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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2007 * Archive through June 06, 2007 * Distilled water brewing. < Previous Next >

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robert rulmyr
Advanced Member
Username: Wacobob

Post Number: 919
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 24.155.7.178
Posted on Friday, May 04, 2007 - 10:54 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Friend with a new 'Brew Magic' system...plans on brewing this weekend with distilled water. Is yeast nutrient the only addition needed? TIA.

Oh, and what about mashing? Any problems?
 

Bill Moore
Advanced Member
Username: Bill_beerman

Post Number: 506
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 65.80.32.118
Posted on Friday, May 04, 2007 - 12:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It always been my understanding that for effective mashing, the water needs to contain certain minerals that would be lacking from distilled water.
I've seen articles that specifically say to not use distilled water for this reason.
Or at the very least, if you use distilled water, you add the minerals.
from Palmer http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-2.html
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 7029
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.224.220
Posted on Friday, May 04, 2007 - 12:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Distilled (or RO-filtered) water is deficient in essential minerals necessary for good conversion of the malt starches to sugars and for healthy yeast reproduction.
 

Brad Petit
Member
Username: Voodoobrew

Post Number: 227
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 24.233.57.47
Posted on Monday, May 07, 2007 - 11:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A friend of mine says he's recently been brewing with water from one of those grocery store parking lot stations. As I understand, this water is basically RO. He's brewed all kinds of styles this way (including a very good Imperial Stout) and has reported no loss of efficiency or impact upon flavor.

I have also heard of a brewer at one of the BJs brewpubs who would mash in with RO water.

The success of this method seems unlikely to me, but based upon the above annecdotes, I am looking forward to giving it a go myself.
 

Doug Pescatore
Senior Member
Username: Doug_p

Post Number: 2128
Registered: 10-2002
Posted From: 66.176.154.94
Posted on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 01:22 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have used 100% RO water on my last few pilsners with only the addition if Yeast Nutrients during the boil. The beer has turned out great with no loss of efficiency. I am not sure why minerals in water would be needed to convert the starches when the enzymes are already there in the grain and do not need to be created by any natural process. But what do I know maybe I just made really bad beer but think it is good.

-Doug
 

Tom Meier
Advanced Member
Username: Brewdawg96

Post Number: 570
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.157.38.146
Posted on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 02:03 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There is a brewer in my club that uses 100% RO water.

I can't say how much his efficiency suffers, but you can definitely brew beer with 100% RO. It has 5% of the minerals the tap water starts out with. 100% distilled sounds extreme but I'm sure it works.

The main detriment would be enzyme life is shorter due to low calcium.. no problem, this is just a matter of having enough enzymes to start with.

The second thing you would notice is poor hot and cold break.. This would make for more of a haze tendency. could probably just toss in some moss/whirlfloc to remedy this.


3rd is yeast trace minerals. many of these are provided by the grains. they are also present in the vial that gets pitched.
 

Ron Siddall
Intermediate Member
Username: El_cid

Post Number: 308
Registered: 12-2005
Posted From: 198.135.241.18
Posted on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 02:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I mix my water by changing the ratio of distilled water to my tap water. Since my tap water is very hard, I use 9 gallons of distilled to 1 gallon of tap for my pils and vary from there for the other beers. Seems to be working out okay so far.

I made an outmeal stout that was 6/4 (or was it 4/6?) and it was one of the best beers I ever made.
This space open to interpretation
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1386
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 69.219.227.45
Posted on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 03:34 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My tap water is moderately hard. For dark beers, I use it straight up, after GAC filtering & Campden tablet treament (the "suspenders and a belt" philosophy).

For pale beers, I mix the tap water 1:2 wtih RO water from the local market dispenser (at 35 cents per gallon). Then I'll add some calcium chloride or calcium sulfate to the mash, depending on the beers.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 4779
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 05:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Unless I was doing a multiple step decoction mash, I'd add at least a pinch or two of calcium chloride to 100% distilled water.

I don't think distilled water and RO water are the same...distilled water has virtually all the ions removed through the distillation process, while reverse osmosis water, as Tom points out, retains 5-10% the minerals of the water from whence it came through membrane filtration.
 

KeepBrewing
Intermediate Member
Username: Kb7

Post Number: 265
Registered: 05-2002
Posted From: 24.184.80.79
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 01:46 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Distilled water should be used to cut or bring your water profile down to the style. To brew with only distilled water is a mistake. You need calcium, magnesium, chloride, So4 and Na for the yeast to bud and ferment correctly. It is important like oxygenating your wort before pitching the yeast.