profile of your brew water than you should use RO water with the right treatment of salts.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5080
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.239.69
Posted on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 01:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I agree with Bill M. If the pH is not too low, I think carbon filtered rain water should be all right for a pilsner.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 4095
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 71.210.56.219
Posted on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 02:21 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hopefully you aren't collecting it via old galvanized steel rain gutters...
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 2709
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 65.29.220.144
Posted on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 02:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Rain water should be very soft. A regular award winning brewer in our club uses cistern water that he chlorinates, dechlorinates and adjusts for the style's profile.

A word of warning. Birds roost on things that may be above the roof like TV antennas (remember them?). They can affect the quality of the water, usually in undesireable ways.

Dan

--This space is again being left intentionally blank.-


 

Denny Conn
Senior Member
Username: Denny

Post Number: 5580
Registered: 01-2001
Posted From: 140.211.82.4
Posted on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 04:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Why does the myth persist that water for a pilsner needs to be soft? There is more than one type of pilsner, people! Bopils does indeed use soft water, it not N. German pils! That's why I prefer to drink and brew the German variety to the Bohemian.
LIfe begins at 60...1.060, that is.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5090
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.239.69
Posted on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 05:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Good point, Denny. Only the Bohemian version of the style is brewed with rain-soft water. As you mention, the water for some of the German pilsners can be on the hard side. And the historical CAPs were brewed with a variety of water ranging from soft to very hard.
 

Hophead
Senior Member
Username: Hophead

Post Number: 2171
Registered: 03-2002
Posted From: 167.4.1.38
Posted on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 05:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You tell 'em DC.

I would not use rain water (in phx) for brewing...it stings the nostrils... Plus, I'd only be able to brew about 4 times a year.
 

RJ Testerman
Junior Member
Username: Rjt

Post Number: 91
Registered: 07-2003
Posted From: 208.31.88.52
Posted on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 06:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What is an acceptable ph range for Pilsner Urquel, any chemicals to the rain water?

We just bought a house in Smith River CA. One bar in the town a little dive, besides the 4 Buds they had on tap they also had PU on tap, now I've got the hots to brew a similarity...
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 5093
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.239.69
Posted on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 07:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, it's the mash pH that is the important value so that the enzymes can convert the starches. The generally accepted range is 5.2-5.6. As a pale beer, there are not a lot of malt acids in a pilsner mash, therefore soft (low in dissolved minerals and pH) water is desired so that the mash pH is not too high, as tends to be the case with hard (actually alkaline) water.

The problem is that rainwater these days tends to be rather acidic ("acid rain") due to airborne pollutants (sulfuric acid from burning of coal), which might make the mash pH too low if you used only rainwater.

It's difficult to say what the minimum pH would be for rainwater used in brewing, but if I could hazard a guess I would say 6.5-6.6 would be the bottom threshold. At any rate, be sure to measure the mash pH (with a meter or high quality pH strips) and adjust it (upward with calcium carbonate) if necessary.
 

RJ Testerman
Junior Member
Username: Rjt

Post Number: 92
Registered: 07-2003
Posted From: 208.31.88.52
Posted on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 10:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks you guys esp Bill P.

Chumley, No ole galvanized rain gutters for my beer, only the best, straight out of my back hoe bucket. (I was real careful when I drove it over to dump it in the mash tun).