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unknown911
12-31-2012, 05:06 PM
I tried a search for the term on the site and did not find anything, so please don't flame me if this has been asked.

Has anyone tried using RO water? Pros? Cons? My friend works at a grow shop in town and offered it to me. Is it worth the time?

Thanks!

obscured by clouds
12-31-2012, 07:24 PM
I tried a search for the term on the site and did not find anything, so please don't flame me if this has been asked.

Has anyone tried using RO water? Pros? Cons? My friend works at a grow shop in town and offered it to me. Is it worth the time?

Thanks!

I'm clueless, but here is my thought.

The type of RO you would get at a grow shop, I don't think will be optimum for this. RO removes the bad, as well as the good. RO water would have pH of about 7 and 0 ppm. Great for plants since you will adding all the nutrients with the soil, or liquid nutrients as with hydropincs. Starting with 0ppm/7pH is great when you need to add nutrients to get to a specific ppm range and you can easily adjust the pH to what you need, with chemicals.

However from my understanding is with Mead, that is not needed. I have not came across ppm's are much of a concern, and the rage of pH is not the same as with growing needs and don't fluctuate as it would in a grow set up. Some systems need the pH to be adjusted quite frequently, unlike mead.

So it comes down to how valuable is the lack of minerals or other good things that could be filtered out through the RO process for making Mead. No idea.

So my vote would be, no, stick with bottle water or if you have good tap. My tap water is about 7pH with 370ppm but no idea on the quality so, I'll stick with bottled water since it's cheap and reliable. I would not be happy to find a chlorine taste down the road!

Hope I confused ya! ;)~

BBBF
12-31-2012, 08:28 PM
A healthy fermention requires the minerals that are removed I RO. Filtered is alright, but I would not mess with RO, as long as there is nothing wrong with your tap water.

fatbloke
01-01-2013, 06:12 AM
Absolute bollocks !

Yes, generally there are minerals in both "tap" (utility produced) and so called "spring" water (the term "bottled" could be either, as there are some legal complications with the term "spring" - it depends where you are).

Bottled water, generally, will have been sanitised using both UV and Ozone - pretty much most regions will have legally enforced testing requirements for a number of possible contaminants.

Now as far as RO water is concerned, there's no such thing as "type". The point of using a reverse osmosis filter is to reduce the dissolved particles (TDS*), which can range from natural "salts" (which would depend on the underlying geology of where the water was drawn from or type of land/rock that it's passed over or through to reach the area it's been drawn from) to added chems used for sanitisation/cleansing to make it suitable for human consumption.

You can usually get a "water report" from a utility provider, but also remember that utility water will probably contain traces of chlorine or chloramine, and possibly fluorides.....

Around here, the tap/utility water is between 400 and 750 ppm* TDS*, but it will vary as the break down of those numbers, would show the highest levels of calcium and magnesium salts - both of which contribute to "calcium hardness" in the water i.e. the "scale" found in domestic kettles is mostly chalk (the underlying geology of the area).

Hard water can create a certain level of "off flavours" (some just allude to this as tasting "home brewed" - yet there can be other reasons for that too), so the vast majority of beer breweries will, if they're not in a "soft" water area, treat their water to soften it. Some will just use stuff like salt, others will filter, even down as far as reverse osmosis.

If you are relying on the water minerals to have any real effect on your brews i.e. the yeast, it would have to have the nitrogen levels of raw sewage. That's not to say that some locations don't have some idea about apparently problems with water supplies i.e. areas of large scale agriculture can often show higher levels of NPK from surface run off and the nitrate count will increase over the natural.

If you want consistent results and a good level of control over how the yeast is likely to work correctly, RO water is fine as you would generally be providing all the nutritional needs of the yeast in the nutrients, energisers and other ingredients. Which is why you don't get a water report with complete break down to calculate out the tiny/imperceptible levels of minerals to factor in with the nutrients/energiser/etc etc.

Ideally, if you want the, apparently, best results, the water for brewing/mead making/etc should be as "soft" as is practical.

I use the RO water from the local aquarium supplier (less than 50 ppm* TDS*, usually about 20 ppm* TDS*). Yet I'm also working on a home RO plant, but as we're now on "metered" water, I'm thinking about rain water harvesting, so the RO plant would just be for removing any airbourne contaminants picked up.

It's also, apparently, good for watering orchids as it prevents the occasional "die off" that can happen if the orchid(s) are watered with tap water - the occasional die off, is, I understand, connected with the slow build up of chlorine type materials....

Oh, and for info, generally speaking, utility water is generally, much "cleaner" than bottled or spring water (you can confirm that with water reports from your utility provider and then from the spring/bottled water provider. And don't believe all the marketing bollocks that the spring/bottled water providers want you to - they're just in it to sell more bottled water). If you looked up the info from "Thames Water", you will find a number of apparently "official" reports that say about the water in London being extracted from the Thames (among other places), that has been treated, pumped, used, recycled/treated and returned to the environment up to 7 times. I have no idea how someone worked that out, or even whether it's true or not. All I know is that London tap water, like the rest of the South Eastern corner of the UK, has high calcium a.k.a. Chalk levels as that's the underlying geology of the area. Take a tap sample and it will prove cleaner than anything in a bottle from a supermarket, irrespective of idyllic marketing of French Volcanic rocks, or Scottish mountains etc. That really is bollocks!

