Chlorine

I hate chlorine.

A few batches back I started delving into the topic of water chemistry in brewing because I want to make the best beers possible. I went online and found the water report for where I live. Low and behold the water is great for brewing. Low to moderate amounts of all the brewing minerals which made adjustment without dilution possible for most styles. Life is good. Unfortunately, the one part of the water report I overlooked was the chlorine content.

Fast forward about 5 batches and all of them have the same off aroma. A medicinal smell and flavor dominates the beer. At first I couldn’t figure it out. Was it caused by fermentation? the boil? ingredients? I couldn’t place it until about a week ago. The off aroma was chlorophenol and looking back at the water report it was staring me in the face the whole time. Fortunately, the beers are still drinkable and now that I know the problem I can hopefully fix it. Going to start brewing with distilled water that I build the mineral content from scratch, which is probably what I should have done from the start.

I guess the moral of the story is that when starting to play with water chemistry, make sure that you take everything into account not just the minerals that you want in beer, but also the ones you don’t want.

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