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bernardsmith
10-29-2013, 10:26 AM
I've been making fruit wines for a few years but have only started to make meads. Until now I have gone out of my way to use spring water from a NY State source (it's free but a bit of a pain to obtain in the winter months) rather than use our municipal water (with its fluorine and chlorine and other biocides). My question: our tap water tastes fine but is it better to use spring water rather than tap water for mead making? How likely is it that if I leave a bucket of the water exposed to the air that all the fluorides and chlorine will evaporate off?

joemirando
10-29-2013, 11:08 AM
I've been making fruit wines for a few years but have only started to make meads. Until now I have gone out of my way to use spring water from a NY State source (it's free but a bit of a pain to obtain in the winter months) rather than use our municipal water (with its fluorine and chlorine and other biocides). My question: our tap water tastes fine but is it better to use spring water rather than tap water for mead making? How likely is it that if I leave a bucket of the water exposed to the air that all the fluorides and chlorine will evaporate off?

I know that the chlorine will evaporate out. Not sure about flourides. Even if it does, you are left with whatever minerals your tap water might have dissolved in it. It may be fine. Or the type and quantities of minerals may hinder fermentation and/or give off flavors. My tap water is quite hard, and even filtering it isnt sufficient. There's only one way to know for sure, I guess, but I would get as much spring water as you can while you can. <g>

Joe

loveofrose
10-29-2013, 12:48 PM
When I started brewing, I went to the store and purchased 1 liter of every spring water sold in bulk. I then did a side by side tasting. That's right. A side by side tasting of water. I chose the best tasting water and have stuck with it.

Perhaps try this so that you have an easier option. It has the added benefit of already being sterile!

bernardsmith
10-29-2013, 01:38 PM
When I started brewing, I went to the store and purchased 1 liter of every spring water sold in bulk. I then did a side by side tasting. That's right. A side by side tasting of water. I chose the best tasting water and have stuck with it.

Perhaps try this so that you have an easier option. It has the added benefit of already being sterile!

The spring water from the state park has the state seal on it. I don't think that it is "sterile" but it is certified as safe and additive free and the mineral composition of the water is listed. I guess my problem is that I think of water as a public resource and not something that someone can sell or have other people buy. And our state water is clean (fracking has not been permitted!) and tastes good and makes good coffee and tea and does not stain or damage clothes when used to clean them.

Midnight Sun
10-29-2013, 07:48 PM
If chlorine or fluorine are a concern, just drop in a campden tablet. You can also boil it for a few minutes. Municipal water at my location is very good and is only lightly chlorinated, so I never bother with bottled water.

Don't forget that yeast need trace minerals too, so distilled water may not be the best option unless you are dosing with nutrients. Which sort of defeats the purpose of distilled water in the first place.

I do like loveofrose's idea about side-by-side water comparisons. Shall have to try that some time.

kudapucat
10-29-2013, 07:56 PM
Chloramine or some such is being used in some of our longer pipe lines, because it doesn't blow off the way Chlorine will... It's a PITA for some of my friends who keep fish, but there is a way to get it to disperse.

I've never used anything but tapwater for my meads, but that's maybe because I'm a cheapskate and we have some of the best municipal water in the world in my city.

When wines and meads have nasty sulfur smells and other pollutants, one way fo fixing it is to bubble CO2 though the drink. CO2 will strip many of the volatiles out of the liquid as it bubbles through.
IMHO, that means that our chlorine and flourine should mostly dissipate out the airlock. AFAIK mineral content is much more of a concern than volatiles.
Hard water that doesn't lather well makes a poor drink.

anir dendroica
10-29-2013, 08:40 PM
Fluoride is added as a salt, sodium fluoride or equivalent. At high (toxic) concentrations it would taste salty, but at the concentrations it is used (~0.7 ppm) it has no detectable taste. It is nonreactive and impossible to remove short of reverse osmosis or distillation. It should have no effect on mead flavor, and an effect on fermentation is unlikely but can't be ruled out without data.

Chlorine is a reactive oxidizer, both detectable in flavor/aroma and bad for yeast. It can be reduced by allowing water to sit open to air or rapidly eliminated by adding sulfite at levels as low as one campden tablet per 20 gallons. There will still, however, be very low levels of "chlorination byproducts" - chlorine bonded to proteins and other organic molecules - which are more stable though they are unlikely to contribute a detectable taste.

Chevette Girl
10-29-2013, 10:03 PM
Chlorine will dissipate just being left open to air (and would probably be driven off more easily with CO2), but chloramines are used specifically because they don't dissipate and I don't think CO2 would do it. As I understand, a campden tablet for 5 gallons is sufficient to convert chloramines into a form of nitrogen that yeast can eat, I'm guessing it releases the chlorine into the air.

