Should I use filtered water for brewing beer?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

Using filtered water is highly recommended for brewing beer. Municipal water typically contains chlorine or its byproducts, such as chloramines, which can have a negative impact on both the taste of your beer and the fermentation process.

Chlorine, commonly used as a disinfectant in water treatment plants, can impart a chemical taste to your finished beer. This is not ideal, as it can mask the flavors and aromas you want to showcase in your brew. Additionally, chlorine can react with organic compounds present in beer, forming chlorophenols, which can give off unpleasant medicinal or plastic-like flavors.

Chloramines, another common disinfectant used in some water treatment facilities, can also affect the taste and aroma of your beer. While they are less volatile than chlorine and may not dissipate as easily, they can still produce off-flavors.

By filtering your water, you can effectively remove chlorine, chloramines, and other impurities that may be present. This will help ensure that your beer has a clean and pure taste, allowing the flavors and aromas of the malt, hops, and yeast to shine through.

There are various methods of filtering water for brewing, depending on your budget and the level of filtration desired. One popular option is to use activated carbon filters, which can effectively remove chlorine and other contaminants. These filters can be attached to your water source or used in a standalone pitcher or faucet attachment.

Reverse osmosis (RO) systems are another option for filtering water. These systems use a membrane to remove impurities, including chlorine and chloramines, producing highly purified water. However, keep in mind that RO systems can also remove beneficial minerals from the water, so you may need to add them back in if necessary.

Personal experience: When I first started brewing beer, I didn’t think much about the water I was using. I used tap water without any filtration, and my beers often had a subtle chlorine taste that was less than ideal. After doing some research and speaking with other brewers, I decided to invest in an activated carbon filter. The difference in taste was noticeable from my very first batch brewed with filtered water. The flavors were cleaner and more pronounced, and the off-flavors I had previously experienced were no longer present. Since then, I’ve made filtering my brewing water a priority, and it has greatly improved the overall quality of my beers.

Using filtered water is highly recommended for brewing beer. Municipal water often contains chlorine or its byproducts, which can negatively impact the taste and fermentation process. Filtering your water helps remove these impurities, allowing the flavors and aromas of your beer to shine through. Whether you choose activated carbon filters or more advanced methods like reverse osmosis, filtering your water can greatly enhance your brewing experience and the quality of your beer.