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The differences between Chloramines and Chlorine in your brewing water
Most municipal water District’s will add chlorine or chloramines as a disinfectant to their water supply. This is a common practice to deliver safe water to the public but can create many issues for Brewers and Distillers affecting their finished product.
A big problem with city water is consistency. Water districts can pull their resources from many locations and in various ways. As the water changes, its makeup and treatment will change as well. Even if water is pulled from one source it’s characteristics can still change throughout the year. So having chlorine or chloramines in your water up to your brew house is a good thing but that’s as far as it should go. Both of these chemicals can produce a myriad of unpleasant tastes and aromas in your brew.
One of the simplest and most efficient ways to remove these chemicals is a carbon filtration system. Activated carbon does a wonderful job of removing foul tastes, aromas and chlorine from your brew water. A properly sized carbon unit will work with your system’s flow rate. Giving your water the proper contact time, with the carbon, will ensure an aroma free product water.
Chloramines are a little different. Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. The combining of these two chemicals stabilizes the chlorine and allows it to stay as a disinfectant in the water longer as it passes through the pipes to your brew house. To remove chloramines a different carbon is needed. A catalytic carbon must be use for this process. Again, with a properly size tank for your flow rates, giving your water the proper contact time with the catalytic carbon, you will have put yourself in a good position for success.