Chloramine in Toronto water

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Bonesey
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Chloramine in Toronto water

Postby Bonesey » Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:29 am

Hi All,

Well I'm about to take the life changing plunge into homebrewing. To those who brew using TO water is the chloramine in TO water bad enough that you must use campden tabs?

Thanks
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Derek
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Postby Derek » Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:22 pm

I charcoal filter & it's fine.

Someday I'll actually install a filter on the line to the tap. Right now I'm still using a Brita! (I get it out a couple days before I brew & fill it anytime I'm in the kitchen).

If I'm only using light malts, I'll cut the hardness with some distilled water (up to 50/50). I've never done any other treatment.
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Postby Lager Bore » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:37 am

Derek wrote:I charcoal filter & it's fine.

Someday I'll actually install a filter on the line to the tap. Right now I'm still using a Brita! (I get it out a couple days before I brew & fill it anytime I'm in the kitchen).

If I'm only using light malts, I'll cut the hardness with some distilled water (up to 50/50). I've never done any other treatment.


And Derek's beer is excellent!

A lot of homebrewers let their tap water sit overnight to remove cholrine, and do nothing else, also with excellent results.
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pootz
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Postby pootz » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:20 pm

10 gal of filtered/spring water is cheap, use it, you'll never regret it.

We use bottled spring water or RO water to brew our fresh ground gourmet coffee or teas to make it taste as best as it can, why would beer be different? The real taste/fermentation killer in Metro water is fluoride and some chloride derivatives that charcoal does not effect.
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markaberrant
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Postby markaberrant » Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:27 am

pootz wrote:10 gal of filtered/spring water is cheap, use it, you'll never regret it.

We use bottled spring water or RO water to brew our fresh ground gourmet coffee or teas to make it taste as best as it can, why would beer be different?


+1 to all of this.

RO water also allows you to accurately build your brewing water. Those city water reports are typically an annual average - I got a copy of a month by month report for Regina, and it is all over the place... that makes what is coming out of the tap pretty difficult to work with, even if you do treat it.

At some point I wouldn't mind getting an RO system installed in the house, I'm sure it eventually pays for itself. For now, I don't mind the bi-weekly trip to the local water supply store.
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Postby phat matt » Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:40 am

I agree with the r/o or spring water. it is all i have ever used, and its like a $2.50 average you pay for 5 gallons. Well worth it I think.
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Re: Chloramine in Toronto water

Postby fishnerd » Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:57 am

Bonesey wrote:Hi All,

Well I'm about to take the life changing plunge into homebrewing. To those who brew using TO water is the chloramine in TO water bad enough that you must use campden tabs?

Thanks

RO filters are not all that expensive -- something like this would come in at well less than $300 and last for years for drinking water and brewing. The pre-filters have to be swapped out once every 6 months or a year depending on use for ~$25. You could go with something without the storage tank for less than $200, but water comes out of an RO filter at a trickle -- about 2 or 3 gallons / hour.

One thing about brewing, especially all-grain, with RO water is that you probably want to add some salts back in. Sierra Nevada's secret sauce is a mix of ~ 1tsp gypsum (CaSO4) and .25tsp calcium chloride (CaCl2) for a 5 gallon all-grain batch. Gypsum lowers the mash pH (a good thing) and helps with hop extraction in hop-forward beers, so you can play around with the salts to get a particular flavour profile.
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markaberrant
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Re: Chloramine in Toronto water

Postby markaberrant » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am

fishnerd wrote:Sierra Nevada's secret sauce is a mix of ~ 1tsp gypsum (CaSO4) and .25tsp calcium chloride (CaCl2) for a 5 gallon all-grain batch. Gypsum lowers the mash pH (a good thing) and helps with hop extraction in hop-forward beers, so you can play around with the salts to get a particular flavour profile.