Ottawa water has a pH around 8.4 and about 4 grains of hardness, and it uses about 1 ppm fluoride (had a summer job at the water plant, I drink the stuff straight from the tap) but I never found out if/how that dissippates. Fluorine is the most reactive element if I recall correctly, so maybe it'll bug off with campden tablets too, but this is pure speculation with my decade out of date degree...

MikeTheElder
10-30-2013, 12:07 AM
If your water is really hard, get a softener

If it is really nasty, get a reverse osmosis filter.

Small reverse osmosis filters are fairly cheap and remove something like 99% of unwanted garbage, but one caveat, the small ones only do about 20-30 gal/day

Be sure to get one with activated carbon for odor/chlorine/fluorine chemical removal

The only drawback is that the water coming out is damned near equal to distilled.

My orchids are really sensitive to water purity and they love the reverse osmosis filter.

I use mechanical/carbon filtered tap water for my meads to leave the trace elements.

kudapucat
10-30-2013, 12:10 AM
If your water is really hard, you have a valid reason to own a large still... :-D
Dual purposing here we come!

NB: At least here downunder it's legal to distill water, just not alcohol.

Chevette Girl
10-30-2013, 12:32 AM
My orchids are really sensitive to water purity and they love the reverse osmosis filter.


My orchids consider themselves lucky to get water... they're not picky :rolleyes:

fatbloke
10-30-2013, 12:40 AM
Read so many threads here and elsewhere about water and home brew.

There does seem to just be so much conjecture......

The one thing that is apparent, that it seems the brews (various) that have received the plaudits for tasting "the best", all seem to come from soft water areas.

You will easily find evidence (provable), that utility water is and generally will be "cleaner" than any so called spring water.

Of course, there is likely to be issues of taste/flavour as people are often surprised how it can change with such tiny amounts of trace minerals and that they can pick up on it.

Personally, I suspect the argument about trace mineral being necessary is likely to be complete bollocks. I use 2 energiser to 1 nutrient to provide all the nutrients and minerals needed. Plus because I experimented with hard and soft waters in respect of taste in resulting brews, I find that I can taste the harsher notes that come from water with elevated calcium and magnesium salts (local water here comes through chalk, so lots of calcium......).

I find, that too my taste its easiest just to use RO water to provide consistency.

Its fine suggesting water softeners for hard water area but thats usually gonna require salt (don't know of the chemistry of softeners but salt seems to be the usual material added to soften water). I like salt on my fries/chips and with my margaritas, not in my meads.

We are now on a water meter anyway, as the thieving b******s who now run the service wanted ways of squeezing more out of us, so I just bought a reverse osmosis filter and am currently working out a minimal rain harvest system. The RO filter should strip any airbourne pollutants out and the water while relatively small in quantity (35 gallons per day) is plenty to supply my home brew and Clares orchid watering needs......

GntlKnigt1
10-30-2013, 12:36 PM
The water over here is mostly ozone disinfected.... some are UV disinfected. Very little chlorine and frankly, it tastes really good!!! And, as good as it is, I also have a rain barrel that I have eyed from time to time. What do the microbiologists among you think of boiled rain water for making mead?

anir dendroica
10-30-2013, 12:57 PM
If you boil it there won't be much microbiology to worry about.

Rain water, like distilled water, contains very little in the way of dissolved ions (calcium, magnesium, sulfate, chloride, etc.). These contribute micronutrients for yeast and also affect the mouthfeel of the finished product. You can always add "hardness" with gypsum and other mineral salts, though I don't know enough to recommend which ones and how much.

Midnight Sun
10-30-2013, 05:24 PM
For water disinfection, the US Centers for Disease Control recommends bringing water to a vigorous boil for 1 minute. If your elevation is 2,000m (6,500ft) or higher, then you need to boil for 3 minutes.

CDC link (http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/backcountry_water_treatment.html)

GntlKnigt1
10-30-2013, 05:42 PM
Good to know. I am about 4 meters below sea level, so maybe i only need to boil for 30 seconds. Grin

Sent from my HTC Vision using Tapatalk 2

kuri
10-30-2013, 09:47 PM
Good to know. I am about 4 meters below sea level, so maybe i only need to boil for 30 seconds. Grin

Sent from my HTC Vision using Tapatalk 2

Except in the middle of a hurricane, when you'd be safer going for the whole minute. If you can put up with the extra wait. Grin

Midnight Sun
10-31-2013, 01:02 AM
Good to know. I am about 4 meters below sea level, so maybe i only need to boil for 30 seconds. Grin

Wonder how much faster if in a pressure cooker? Been wanting to buy one, this experiment sounds like the perfect excuse!

kuri
10-31-2013, 02:45 AM
Wonder how much faster if in a pressure cooker? Been wanting to buy one, this experiment sounds like the perfect excuse!

