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I understand that a good rule of thumb for brewing water is that if it tastes good it's good to use for brewing. Most of these nine springs that i've tried are way too mineraly to my taste but "7 Minute" and "Ute Chief" are really good and I'd like to at least use a bit of one to my brew water to add some depth to the beer. Aside from taste, will any of these minerals affect the yeast in a bad way? Or will this be simply an aesthetic change to the taste?

Ethan N.

I guess I should add that I'm looking to brew a Double IPA.

Cheers

local springs and mineral content

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Should probably try a small batch as a trial and error then. –  Ethan Noore Nov 9 '11 at 16:28
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3 Answers

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I am definately not an expert in Water Profiles so take my answer with a grain of salt.

PH will have an impact on your mash and sparge. Higher PHs will extract tannin from the husks. The Alkalinity for both profiles you mentioned is a bit high I believe and will resist change in PH. You may want to play with the EZ Water Calculator spreadsheet to work out an amount of Acidulated malt or other additions to drop your mash PH to a desirable level http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/ez-water-calculator-3-0-a-261001/

On the other hand, you could brew a small batch and see how it turns out, if it works, Great! If not, back to tweaking the profile a bit.

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I'm just starting out so I'm going to be using malt extract until I expand my setup. The mash aside, do you think these PH levels will be a factor either in flavor or in yeast health? –  Ethan Noore Nov 9 '11 at 16:40
    
I'm not finding anything showing significant effects on the yeast at mid-range pH Values (where I expect you'll be). In fact on the high end there are no measurable changes in fermentation until you hit a pH of 6 and on the low side, this is a normal effect of the production of alcohol so that shouldn't give you any significant issues I suspect. –  Kevin Colby Nov 9 '11 at 16:55
    
The primary way that water has an impact on yeast health is through the availability of various minerals, notably calcium and zinc. Calcium because they need enough of it, and zinc because zinc is often in short supply. –  Dustin Rasener Nov 10 '11 at 11:50
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If you are using malt extract, you are probably best off using all Reverse Osmosis or Distilled water. The extract is boiled in water with appropriate mineral levels for most beer styles, so you have no need to add any more minerals to the process. The mineral figures in the chart seem kind of high to me, and will impact the taste. It's fairly easy even as a new brewer to pick out flavors in a beer and to decide if the yeast/hops/malt are responsible for that flavor. When brewing minerals are involved, it starts getting much more complicated. Minerals can make your beer taste: harsh/smooth/sweet/bright/dull/astringent/etc. (It gets even more complicated with All Grain.)

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I'm getting ahead of myself then. I don't have a feel yet for how the "yeast/hops/malt" are affecting the taste so I should probably start a little more simply. Thanks for the insight. –  Ethan Noore Nov 9 '11 at 17:09
    
+1 for "if using extract...." –  Daniel Chisholm Nov 9 '11 at 19:40
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Two things that water chemistry affects are the chemistry during the mash/runoff, and the interaction with the hops during the brew.

As @Graham pointed out, if you're not doing a mash then you don't have to worry about the mash chemistry. (most of this concerns getting the pH into the correct range).

There are several things that are considered generally "bad" for brewing purposes, so choose a water to avoid or minimize: - iron (bad flavour; can give a "bloody" taste) - sodium (in highly hopped beers, makes the bitterness harsh and unpleasant) - chlorine or chloramine (you won't find this in mineral water but you will in city water; these give bad flavours)

others are sometimes useful: - sulfate ions are good for heavily-hopped ales, they bring out the hop bitterness nicely - chloride can add "sweetness" or smoothness (sometimes this is desired, sometimes not)

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Got it. Thanks! –  Ethan Noore Nov 9 '11 at 20:03
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