Is distilled water a necessity? I live in Louisville and we have some of the best water in the world.(hence our amazing whiskey)

  • However, your amazing whiskey is distilled ;-)
    – Philippe
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 17:21
  • 1
    Perhaps you could tell us what you want to use the water for? Is it is to brew beer? And what is your tap water like - is it drinkable and without odour or noticeable flavour? Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 22:12

4 Answers 4


There is very little confusion about water. Either it tastes good, as Phillipe said, or it does not. If your municipal water source is clean and tastes good all you are needing is to make sure it is sterile. If you have concerns about the chemical components in your water the you can get a detailed report from your water company for free. Most problems people associate with water quality actually are more often a result of brewer error.

  • 2
    Why it is important to make sure the water is sterile? If its drinkable you can brew with it. I accept that not all tap water is drinkable. But even then you may be able brew with it! Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 22:15
  • In the Middle Ages, brewing beer was a common way to make water drinkable and avoid many infections! Sterilizing before the boil is unnecessary.
    – winwaed
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 16:16
  • Barking Pete, obviously it is important to make sure the water is sterile. That is why sanitation is "Post Boil". No where did I mean to imply that the water out of the tap would be free of bacteria. You guys read to much into obvious answers.
    – Rory
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 1:04
  • No - I am asking why the water needs to be sterile. Tap water is rarely "sterile" but it would usually be good to use without boiling - eg to top up extract brews that don't have boiled wort. Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 19:27
  • Water good to drink is not only about the taste. It is also the low number of bacteria that makes it sanitary (not necessarily 100% sterile).
    – Philippe
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 14:53

Short answer: No.

In general, if your water is good to drink, it's good to make beer as well. I also have access to good water and I don't find it makes any difference on my finished product when I use distilled water instead. If your water has too much minerals or wrong pH, you can still use it after you treat and/or filter it.


I have always used Tap water. With no issues. When you boil it in the beginning it takes care of all of the issues.

  • Yes, when I said to make sure the water was sterile, I was referring to the boil process. In fact I also only use tap water.
    – Rory
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 20:29

I am firmly in the camp of water adjusters, as I am convinced that any water can make beer but only great water makes great beer. First hand experience with a good local brewery which had to switch their water source following a dry summer has only solidified my experience so far. Definitely follow Rory's advice of getting a water analysis sheet from your local water company in order to know what you are working with. I have found the book Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers by J. Palmer and C. Kaminski a very helpful guide. Another de-facto standard with advanced homebrewers (and some professionals) is Martin Brungard's Bru'n Water sheet, there is a free and a donation version with very little difference. His website also offers some insight into water chemistry: https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

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