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Hi everyone, I've done some searching and can't seem to find an answer. What kind of water filter is everyone out there using for water before mashing? if my municipal water taste pretty good will a simple inline carbon filter work or should i go all out and get and RO filter?

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If you are using municipal water, I believe your local water authority will provide you with a copy of monthly or quarterly test results, and if you are in a large enough municipality, your local health department may be collecting weekly water samples if you feel something has gone awry and want to confirm. The Ward testing above is dirt cheap anyhow, so it may not matter much to you.

What filter you might need is going to depend on how far off your test results are from where you want them to be. At a minimum, on municipal water, I'd say carbon filters to remove chlorines and chloramines that may impact your fermentation. Particulate filtration is cheap and will extend the life of your carbon cartridges, so I'd say add them as well.

Anything beyond this is going to need to be driven by your test results. If you really want to dive into the topic, pick up a copy of Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers by Palmer and Kaminsky.

Also keep in mind that you don't need to take all of your mash water to zero and add back minerals. If you find an issue with your source water, say for example iron is double what you want it to be, there is nothing stopping you from mashing with 50% carbon filtered tap, and 50% RO. The other option is to run your RO membranes at a lower rejection rate, or even to use lower rejection rate high flow RO membranes (read: the cheap ones). Main issue here is that membrane life tends to be shortened due to fouling.

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