6 Comments

Is Brita filtering my well water worth it for brewing?

I’ve filtered my brewing water since I started. Not sure why… but always assumed it was better than not. And no, I haven’t had my well water tested (other than when we first bought the house 10+ yrs ago). That test wasn’t the homebrewing water test of course. The only issue I’ve had with our well is that at times, we’ve had a sulfurish smell from the water, but that always dissipates. We use a Brita pitcher/filter as well as their larger spigot dispenser (which I keep in the fridge). I’m really wondering if I need to filter my brewing water. Given I do this with the Brita pitcher and dispenser, it obviously takes a long time and more effort than seems worthwhile.

According to the Brita site:
The Brita® Pitcher Filter Systems and the Brita® Faucet Filter are both excellent water filtration products offering different filtering techniques. The best product is the one that most meets your individual needs. Both products reduce the contaminants that most commonly concern consumers — lead and chlorine (taste and odor) — and both products deliver great-tasting Brita® water. The Brita® Pitcher Systems also reduce copper and mercury — which the Brita® Faucet Filter can’t do. But unlike the pitcher, the Faucet Filter removes the microbes, Cryptosporidium and Giardia, and reduces the chemicals Atrazine, Lindane, Benzene, Trichloroethylene and Asbestos.

I suppose I should get the water tested with the brewer test, but I’ve been too cheap and lazy to bother with it. Our Brita filtered water tastes fine, so I’ve always just gone with that. But, to prep around 10 gallons of water for mashing and sparging is a pain using the Brita devices. Trying to avoid the added cost of a “whole home filtering system,” again, as I’ve had no reason to worry in the past.

Would greatly appreciate homebrewers thoughts on water filtering. I’m not getting into water chemistry, because I simply don’t have that kind of time for this hobby. I know many brewers strip down their water to nothing, and then “build” their brewing water up with salts and minerals. At this point, for me, that’s more work that I want to do.

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6 comments on “Is Brita filtering my well water worth it for brewing?

  1. Removing the items listed from your water would certainly be considered advantageous. My only concern would be any additional items, ie salts or other pH/hardness affecting constituents that may also be pulled out. I would highly recommend you continue to filter, but even if you’re getting decent efficiency from your mash I would also consider looking a little deeper into basic water chemistry as it relates to pH and hardness.

    • So the fact remains, I really need to get a brewer’s water test done so I know what I’m dealing with at least. I’ve often seen Ward Labs as being the one most use. Are there other options, or is Ward the best route?

  2. I got lucky and live in the same town as the owner of my local home brew store. Not only had he already had the water tested but he was able to quickly define a very simple regimen to both harden my water and lower the pH to the appropriate range.

    I haven’t researched many of the testing companies, but I’d say Ward is a sure bet and offers a test specifically for brewers. Short of sampling your water and having it tested, I think reaching out to others in your area to see if anyone has tested their well water already and speaking to any breweries that may be nearby and using a similar water source would be a simpler approach. You might also find other home brewers nearby using well water willing to share the cost of the test, although honestly they aren’t that expensive.

    I found an interesting article on home tests if you’re willing and able to manage a little basic chemistry at home. The advantage here being you can regularly retest as you will almost certainly notice significant seasonal changes. Considerably less accurate and less comprehensive, these tests can be found at local aquarium stores, etc and don’t require mailing out a sample and waiting for the results. http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=At_home_water_testing

  3. brew a beer without filtering. If it tastes good, stop filtering. You have just saved a ton of time and headache. that’s my philosophy. just try it.

    I tried using a brita filter for two batches because I was told “that’s what Bell’s Brewery does.” Then stopped because it was a huge pain in the ass. Having said that, if you wanted the highest quality beer possible, or want to enter your beer in competitions, well then yes of course you should treat your water and all that jazz. Also, according to a real experiment from brulosophy.com, water does impact your beer.

    • I actually am sending out a water sample to Ward labs today for their homebrew water testing. My recent brews have not been happy at all despite using a ton of hops, which may be attributed to my well water chemistry. In the meantime I plan to brew the same IPA I did recently using spring water instead of my well water, just to see the difference

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