PDA

View Full Version : non remineralized water?



moridin
06-13-2013, 07:45 PM
we get our big jugs of water from a local store and they clean and filter the water yet do not remineralize..is this okay to use?

kuri
06-13-2013, 09:35 PM
As long as they don't use reverse osmosis or distill the water it should still have a decent mineral profile and hence be fine to use. If you're really worried you can either ask the company for a water analysis or send off for one yourself.

fatbloke
06-14-2013, 01:51 PM
As long as they don't use reverse osmosis or distill the water it should still have a decent mineral profile and hence be fine to use. If you're really worried you can either ask the company for a water analysis or send off for one yourself.
Sorry...... complete hogwash.

To have enough "mineral profile", the water would need the nutritional value of raw sewage!

Ok, that's a rather excessive analogy, but generally, waterbourne minerals are nowhere near enough to make a difference. Otherwise basic "show meads" would all ferment to the yeasts maximum......and they don't.

All nutitional requirements would generally come from nutrient additions or other ingredients, fruit being a good example.

When using nutritional ingredients, the terms nutrient and energiser are interchangeable and potentially mis-leading. If only one is used it should be "energiser" as that is a complete nutrition. Whereas DAP is basically just a source of inorganic nitrogen.

Yes waters can make a difference, but thats mainly to do with water "hardness" with, historically, the best to use being harvested rain water, which naturally, wouldn't contain any minerals other than what is absorbed from airbourne contaminants.........

Ergo, the water should, theoretically, be fine.....

kuri
06-14-2013, 11:01 PM
Sorry...... complete hogwash.

To have enough "mineral profile", the water would need the nutritional value of raw sewage!

Ok, that's a rather excessive analogy, but generally, waterbourne minerals are nowhere near enough to make a difference. Otherwise basic "show meads" would all ferment to the yeasts maximum......and they don't.


Gotta call you out on this one. The question at issue was not whether the water by itself can provide everything that a yeast might need. No bottled or tap water does that. It was rather a question of whether the cleaning process removed necessary minerals from the water that would have been there otherwise. At least that's how I read the question. Reverse osmosis and distillation remove nearly everything, including calcium, potassium, sodium, zinc and magnesium. Filtration doesn't remove these, at least not to anywhere near the same extent.

Yeast are sensitive to these minerals. In order to do their job they need a certain minimum, and they do better with more than the minimum up to a point. The minerals by themselves are not enough, though, and that's where non-mineral supplements like DAP come in. Filtration / non-filtration doesn't make a difference in that respect, and I wasn't claiming that it did.

I've known several brewers who decided to use reverse osmosis water or distilled water. They found that they need to add back the minerals that they lost, in the form of mineral salts: Calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, magnesium sulfate, calcium chloride, perhaps sodium chloride. Without them the yeast couldn't do their job properly and the fermentation stopped way too early. With normal tap water these additions aren't needed. (They can still make a difference and can still be worth adding to alter the final flavor of the brew, but the yeast will do quite fine without them.)

kuri
06-14-2013, 11:09 PM
Apparently there is some disagreement over whether nitrogen counts as a mineral. I was using the term "mineral" to refer to metals used by the body, and since nitrogen isn't a metal it didn't qualify. Some people take DAP and the like to be mineral forms of nitrogen, however, and if this is what you mean by mineral then of course the water wouldn't contain enough. Hope this helps clear up a little bit of confusion.

fatbloke
06-15-2013, 03:57 AM
Ok, I get what you were alluding to originally now (and my point equally wasn't meant to sound argumentative or god forbid, rude/offensive.... apart from in a beer/table/pub banter scenario).

I'd suggest that RO is just that i.e. filtration. Not in the usual liquid/solids through a screen way as we generally think of as filtration but nonetheless, filtration......of a sort.

I don't know for certain (not being a science type), as there are a couple of definitions of "hardness" when referring to water, but all the published papers I've read so far, infer that "soft" water is what yeasts do best with (and no, I've yet to find a decent, sensible definition for "soft" in this context so I just take it as "not hard").

Ok. So with that in mind, might explain why the convection of water from sea/land to cloud etc, would give the ideal, not contaminated with with natural salts dissolved from land or other man made additives.

Around here, the brewers have to soften the water to nullify the effect of the natural high calcium (and magnesium, I believe but haven't checked) in the local water. Which I understand is connected with flavour i.e. a harshness it (the calcium etc levels) produces. Equally, if you read stuff from the distilling world, that too, suggests soft water being the best for the fermenting stage as the concentration stage, the distilling, also produces a spirit with a harsher flavour.

