Homebrewing Tips

Comparing Different Types of Water for Homebrewing

June 6, 2015

Most often when mixing ingredients for either cooking or drinking, water is a fundamental element in the process.

The type of water being used isn’t typically regarded as highly important; however, it can make a huge difference when embarking on the homebrewing process.

Just think for a moment about the last beer you’ve tasted. Was it in a bar, restaurant or store? Can you think of the different brands you’ve tasted? Have you considered what makes the tastes different?

Well, although various brands use different forms of yeast, hops, and malt, the water being used certainly makes a huge difference in how the beer turns out. So if you’re trying to make your own personal recipe at home, it is important to make a great choice in the water you decide to use.

In this article, four types of water will be discussed. They will all shine light on how the various types of water can affect the taste of beer you are brewing.

1. Purified Drinking Water

This is an excellent source of water because it derives from a natural spring and has essential mineral elements for a great tasting brew.

However, it is worth the time to check with the company that processes the water so that you know exactly where it’s coming from. If you choose to go with this type of water, it might be best to buy by the gallon to save money.

2. Rainwater

Though eco-friendly, rainwater might not be so friendly to the taste of your beer.

Rainwater is full of debris, pollutants, and contaminants. The reason the seemingly most pure form of water cannot be used is because of various forms of pollution in the air. Everything from toxins released by factories, lead, and particulates to carbon monoxide fumes from cars all can be found in rainwater.

Does that sound like something you’d like floating around in your beer? I didn’t really think so. Unless you intend to take the extra step of purifying the rainwater yourself, steer clear of it all together.

3. Tap Water

Although considered safe for human consumption, tap water does not quite mean that it’s great for your brew’s taste.

Depending on geography, there could be an infinite amount of additives in the water including disinfectants and chlorine, which do not make for a great taste in flavor.

This in no way means that you should steer clear of using tap water. It primarily means that you should do your research before use. It’s necessary to know what particular additives are being used if any and how palatable they are. You can find the most up to date analysis at your local water department.

4. Distilled Water

Distilled water is not recommended when brewing beer.

Usually, the process of distilled water has to do with boiling the water then condensing it back to its liquid form. This issue is that, once the water is boiled most of the important minerals necessary for fermentation are stripped away. If they are no longer present, the yeast cannot ferment the sugars into a great tasting alcohol.

So there you have it! Some of the do’s and don’t’s of water usage in homebrewing. If you want the best results, we without a doubt recommend spring purified water and tap water as the next best alternative (as long as you research the quality of your city’s tap water).

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