3

I passed my water through those cheap water filters and sent it to Ward Industries for a water test.

It came back with 61 PPM of chloride.

In the 3rd edition of the Joy of Homebrewing, Charlie Papazian states:

If you use municipal water that is treated with chlorine, one of the simplest and most dramatic things you can do to improve your beers is to pass all brewing water through a countertop of more elaborate charcoal-type filter to remove chlorine. Chlorine will combine with organic compounds (beer worts included) and produce chlorophenols that even in parts per billion can lend a harsh flavor and aroma to your brew.

So, what level of chloride in my water (PPM) is good enough?

6

There is a distinct difference between chloride, which is a dissolved Cl- ion, and free residual chlorine (or the longer-lasting chloramine ions). The chloride is likely fine. The 61ppm concentration would make your water smell like a pool (or stronger) if it were chlorine.

A chlorine residual test must be conducted within 15 minutes of taking the sample. Otherwise the chlorine dissipates, either by breaking down in sunlight, or off gassing into the atmosphere.

If you're worried about the possible effects of a chlorine residual, aerate your water or let it sit overnight in a lousy covered vessel. Then pitch your yeast.

6

As someone noted, chlorine and chloride are two different things.

Basically, zero chlorine and chloramine is desirable in your beer. Chlorine can bind with phenols in beer and form chlorophenols, a common homebrew flaw that leads to off-flavors described as medicinal, plastick-y, band-aid-like, or sometimes like electrical smoke.

There are many ways to avoid or remove chlorine/chloramine from brewing water, but one of the easiest and foolproof ways is to treat all brewing water with crush Campden tableta at an approximate rate of one tablet per 20 gallons.

As far as chloride, there is no minimum or maximum level within reason. Chloride will tend to give a sense of fullness in your beer (in the same way that sodium chloride aka table salt helps round out flavors in a sweet cookie, for example). What is important is the ratio of chloride to sulfates in your water (lower is usually considered for hoppier beers, and higher for maltier beers). When considering specific levels of chloride in your brewing water, it is more useful to consider all of the ions in your water holistically, to consider the ideal water profile for the style of beer being brewed, and then to adjust the ions (minerals) in the water for both pH and flavor contribution.

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