Ok, I'll also agree that there's very likely, a difference in what is done with the water chemistry when thinking on the health/hygiene side as opposed to getting it right so the ferment gets it right to provide the "best" (? the question is left hanging, as "best" would be relative, given that one persons nectar can be another persons "bleargh").

Hence it would seem that if the water is "as pure as possible" (presumption of pure to mean as little non-h2o substances as possible - equally that may also mean as little of the elements that contribute to "hardness" as possible), then all the flavouring elements of a ferment should/would come from the ingredients, which would include yeast nutrition to encourage it to produce a consistent and repeatable result.

We know that waterbourne elements can help with our health, yet if we get the correct balance of minerals etc in our diet, do we actually need waterbourne ones too ?

It seems much less of a certainty that we do......

Besides, water "produced" for conumption like that, is often just filtered (like with activated charcoal/carbon) and/or just sanitised with ozone bubbling prior to bottling. RO/distilled water being more expensive to produce and they like to add the "with added minerals/vitamins" marketing flag.

So while I follow your point, I'm not sure of whether its necessary. Hence that gets back to whether the "don't use RO/distilled water" point is right or not (not sure if that means its just a circular argument or not).

Jim H
06-15-2013, 11:57 AM
Ok, now I'm confused. I happened to run across another post on this forum here:
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?p=93143
It describes the "whys" of putting gypsum in the water. Gypsum is a salt that hardens water... thus it would seem that yeasties like hardness.

Of course it must be a matter of "how hard/soft is the source water?". I am sure there's a yeast mead "sweet-spot", in terms of the hardness values in ppm, TDS, or some other value. That led me to a Google search. I found this very informative powerpoint. It has some good comparative city water values for famous beer making cities. (It is beer-oriented.)
http://www.nthba.org/www/docs/Water_Treatment_April_2007_pp2003.ppt
Two good beer-oriented articles:
http://byo.com/water/item/1478-the-elements-of-brewing-water
http://www.winning-homebrew.com/brewing-water.html
And, of course, Wikipedia explains the general scale of what hard water is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_water#Hard.2Fsoft_classification

But, what's good for mead? Here's a post from a wine making board, it might give some ideas:
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/f6/water-hardness-15769/#post147930
and, for what it's worth, here's a post about water hardness and mead:
http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=114065

Also to consider is the natural mineral content of honey. See here for "standard nutrition facts" with mineral count:
http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/honey-nutrition.html
There is variation to consider. In the following report abstract, there is this important line: "Variation in trace element content in different honey types is primarily due to botanical origin rather than geographical and environmental exposition of nectar sources", with the keywords bolded.
http://www.agroscope.admin.ch/publikationen/einzelpublikation/index.html?lang=en&aid=10522&pid=12678

After this research, I'm thinking that the interplay of the specific honey you start with and the water are the most important things. Those are the two largest quantity ingredients in every mead. Hard water with a "hard honey" will have a different profile than hard water with a "soft honey", etc.

If you're really concerned about the water, I'm also starting to think it might be worth getting a test kit and doing a test of your tap water. Then, try 1 gal batches of short mead with the same honey, using bottled water, your tap water, or hardened water with gypsum. Make them more or less at the same time (to reduce temperature variations) with same yeast. See what flavors you like. There obviously isn't a right or a wrong answer. (If you are inclined to do this test, please let us know your findings!)

By the way, I use NYC tap water and so far the beer that I've made is really nice (no off flavors). I'm a new meadler, and have only one completed batch under my belt. It was a very nice show mead, comparable to a fresh, crisp and dry white wine. The batch that is currently fermenting also has nice flavors. I think my tap is fine to use. Though, they sometimes add extra chlorine to the water, and on those occasions, I might not make mead that day. NYC TDS average is 47. The water report, see page 10:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/pdf/wsstate12.pdf

moridin
06-15-2013, 02:51 PM
i just wanted to thank you guys for your responses, and all your valuable research, i'm gonna see if i can get my hands on a test kit and do my own research! If i find anything interesting i'll let you guys know!

akueck
06-15-2013, 08:54 PM
I did a high/low salt test (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17389) awhile back, complete with lab analyses of ion contents. Part II is running now, so we should have a decent idea soon on some differences between low/high salt contents. Well, at least for traditional mead made with NY wildflower honey.

If you're interested in running your own test, I can send you the setup I used. Would be really interesting to see how a non-traditional mead would handle various salt levels. High carbonate blackberry melomel?

dbeyer
11-18-2013, 09:59 AM
I've known several brewers who decided to use reverse osmosis water or distilled water. They found that they need to add back the minerals that they lost, in the form of mineral salts: Calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, magnesium sulfate, calcium chloride, perhaps sodium chloride.

Any chance of getting additional information on how much of the hardness they added back to the stripped water?