And while I don't work directly in the world of water treatment, I've been working around it for 15 years on and off. Enough to learn what seems to be best for both my home brews and the aquarium fish (and "erindoors" orchids).....

ppm* = parts per million
TDS* = total dissolved solids

Within the EU, for bottled water to be called "Spring" water legally, it must be bottled at source. If it's tankered from the source to a bottling plant, it can only be called "Bottled" or "Fresh Bottled" - and it must have a useby date code. You think it's clean etc, but leave a whole, sealed bottle in sunlight for a couple of weeks and you'll see it start to grow green algae. It will happen with tap water too, but generally much slower, unless your utility water tests positive for higher levels of nitrates - blame the agri' industry for that.

Now of course, don't take my word for it. You should be able to collect all the relevant data for your area about water quality, whether it's bottled water or tap/utility water. I don't know about how often you might need to have your supply tested in the US if you use water from a well. I believe that there are legal standards for "water owners" in the UK (possibly the whole EU) to periodically test. Whether it's the utility for a given area, or the Environment Agency, I don't know. I do know that you can't just chuck a pipe into a river or stream and pump it out, you have to have a license to extract.

Take my info with "a pinch of salt", but I'd guess that if you look into it, you'll find my reasoning is correct, with just the details being different for your area.

skunkboy
01-01-2013, 11:16 AM
You can use RO water if you wanna do the legwork to figure out the "optimal" level for minerals that water used in wine should have, then figure out how to dose those minerals into the RO water... There are people who do this for beer if their local water has issues (like iron) or they are trying to replicate water from say Burton on Trent (look up Burton Salts).

fatbloke
01-01-2013, 02:36 PM
You can use RO water if you wanna do the legwork to figure out the "optimal" level for minerals that water used in wine should have, then figure out how to dose those minerals into the RO water... There are people who do this for beer if their local water has issues (like iron) or they are trying to replicate water from say Burton on Trent (look up Burton Salts).
Whereas, I just use RO water as it qualifies as "soft", then add the required amount of whatever nutrients etc I'm using.

Generally, FermaidK and DAP at a 2 to 1 ratio - then use between 1 and 1.5 teaspoons per gallon. Not had anything go wrong yet i.e. no contaminations, no "stinky" batches etc etc.

Sure I can see why someone might want to mimick water if it's for a specific brew - using your analogy skunkboy, Burton. Yet whether that would be making it like "tap" water from that area, or whether the "Burton Salts" make it like it would be after it's been treated by whichever brewery, I don't know......

Medsen Fey
01-01-2013, 04:55 PM
If your water has contaminants that need to be removed then RO makes sense. Otherwise it does not provide an advantage. The yeast do need minerals and Akueck did a study (Patron's area) showing the effect of water mineral content. In his batch, higher mineral content produced better results.


Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

fatbloke
01-01-2013, 05:23 PM
See, there's no dispute about yeast not needing minerals, but after reading stuff about both beer making and the distilling world and whisky making, I just started using RO water, on the basis that it is "soft" water that is mentioned by a number of authors on brewing (including Brother Adam who suggested going as far as rain harvesting).

As far as my digging about go, I can find no reason not to use RO water if you're using sufficient amounts of an appropriate combined nutrient like Fermaidk, fermax or similar.

If there's fruit in the recipe, even better......

Hence it would appear that it doesn't matter where the minerals come from - I could be wrong but my meads don't seem to suffer from RO, they seem to taste better....

TheAlchemist
01-01-2013, 09:10 PM
I've "rain harvested" for at least one batch...can't remember which...

fatbloke
01-02-2013, 02:57 AM
I've "rain harvested" for at least one batch...can't remember which...
What kind of mead was it ? Show ? Traditional ? Melomel ?

My approach is to do with adding the minerals, nutrients, etc that I know are likely to be fine and work well with the yeast than to leave any other mineral elements in it that might have potential to cause flavour issues, or with the utility elements that may be questionable for mead making (yet understandably present for normal consumption) etc etc...

The_Bishop
01-02-2013, 09:17 PM
You guys are a bad influence. Now you've got me contemplating a new stirplate 1 gallon batch with R.O. water. Have to see what honey is available...

TheAlchemist
01-03-2013, 01:58 PM
I've "rain harvested" for at least one batch...can't remember which...

I had to go back and look at my MeadLogs.
I used rain (reign!) water for Henrietta Maria of France,
The Sir Kenelme Digbie recipe that's printed on the back of Roger Morse's book.
My batch was certainly not "fit for a Queen," but I did drink it all.

I harvested snow for Red Rope which had its own problems.

In both cases I think I filtered the water with a coffee filter. There is more debris in rain/snow than I would have thought. But with snow I think the H2O needs a bit of dust or something to act as a seed crystal.