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sammytheattackbasset

Has anyone used springs water to brew their beer with?

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My wife bought me the mr. beer kit for an early christmas present. My first batch is in the bottles and I've been reading on this forum that 4 weeks at room temp is recommended. I used distilled water like the video said.

 

I'm exited to see how things turn out with this batch but I was wondering if anyone had used natural spring water to brew with. I don't think it will add any amazing taste I just thought it would be cool to use some of the natural spring water here in Hot Springs to make my beer. I would think it would need to be boiled first to kill any of the bugs living in this water. I mean this water does come out of the ground very hot but still there are many organisms that can survive high temps, and I don't want to find out how they ferment.

 

I just wanted to know if any of you had tried it? If you have did you just cover you water with a lid after boiling it to prevent any contaminates from falling back into the water as it cooled?

 

Thanks for any input.

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Yes, check the mineral content first. Often hot springs water has high minerals, even sulphur and other undesirables. Compare it with desired mineral content for beer making.

My first reaction would be - no, don't do it. Use bottled spring water.

http://www.brewersfriend.com/water-chemistry/

and select the Default Brewing Levels.

You can also compare with your tap water - usually you can get mineral analysis from local water utility. If tap water is a bit chlorinated, you can pour into container and let sit for a couple days and the smell will go off.

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Hey, half the fun of this hobby is playing around.  I would however brew the first batch straight up and then if the spring water tastes good by itself then try one with the spring water.  With extracts you get all of the vitamins and minerals you need so it is not as critical as all grain brewing although it can make a difference in things like bringing out the hops in an IPA.  Might be neat to have a beer made with your local spring water.

 

If you do this, I wouldnt bother boiling then cooling, but rather simply boiling it for awhile prior to dumping the flame and adding the HMEs unless you wanted to see what it tasted like boiled and cooled prior to making a batch.

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Hello fellow Arkansan!

How about buying some local Mountain Valley Spring Water in a bottle. I think that might make a good compromise. 

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Thanks for the input. I was going to use the hot fountains down town. I wasn't aware that there were cold springs. I need to find out the pH of the spring water and also find out what the pH should be for Mr Beer. I don't think the mineral content is too high. I know I don't taste any sulfur when drinking the water. I'll find out before I brew with it. I just wanted to try using the water that my home town is famous for. I didn't even think of using Mountain valley bottled water. It's supposedly from the same water source.

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I always use spring water. Straight from the grocery store shelf though, not straight from the spring. I think it sounds like a great idea, I'm kinda jealous. As a matter of fact Bass Ale got much of its classic flavor profile from the local water. That was old Bass Ale, which was actually brewed in England rather than New York. I wouldn't worry about pH, I don't think it's that big of a deal in extract brewing.

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I know that some bottled waters do have different or a little off flavors/after taste depending on the person.  I always used bottled spring water.. So find one that you like to drink and tastes good to you and use that.

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FROM MY VERY LIMITED KNOWLEDGE I HAVE LEARNED THAT ALL WATER EXCEPT DISTILLED WATER IS OK. 

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You can use distilled water if you want. The flavor and maybe the color would be different from that of a beer made with water that contained minerals, but it will work. You could even use distilled water as a starting point, and add minerals to achieve a specific flavor to match a particular beer style. That's a higher level of detail than I care about, but some people might like to tinker with their water chemistry. 

https://homebrewdude.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/can-you-brew-with-distilled-water/

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Thanks for the input. I was going to use the hot fountains down town. I wasn't aware that there were cold springs. I need to find out the pH of the spring water and also find out what the pH should be for Mr Beer. I don't think the mineral content is too high. I know I don't taste any sulfur when drinking the water. I'll find out before I brew with it. I just wanted to try using the water that my home town is famous for. I didn't even think of using Mountain valley bottled water. It's supposedly from the same water source.

pH is generally more important during the mashing process in all grain than in doing extract.  My understanding is that salts are more important for extracts.  For example, a higher salted wort will allow the hops to pop in IPA styles.

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Water chemistry does not really effect the use of HME's.  The work has been done.  You are reconstituting the wort.  When you are using grains the game starts changing.  The water   chemistry effects the extraction of the sugars.  I am an all grain brewer.  I use several different water types when brewing to match the style of beer I am brewing.  When I brew IPA's I like to use water straight from the well.  The mineral content makes the hops really pop.  For a Cechz style pilsner I use ro/distilled water with minerals added to match the style.

