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Removing Chloramines

by Alberta Rager
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Tips & Tidbits

Removing Chloramines

It is important that brewers remove chlorine from brewing water to prevent the formation of chlorophenols which are formed when chlorine combines with various compounds in the finished beer. This results in a beer with medicinal and/or plastic-like aromas and flavors often described as Band-Aid-like or spicy like cloves.

Chlorine can simply be removed by boiling. Many cities now rely on chloramines to sanitize the civic water supply. Chloramines are not removed by boiling. They can be removed with a carbon filter or the addition of metabisulfite either sodium or potassium. Many wine makers use metabisulfite in the form of campden tablets.

Metabisulfite will remove chlorine from water treated with sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or chloramines. Chlorine is converted to chloride and sulfite into sulfate when using metabisulfite for chloramine removal. Both chloride and sulfate are normal constituents of water having no effect on aroma. In fact many brewers add chloride in the form of calcium chloride and sulfate in the form of calcium sulfate (gypsum) to their brewing water.

One campden tablet can remove chlorine and chloramines from 20 gallons of water. This reaction occurs very quickly. Just dissolve the metabisulfite (campden tablet) in the water and let it sit for a couple minutes. You are finished with the dechlorination process and ready to brew.

The metabisulfite method of removing chlorine and chloramines is fast acting, easy to do and very effective.

This article was published on Thursday May 14, 2009.
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