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Brewing Topics => Brewing Discussion => Topic started by: dgingras on April 17, 2019, 07:50:47 PM

Title: Newbie Question on Chicago Water
Post by: dgingras on April 17, 2019, 07:50:47 PM
I'm just getting retooled to a 10 Gal all grain rig and would like to know what, if anything I need to do to this water on tap?
I have a PUR home filter, but running 15 gal through that, I might as well watch paint dry!
does anyone have a quick add on to get me locked in?
Thanks,
Doug
Title: Re: Newbie Question on Chicago Water
Post by: dtapke on April 18, 2019, 07:32:46 AM
Firstly, you can do whatever you want to your water.

Second, nobody can tell you what your water is except an independent lab. I use Wardlabs to test my water. YMMV

Third, That PUR filter is essentially useless.

Fourth, You can solve all the questions and problems by using RO water, or even MO BETTER... you can use RO/DI, which essentially produces water with an equivalent purity to distillation. At which point you can add whatever brewing "salts" you wish to achieve the target water you desire.
Title: Re: Newbie Question on Chicago Water
Post by: BOB357 on April 18, 2019, 01:46:10 PM
Great advice from dtapke. I would add that if you want to try brewing with your tap water, treat it with Campden tablets. Crushing 1 tablet, crushed and mixed  in 20 gallons of water, will neutralize any Chlorine/Chloramines almost instantly
Title: Re: Newbie Question on Chicago Water
Post by: dtapke on April 18, 2019, 03:17:06 PM
I should note, If you plan on going the RO or RO/DI route, you'll want a storage vessel with a float valve installed.

I've got around $500 wrapped up in a RO/DI system and a 50G HDPE storage tank. My RO produces "75GPD" of clean, pure water. Which in actuality is closer to 40 GPD. I could install a pump to up the efficiency of the system but haven't felt the need for it.

The major downside of an RO system is it produces about 3 gallons of "waste" to every gallon of "pure" water. I have an additional storage tank that i keep this water in so i can water my plants etc.

And, as Bob said there, Definitely treat with Campden tablets if you're not going to fully treat your water. Chlorine/Chloramines can ruin a beer faster than ABinBev.

Then there's always the "going to the store to get filtered water" option. Personally I'd invest the $20 on a TDS(Total Dissolved Solids) meter if you're going to do this to make sure that you're actually getting pure water.

I brew with water starting at 0ppm but I would say if you're getting water in the single digits to around perhaps 20ppm than you're probably good. As a reference my tap water in Wisconsin comes out of the faucet around 400ppm of TDS. The maximum "safe drinking water" level is 500, although its not really regulated, as "TDS" is a kind of arbitrary number based off the electrical conductivity of the water.

I've got family in Chicago, and I've advocated that they all have their water tested by an independent lab as I'm aware there is a city wide issue of lead supply lines. (just do a quick google search and you'll find info on that)
Title: Re: Newbie Question on Chicago Water
Post by: dgingras on April 19, 2019, 08:58:46 AM
Thanks!
I have DI availability at work, and can have a tank of virgin resin sent in. I'll look into having some pulled and tested.

In the meantime, I'm off to my Grains shop for more "toys" :)
Title: Re: Newbie Question on Chicago Water
Post by: dtapke on April 19, 2019, 10:59:05 AM
Keep in mind deionizing unfiltered water will destroy the resin in like, a couple gallons. and likely won't get all contaminants out.
Title: Re: Newbie Question on Chicago Water
Post by: BILLY BREW on May 28, 2019, 03:14:09 PM
Been brewing with Chicago water right out of the tap for close to 30 years. I never get any off flavors or odors from the water. I have brewed just about every type of beer and mead with it. The water profile tab has Chicago water as one of the selections. Be aware, however, that Chicago water changes drastically from winter to summer due to a number of reasons such as zebra mussels, chlorination in the summer, red tide, etc. Same as when you drink it out of the fawcet.
One thing that I do to mitigate the chemicals is to pour out the water I am going to use for the batch and let it sit for 24 hours. It allows to the chlorine to evaporate and some of the minerals will settle. But even without that step, we are really lucky to have such great brewing water right out of the tap!