View Full Version : A water quality question

09-07-2012, 01:44 PM
We are on a really good deep well with sweet water. Occasioanlly, if we've been irragating hard or the storage tanks have been agitated we get some iron tang to the taste. There's always iron present, but normally it's undetectable flavor wise and is actual a great health benefit. No one in our area who drinks tap water has anemia! :D The local home brew place said it was no issue, so long as I was careful about using the water when it wasn't stirred up. BUT! the folks up the road that brew say they never use tap because of the iron and buy bottled water. I'd personally prefer not to use plastic water from an unknown source if I don't have to. I can't stand city water, it's like drinking a chemical cocktail.

Iron good? Iron Bad?:confused:

09-07-2012, 02:43 PM
You've highlighted a couple of issues.......

The usual problem is water hardness, specifically calcium hardness. Because the presence of calcium and magnesium salts tends to give a slight harshness to the taste.

Yet, as you point out, most bottled water doesn't really give much info (even the poncey premium brands). So unless a label gives a source location and chemical break down, you're none the wiser.....

There does seem to be a reasonable amount of data, to suggest that "soft" water is better. I don't know whether water with high(er) iron would be soft or hard, so I'm gonna sit on the fence and suggest that you make 2 identical batches, one with your well water and the other with RO/reverse osmosis water (from aquatic store, with no minerals). Then keep everything else the same as a comparison.

That should allow you to check the differences. It only needs to be 1 gallon batches, and also gives you the opportunity to make a benchmark batch, with the RO. Most aquatic stores should provide the RO with less than about 200 ppm. The well water might be good, but a lab test would probably show a lot higher......

Chevette Girl
09-07-2012, 03:11 PM
If the water's good to drink, it's usually OK to make wine and mead from. I haven't noticed harshness like Fatbloke has, but I also haven't done side by side batches yet.

If you've got the funds and the carboy space, a small batch each using identical honey and everything else the same except city water, well water and softened water (Brita filter maybe) might be a very enlightening experience. It's on my to-brew list... after one evening trying to Brita filter enough water to make up a wine kit, I just use city water, letting it sit overnight will dissipate free chlorine and one of my beermaking friends says that one campden tablet in 5 gallons will dissipate the chloramines if that's what your city treatment plant uses.

09-07-2012, 04:05 PM
As always, the best answer is "Brew more and find out!"