 

more info

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Distilled water can be used, but it usually lacks the minerals needed for a good mash conversion (if you are an all-grain brewer) and the minerals are also beneficial for good yeast health. And as noted above, if you're into hops, a bit of minerals (especially gypsum) will really make them stand out. But then again as noted above, distilled water is necessary when you want to match a certain water profile of an area. Some brewing software, such as Beersmith, will have the water profiles of several major brewing cities. If you like the profile of a certain water (for example, I really love the Artesian well water from Olympia, WA, as does my yeast), you can usually call the water company of that area and request a water profile. Then you can add the minerals in the correct reatios to match that profile. Some people really get into "cloning water" for their beers. It's an advanced technique, but you can make some pretty amazing beer if done properly. After all, one of the most important components of a good beer is the water.  

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Thanks for all the responses. I guess my main concern was how “sterile” do you guys try to get your water. From what I've read using the water from the free fountains will be perfectly fine. I was wondering what you guys thought about me using water straight from a public well. Should I heat it up to 175-180 or just boil it? I don't want anything spoiling the beer during fermentation.

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Just bring your water to a boil for a couple of minutes.  Then add your HME= Hopped  Malt Extract,  LME=  Liquid Malt  Extract & DME  =  Dried Malt  Extract.  There is no need to boil your extracts if you are not doing a hop boil.  You run the risk of darkening your wort.

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I use bottled mineral water from a spring in florida. some springs are not particularly clean. you have tons of factors like run off from farms, roadways, human waste spray fields... that can find its way into the water table.   I would write the spring and ask for a copy of their most recent water analysis..  the reason I stick with this one spring? they sent me EVERYTHING from their last labs done by independent testing firms. they tested for basically everything from radon to pesticides to minerals to ph to you name it. the report came back surprisingly clean.

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Did you check if you have a local brewery and go visit them?

This one sounds like an entertaining place to visit. Could not find a website that worked.

Superior Bathhouse Brewery & Distillery

329 Central Ave,

Hot Springs National Park, AR 71901

(501) 624-2337

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I love the Superior Bathhouse Brewery & Distillery. They did have a working website but just barely. I'm not sure if their beer is ready yet it's been a couple weeks since I’ve been in there. They did have some great craft beers to choose from. I was planning on going there this weekend with my wife but she had to travel for work so I lost my DD. I'll talk to them at some point about using water straight from the springs. I believe the chemistry of the water is suitable for extract brewing and from what I've read about the water quality coming out of the springs there aren't many bacteria living in it. I just don't want a colony of outside bacteria growing in my fermenter. I think for the next batch I brew I'm going to use bottled Mountain Valley Spring Water.http://www.drinkmsw.com/mountain-valley-spring-water.html

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One thing can tell you for certain is that distilled water, straight from the jug, is HARMFUL to humans! The reason is, basically , it is devoid of EVERYTHING except hydrogen n oxygen. Maybe not the best medium for yeast propagation. But try it...who knows!

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I'm pretty sure water that was distilled to drink is safe to drink and in no way harmful.  I may be wrong on that but I think the only problem would be if someone depended on their water for minerals. Since I'm not living on distilled water alone and I also eat food I think I get plenty of minerals in my diet. I just wanted to see what a basic beer made with pure water tastes like.

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One thing can tell you for certain is that distilled water, straight from the jug, is HARMFUL to humans!

I'm pretty sure that's untrue. First of all, let me review for the record what distilled water is — it’s water that has been turned into steam so its impurities are left behind. The steam is then condensed to make pure water. The process of distillation kills and removes virtually all bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, and other organic and inorganic contaminants. Once distilled, the water is as pure as water can reasonably be.

Purporters of this myth believe that all the beneficial minerals have been removed from the water, and thus a person's diet. While we do need water and certain essential minerals in order to stay alive and healthy, those vital minerals do not come solely from water. Most of the essential vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need come from eating vegetables, fruits, dairy, fish, and meats. Less than five percent of the vitamins we need to consume for our bodies to remain healthy are actually are found in drinking water.

While it’s true that distillation removes minerals as well as various contaminants from water, we don't know that the human body can readily absorb minerals from water. We get our minerals from food, not water. Distilled water not only isn't dangerous, it’s the purest form of water.

 

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Tap water is what makes your beer interesting to begin with.  Pour some in a glass and drink it, if it's fairly plain without some sharp funky flavor to it then you'll be probably better off using it then spring water.

 

Also if you're using distilled water you should probably put your kit away and not make beer anymore.

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the problem with tap water is the chemicals use to disinfectant the water.  This generally does not bring up any problems when using the recipes straight up.  However when you start steeping grains or PM  issues may arise resulting in off flavors

 

Distilled and/or RO has a place in brewing.  It is to match a specif water profile.

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I use bottle spring water from Winn Dixie.  It actually costs less than distilled at $0.89/gallon.  But I tried other, more expensive spring water, and it all tasted the same.

