Ask Mr. Wizard

Chlorinated water

TroubleShooting

Dale Engstrom • Salem, Oregon asks,
Q

I recently moved from Montana to Salem, Oregon. When I brewed in Montana I used well water for my brews and there was never a problem — they were wonderful beers. Now that I am an “urban” brewer, I seem to have too many instances of beers fermenting with dry yeast that will not take off — the fermentations just sit there, never going into kräusen overnight (like they did in Montana). Could it be chlorine in my water? It may be my imagination but I think I even smell chlorine in the shower. I have tried adding a Campden tablet to my brewing water to little effect. I have thought of brewing with bottled water as a test to see if the local city provided stuff is the problem. Do you think this is a good approach, or do you see some other brewing aspect I am missing? How can I, other than giving up my job and moving back to Montana, get back to brewing wonderful beers?

A
You are one of those patients who comes in to the doctor’s office with a cold and already have your mind made up about the cause! Since you are convinced that you
Response by Ashton Lewis.