Depending on the pressure you can get with your pressure cooker, it will probably be enough to just get it to the point where the steam starts to escape. It will have likely spent more than a minute at temperatures over 100C by that point. With a pressure cooker, you also have the possibility of reaching sterilization levels. Most pressure cookers won't get you there, but some will. Can't remember the exact temps and times needed, but something like 123C for 20 minutes should do the trick. Useful if you're ever planning on making plates and slants for growing your own yeast. But I digress.

Noe Palacios
11-01-2013, 01:55 AM
I've been making fruit wines for a few years but have only started to make meads. Until now I have gone out of my way to use spring water from a NY State source (it's free but a bit of a pain to obtain in the winter months) rather than use our municipal water (with its fluorine and chlorine and other biocides). My question: our tap water tastes fine but is it better to use spring water rather than tap water for mead making? How likely is it that if I leave a bucket of the water exposed to the air that all the fluorides and chlorine will evaporate off?

Hello bernardsmith:

If your spring water's origin is geothermal, I would be more concern on its sulfurs. I don't know sulfurs' influence on fermenting or aging. I suggest you to try both waters and after their clarification decide which one is better for you.

Saludes,

bernardsmith
11-01-2013, 12:29 PM
Hello bernardsmith:

If your spring water's origin is geothermal, I would be more concern on its sulfurs. I don't know sulfurs' influence on fermenting or aging. I suggest you to try both waters and after their clarification decide which one is better for you.

Saludes,

Me too, but we have mineral spring water and sweet spring water and the mineral springs are very sulfuric and some have very high sodium levels . The sweet spring waters are delicious. The locals who know about the source (and it is free) queue up 24/7 . I kid you not.

Noe Palacios
11-01-2013, 04:58 PM
Me too, but we have mineral spring water and sweet spring water and the mineral springs are very sulfuric and some have very high sodium levels . The sweet spring waters are delicious. The locals who know about the source (and it is free) queue up 24/7 . I kid you not.

Sure you did ... LOL

Saludes,

mgvsquared
11-01-2013, 05:24 PM
So is using distilled doing a true disservice to the finished mead or is it more of a personal preference? Does it really contribute to the mouthfeel as much as the amount of honey does?

I used distilled in my first batch because it was suggested that I do, not because I read that I should, but I wonder now why it was suggested? Is it because it imparts zero flavor? Hell, if I were going to use the best tasting water, Great Value is up there is up there in just general taste.

But I guess in the end how much does the type of water contribute to flavor when the predominant flavors are honey and whatever you add to it?

Noe Palacios
11-02-2013, 01:19 AM
So is using distilled doing a true disservice to the finished mead or is it more of a personal preference? Does it really contribute to the mouthfeel as much as the amount of honey does?

I used distilled in my first batch because it was suggested that I do, not because I read that I should, but I wonder now why it was suggested? Is it because it imparts zero flavor? Hell, if I were going to use the best tasting water, Great Value is up there is up there in just general taste.

But I guess in the end how much does the type of water contribute to flavor when the predominant flavors are honey and whatever you add to it?

Water really has big influence on mead, the geographical origin of honey and water make each mead "unique"

Saludes,

fatbloke
11-02-2013, 01:51 AM
So is using distilled doing a true disservice to the finished mead or is it more of a personal preference? Does it really contribute to the mouthfeel as much as the amount of honey does?

I used distilled in my first batch because it was suggested that I do, not because I read that I should, but I wonder now why it was suggested? Is it because it imparts zero flavor? Hell, if I were going to use the best tasting water, Great Value is up there is up there in just general taste.

But I guess in the end how much does the type of water contribute to flavor when the predominant flavors are honey and whatever you add to it?
Ok, so opinion is devided but it does seem that all booze making seems to benefit from "soft" water. There does seem to be a couple of definitions of "hard" water i.e. general hardness and calcium hardness (around here it calcium that creates the hardness as the water comes through chalk).

Anyway, there's also the old wives tales of minerals being good for you etc, and if its "spring"water it must be ok.

So, the spring water thing ? Is utter bollocks.

The mineral thing does have some limited truth, but people forget that you have to drink a lot of water that contains whatever mineral which is supposed to be good for you before there's any benefit, so that equally scotches that idea.

Now, on the basis that both beer makers and distillers have found the connection between calcium and magnesium salts in the water and a hint of harshness coming through in the finished product, I just use, what I understand to be the softest water I can get easily. Which is reverse osmosis water.