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I used Rouse's brand on my last batch, and will be on my next one. It's 89 cents too. 

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I wasn't aware of the stigma distilled has. I have Oktoberfest lager bottled and Czech Pilsner fermenting. The lager was ALL distilled. The Czech was all distilled except for the four cups boiled to add the HME and LME. I'm scared now that I may have wasted lots of time and especially good beer potential.

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I think you will be ok with HME's you still get the minerals and such from the HME. distilled water is not used for LME DME and grains because you need the minerals and such for balance of your beer.

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I wasn't aware of the stigma distilled has. I have Oktoberfest lager bottled and Czech Pilsner fermenting. The lager was ALL distilled. The Czech was all distilled except for the four cups boiled to add the HME and LME. I'm scared now that I may have wasted lots of time and especially good beer potential.

I drank one of my beers last week and it had a little green flavor. I just tried some more tonight and it tasted fine. It was the american style light beer that came with the kit. Even though I'm not a big fan of light beers it didn't taste bad at all, my wife even liked it and she doesn't like beer usually. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Could it have tasted better? I don't know it was the first batch I've brewed. I'm going to use water bottled from the same source as the public fountains here in Hot Springs for my next batch.

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For Mr Beer batches, I have never worried about using tap water.  You can google to find your water analysis in a typical larger metro area.  Here is mine:  

 

Calcium: 71.6 ppm

Sulfate: 25.3 ppm

Magnesium: 23.2ppm

Chloride: 20.70 ppm

Sodium: 9.28 ppm

Bicarbonate: 229 ppm

ph: 7.00

 

These indicate the amount of ions in my water that are important to brewing.  Long story short, this means if I'm brewing a batch of AG beer, it better be a stout, because that will ensure the PH of my mash will be in the correct range to allow for proper extraction of enzymes.  If I want to brew a light beer, I have to use either reverse osmosis or distilled water to mash my grains or I will have issues.  I also have to dial in my water profile with brewing salts and compounds to make sure I have the proper ions available for the mash.  The good news about Mr. Beer's HME is they have already figured out the chemistry for you.  You don't have to worry about it as long as your tap water isn't full of chlorine, or tastes bad, you can brew a Mr Beer batch with it.  

 

If you really want to dive into it, I recommend John Palmer's book "Water" in the brewing elements series.  It's very technical, but is pretty interesting for a science nerd like me :)

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I think you will be ok with HME's you still get the minerals and such from the HME. distilled water is not used for LME DME and grains because you need the minerals and such for balance of your beer.

This is correct. I still prefer to use spring water instead of distilled water for my HME batches (that's just a personal preference and not a scientific one), but you can use distilled water as the HME is full of enough nutrients for a healthy ferment and balanced flavor. 

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Use whatever water blows up your skirt.  When you are using HME's you are reconstituting the wort IE making Cambell's soup .  The Braumister has taken care of all the water worries for you.  When you start doing boils than do not use tap water.  The disefecnt chemicals will bind with components from both the grain & hops that will give some very nasty flavors/

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One thing can tell you for certain is that distilled water, straight from the jug, is HARMFUL to humans! The reason is, basically , it is devoid of EVERYTHING except hydrogen n oxygen. Maybe not the best medium for yeast propagation. But try it...who knows!

This is true, but not just because of the lack of vitamins and minerals in one's diet.  Since distilled water has NOTHING in it other than water, via osmosis it can actually leach those lacking vitamins and minerals into itself.  Even the water company mentioned that when installing the RO filtration system up north.  The only reason that was done is the property is agricultural (hops, grapes, apples, and cherries) so chemicals are getting sprayed which could leach into the ground water and when my nephews were young that was a concern.  Most brewers will only use distilled/RO water as a neutral base when building a specific water profile.  But, as stated, the HME has all the "stuffs" in it so when extract brewing it is not a huge concern.

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I used to use Spring water exclusively (bottled Supermarket kind).  Now I use tap water for the boil and Spring water for topping off in the fermenter and have never detected any differences.

 

**Most of my batches are either HMEs or Steeping grains w/LME and hop additions.  I can't speak to all-grain brewing.

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Hey you want to hear something funny? I compared the mineral profiles of the spring water I was using (Emerald Spring in GA) and New Orleans tap water and found out that my tap water was pretty decent all-around brewing water. Lesson learned! I used straight tap water in my Scotch ale (my first all-grain batch!), so we'll see how it turns out. N.O is high in bicarbonates, but Edinburgh is too....

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with tap you just have to watch out for chlorine and chloramine... which causes rubber band aid flavors.

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