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Pre-barreling dilution water

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What type of water is everyone using to dilute whiskey to barrel entry proof? We have RO and filtered municipal as options.

Municipal is easier. We use RO for final bottling dilution but for whiskey I'd prefer to use local water where possible. I just don't want to get to the other side of a long aging process to find out that our municipal caused off flavors.

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We use RO for that exact paranoia. Why take a risk?

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We use RO for that exact paranoia. Why take a risk?

Our municipal water is from one of the finger lakes and it's pristine. Perfect mineral profile for fermentation. I'd like to use it as a way to incorporate a unique provenance to our spirits but i also don't want to run the risk of damaging a batch.

The same spring water that goes in our final product.

Do you have clouding issues?

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Our municipal water is from one of the finger lakes and it's pristine. Perfect mineral profile for fermentation. I'd like to use it as a way to incorporate a unique provenance to our spirits but i also don't want to run the risk of damaging a batch.

Do you have clouding issues?

...and if you don't have clouding issues, is there a specific low micron level filter that you might be running though to prevent it?

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Me personally, I'd never, Ever use a municipal water source to proof down either ready to bottle spirits, or ready to barrel spirits. Or to pre soak a barrel for that matter.

The biggest problem I see would be the Chloramine in municipal water. For mashing it's fine. Chlorine will boil off during the mashing and the Chloramine molecule's are to large to pass over through distillation. By adding municipal water to the barrel or bottle, You're adding it directly to the product with no hope of removing it by filtration or distillation.

Just my 2.155 cents.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloramine

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Me personally, I'd never, Ever use a municipal water source to proof down either ready to bottle spirits, or ready to barrel spirits. Or to pre soak a barrel for that matter.

The biggest problem I see would be the Chloramine in municipal water. For mashing it's fine. Chlorine will boil off during the mashing and the Chloramine molecule's are to large to pass over through distillation. By adding municipal water to the barrel or bottle, You're adding it directly to the product with no hope of removing it by filtration or distillation.

Just my 2.155 cents.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloramine

I'm on the exact same page. We're smack in the middle of colorado (8'000 feet) at the base of a whole mess of 14,000' peaks, and our water comes the snowmelt off of cottonwood pass (continental divide). It tastes like... nothing. Just like water is meant to. It's at a ph of 7 and full of minerals. We run it though a carbon for mashing and RO for proofing down. I'm not confident enough that variation could not happen and cause massive clouding or the odd flavors to develop. Curious though -- for as many distilleries out here or wherever that sing the songs of using water from springs/glaciers/martian ice/artisan wells/etc. (cough... breckenridge, spring44, tincup) I always wonder how many are really using it straight from the tap (no RO filtered) to proof down their spirits, and if I might be over estimating the importance of ro'ing our water.

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Will the water on it's own with spirit cause clouding?

I have ridiculously hard water here. Over 30 grains of hardness and +600ppm of TDS so I absolutely can not use tap water for proofing.

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I have had a batch cloud a little bit, but I assumed it was due to cuts not the water.

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Will the water on it's own with spirit cause clouding?

I have ridiculously hard water here. Over 30 grains of hardness and +600ppm of TDS so I absolutely can not use tap water for proofing.

I'm at 66ppm dissolved solids coming from our municipal water passed though a carbon filter. When first started out and used that water to proof down, we got a lot of "clouds" precipitating out and collecting towards the bottom of the bottle. When we switched to RO for proofing down, we still got a slight amount of clouding -- but when we used the same water passed though an ro filter and then ran the proofed down distillate though a 1 micron filter we're not seeing any precipitate. I've never tried using *just* carbon filtered municipal water with final product run though a 1 micron filter - too scared.

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I'm on the exact same page. We're smack in the middle of colorado (8'000 feet) at the base of a whole mess of 14,000' peaks, and our water comes the snowmelt off of cottonwood pass (continental divide). It tastes like... nothing. Just like water is meant to. It's at a ph of 7 and full of minerals. We run it though a carbon for mashing and RO for proofing down. I'm not confident enough that variation could not happen and cause massive clouding or the odd flavors to develop. Curious though -- for as many distilleries out here or wherever that sing the songs of using water from springs/glaciers/martian ice/artisan wells/etc. (cough... breckenridge, spring44, tincup) I always wonder how many are really using it straight from the tap (no RO filtered) to proof down their spirits, and if I might be over estimating the importance of ro'ing our water.

You aren't overestimating anything, Lenny. The whole "Rocky Mountain Spring Water" thing is just marketing nonsense. Head over to Coors, and ask them where their water treatment plant is----it's the size of a city block. Larger plants-----meaning Breck, New Belgium, the Bud plant up in FoCo, etc. takes water, strips it of salts (Ca, Mg, etc.), and add salts back in to their own specs. Water salt concentrations change from day to day. These larger plants need consistent yeast performance, and can't accept having one day with a Calcium concentration that's in spec, and then the next day it's low by 20%----leading to poor fermentation performance. They need the same water every time. So they all strip to nothing, and add back in to their spec....many plants even have different water specs for different beer styles.

As for what you're doing, and I know this is unasked-for advice, might I suggest that you start with a 5 micron filter on your supply, followed by a carbon filter, followed by a final tight paper filtration that will catch any stray bits of carbon, as well as the odd aroma that can sneak in (you can find these on McMaster-Carr). Connect those three filters with your deionizer, and you'll prolong the life of the deionizer, as well as the upstream filters, and I'd suspect knock out the last of your haze. Pop open those filters at least once a month and check for off-aromas or accumulation of solids. Always taste the filters and your water.

From there be sure to give a final clean of all tanks, fillers, hoses, tools, etc. that come into contact with your finished spirit with warm citric acid, and a good rinsing with your DI water, to flush away any accumulation of salts.

Also, FYI, heavy metals can throw hazes. Don't know if there were any operating mines near your water supply, but even a few ppm can cause issues.

Cheers.

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We use RO/DI that typically measures 0-1 TDS, probably below the accurate measuring limit of the pen meter.

There is too much variability in municipal water - for example, in the Northeast, it's common for salt ion concentrations to increase after a bad winter in which a lot of road salt or brine spray was used. Standard sediment and carbon filtration won't have any real impact on ion concentration.

Also, consider that the issues in Flint are probably more common than we know.

I'm in the camp that says, why take the chance? Using RO or RO/DI - I know exactly what I'm dealing with.

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