On the idea that I'll be making sure that my batches are properly fed with the appropriate nutrients and energiser to provide for their needs, it seems to work fine.

There's not a huge difference between distilled and RO water.

On the basis of availability, there is no reason why, using the axiom of "if you like the taste of your local supply then its fine" ? Yes I'd go with that as long as its either utility or has been tested as safe.

If nothing else, use of distilled or RO, creates a base to work from as its one less variable to contend with and the maker can focus more on getting the most from the ingredients who's variable nature is unavoidable i.e. the honey and any fruit, spices, etc etc.....

kuri
11-02-2013, 05:02 AM
Somehow I've never liked the idea of using RO or distilled water. Doing so you need to add back certain salts, but that to me would be like trying to make honey by combining various pure sugars with a little water. There are all sorts of trace elements that we evolved to deal with in water, and distilling pretty much gets rid of the lot of them. If your water is hard, dilution with distilled or RO water seems like a good way to get it softer, but use of 100% RO or distilled I think of as depriving the yeast of a lot of the good stuff that you would never have on hand to add to the water even if you knew what it was.

Noe Palacios
11-03-2013, 01:45 AM
... If your water is hard, dilution with distilled or RO water seems like a good way to get it softer ...

Agree. The question then is: how softer should be the water?

Here in my home town water's hardness is about 140 mg/L CaCO2 and its Ok. Maybe this hardness could work well for you too.

Saludos,

ShaunG
01-12-2014, 10:45 PM
[COLOR="Purple"]Chlorine will dissipate just being left open to air (and would probably be driven off more easily with CO2), but chloramines are used specifically because they don't dissipate and I don't think CO2 would do it. As I understand, a campden tablet for 5 gallons is sufficient to convert chloramines into a form of nitrogen that yeast can eat, I'm guessing it releases the chlorine into the air. COLOR]


Hey so lemme jump in and ask a question too;

I'm having trouble getting some of my smaller batches to stay active. 1.5g batches and a 3g batch. They were all made using tap water, we have a carbon filter and a softener. The yeast was a variety (d47, 71b and a K1) and were all 1 packet per batch and rehydrated w/ GoFerm, and fed with Fermax.

I am so stumped I'm sure I don't know what to do. There IS one 5 gallon batch of blueberry that I did a full boil on, while the other batches had no boil. I'm wondering if Chevette Girl isn't onto something with chloramines. The one batch working well was boiled enmase, all 5 gallons. They just switched over to chloramines a few years ago- would a carbon filter remove chloramines?


BTW Chevette Girl- you know the little white package that says DO NOT EAT that comes in electronics and new shoes? mix about 1tbs per 2cups potting soil and you'll only have to water your plants 1 per month... :)

MourneMead
01-13-2014, 09:26 AM
I have a well (spring) on the farm though it's been disused for years so I'd need to get it tested. I've been trying to do that for months but finding the right Government department which looks after that is a nightmare.

Apparently I need to get it tested for about 30 different things - not least is pollutants and micro organisms, never mind the various trace minierals - so this is looking to be pricy. Still the idea of having my own water source is attractive - it bubbles up through granite and a metamorphosed schist so it's liklely to be as hard as nails though.

GntlKnigt1
01-14-2014, 03:41 AM
Actually, natural spring water from a Northern Ireland well might actually be outstanding !!! Is it in an urban area? Or is it more rural?

MourneMead
01-14-2014, 04:07 AM
Hi,

It's very rural - and not far from the Mourne mountains. This is not necessarily a good thing beause of the intensive farming with a lot of slurry being applied to the land surrounding it. However the water in the spring is very cold (you couldn;t hold your hand in it for more than a few seconds) so I'm assuming the water is coming from quite deep down and it might escape any run off from the fields - here's hoping :)

fatbloke
01-14-2014, 04:48 AM
Granite and shist means its likely softer. Hardness has a couple of values but is usually associated with calcium i.e. water through chalk or limestone.

Yours suggests moderate to neutral, unless the soils are quite peaty, then itd be soft.

Your analysis would need to be pollutant and microbial I'd have thought.......

And yes, being down here on the south coast means 252-500ppm calcium, ergo I use the RO I've already mentioned and nutrient/enerviser mix (above) to provide the feed and micro-nutrients the yeast needs.......

MourneMead
01-14-2014, 04:54 AM
[QUOTE=fatbloke;222565]Granite and shist means its likely softer. Hardness has a couple of values but is usually associated with calcium i.e. water through chalk or limestone.

Yours suggests moderate to neutral, unless the soils are quite peaty, then itd be soft.

QUOTE]

That's encouraging - thanks - I really will have to get it tested.

Sorry to stray off thread topic