Yes, but they are using municipal water, and from what I recall they are only running it through charcoal and micro filtration, so there is already minerals present. When I brewed a baltic porter there, I don't believe we added any salts. Pretty sure they only add salts to the hoppy beers.
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Re: Chloramine in Toronto water

Postby fishnerd » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:08 pm

markaberrant wrote:
fishnerd wrote:Sierra Nevada's secret sauce is a mix of ~ 1tsp gypsum (CaSO4) and .25tsp calcium chloride (CaCl2) for a 5 gallon all-grain batch. Gypsum lowers the mash pH (a good thing) and helps with hop extraction in hop-forward beers, so you can play around with the salts to get a particular flavour profile.


Yes, but they are using municipal water, and from what I recall they are only running it through charcoal and micro filtration, so there is already minerals present. When I brewed a baltic porter there, I don't believe we added any salts. Pretty sure they only add salts to the hoppy beers.


I pulled the salt info from January's Zymurgy, so YMMV :) The writer seems to suggest that all their water is treated with salts, and the included "Beer Camp" recipes use RO + gypsum and calcium chloride. FWIW, RO + the salts makes for some yummy beer, and my mashing seems to get better results with RO + salts than with RO alone.
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markaberrant
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Re: Chloramine in Toronto water

Postby markaberrant » Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:12 pm

fishnerd wrote:I pulled the salt info from January's Zymurgy, so YMMV :) The writer seems to suggest that all their water is treated with salts, and the included "Beer Camp" recipes use RO + gypsum and calcium chloride. FWIW, RO + the salts makes for some yummy beer, and my mashing seems to get better results with RO + salts than with RO alone.


In regards to that article, the handsome guy with the thick black glasses and black t-shirt with the bags of hops is me. I'll try to get clarification; there was so much information provided over 3 days at Beer Camp, my memory is a little fuzzy.

You absolutely have to add salts to RO water, but there is no magic amount to use. I dial in my salts for every recipe - I add salts to adjust for mash PH, and then add more salts to the boil to achieve the final water chemistry I want in regards to flavour. Howtobrew.com has a great section on this, including a spreadsheet for doing these calculations.
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markaberrant
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Postby markaberrant » Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:49 pm

Hey fishnerd, just wanted to follow up that SN absolutely does not follow the pratice described in Zymurgy. They may add gypsum and/or calcium chloride, it depends on the recipe. For the Baltic Porter we added a touch of calcium chloride to soften things up, but that is it. And they do not use RO water (although they used to, and may again in the future).
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Postby fishnerd » Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:38 pm

markaberrant wrote:Hey fishnerd, just wanted to follow up that SN absolutely does not follow the pratice described in Zymurgy. They may add gypsum and/or calcium chloride, it depends on the recipe. For the Baltic Porter we added a touch of calcium chloride to soften things up, but that is it. And they do not use RO water (although they used to, and may again in the future).

I did some nosing around, and it looks like they draw their water from an aquifer, so their water is probably pretty stable to begin with, making it straightforward to monkey around with. Unlike Toronto's ... or Regina's.

*shiver*

I remember the brown sludge from the "water" fountains at my elementary school in Regina.

I like using RO water since Toronto's water is variable (its TDS bounces between 200 and 300), and it gets a pronounced algae funk in the fall.

Cool stuff that you got to go to Sierra Nevada :)
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jcc
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Postby jcc » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:23 am

fishnerd wrote:I did some nosing around, and it looks like they draw their water from an aquifer, so their water is probably pretty stable to begin with, making it straightforward to monkey around with. Unlike Toronto's ... or Regina's.

*shiver*

I remember the brown sludge from the "water" fountains at my elementary school in Regina.

I like using RO water since Toronto's water is variable (its TDS bounces between 200 and 300), and it gets a pronounced algae funk in the fall.

Cool stuff that you got to go to Sierra Nevada :)

I'm wondering if it matters which treatment plant and how far you are from the plant regarding the water quality and variability you get here in Toronto.

I've never had problems using tap water here. It is very consistent in my experience with the exception that chlorine can be noticeable at some times of the year (mind you at a much lower level than any other city I've lived). Whether I leave it out over night, filter it or drop a campden tablet in it the end result is a liquor that works well for the beer I brew. I'm sure there are styles where it isn't ideal, but it doesn't concern me much at this point.

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