Hello. I was curious. Do you think its better to start with distilled water and build up from there? Or just start with your local tap water. Also I have seen companies sell water adjustment packets for each style of beer. You just start with distilled water and add these packets based on the type of beer you are brewing. I wonder if that is a good route as well. Thanks.
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 Posts: 10600 Location: Ottawa, Canada
Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, German Pils, Belgian Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter
Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA
Link Posted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:26 pm Post subject:
Hi and welcome to the forum!
It would depend on the water and the targets you want to achieve. If your tap water is good to drink and the numbers are below the targets you want to achieve, I'd use tap water. In fact, that's what I've always done.
RO/Distilled water is much more expensive than tap water and definitely not as convenient. You're either lugging big jugs of it home, or creating it very slowly using an RO system. I would only use an RO system (or buy the water pre-made) if I was forced to because my tap water had too minerals in it.
The packs you can add are also orders of magnitude more expensive than buying the minerals yourself since they're very standard/simple minerals. If you buy the minerals yourself, for $10 you'll get enough to brew for a long time to come, many batches. With that packs that gets you a couple of 5 gallon batches (maybe). For example, the $2 pound of epsom salt that I bought at a Pharmacy back in 2008 is still mostly full. I don't think I'll use it up in my lifetime. It's just standard unscented/no-dye stuff that people add to their bath a pound at a time, so it's dirt cheap. Not to mention that if you add pre-made packs to RO water, you are limited to the profile the pack maker thinks is correct or want you to have, plus they never tell you what their targets are (usually) so you don't really understand what you're doing. Want to play around bit with your Cl:SO4 ratio and amounts in a few different batches of IPAs? You can't if you're using using someone else's packs. They also don't sell for every style from what I've seen, just a few. But that said, I also don't know if the packs are different to begin with or if they use same profile for (say) a Pale Ale as an IPA. They don't say.
I recommend taking control and doing it all yourself. It's really simple to do.
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