Removing Chlorine from Brewing Water

Learn the science behind the most common methods of removing chlorine from your brew water to ensure your beer is free of off flavors.

| July 2019

Getty Images/JupiterImages

Microbiological contamination is the main concern of any municipal water supplier. These contaminants can be bacteria or other organisms such as cryptosporidium and giardia intestinalis. Residual disinfection is needed to profide constant protection after the water leaves the treatment plant. A good disinfectant is a strong and lingering disinfectant – one that doesn’t lose effectiveness over time as the water sits in a tank or pipe.

Low-flow regions of piping or “dead legs” can be a particular problem in breweries because the chlorine/chloramine residual disinfectants have typically been removed to prevent off-flavors in beer, such as chlorophenols. Bacteria can form deposits or biofilms in low-flow regions that are subsequently hard to disinfect because the thickness of the deposit can prevent cleaners and sanitizers from reaching the entire colony.

However, with good sanitation practices in the brewery, getting rid of the chlorine and chloramine in the first place is the challenge. Chlorine disinfectant is either added as “free chlorine” or chloramine. Water may be chlorinated at several places in the initial treatment process and the chlorination level may be adjusted throughout the year. Free chlorine is the older method of chlorination that produces hypochlorite ion OClin the water to oxidize and kill organisms.

When chlorine is dissolved in water the following reaction takes place:

CL2 +H20 <-> H+1 + CL -1 + HOCl (hypochlorous acid)



Learn at Home!

Register now to get access to ALL current video workshops and prerecorded webinars plus anything new that we add through the end of 2020.


Become a Fermentation Member Today!


Discover how EASY and HEALTHY crafting your own money-saving fermented masterpieces can be. 

Transform mealtimes like never before and stay healthy at the same time with a one-year membership to Fermentation for only $29.95. Learn to regularly include fermented food and drinks in your diet naturally, combat bad bacteria and strengthen your immune system.

Fermentation will open up your world to the foods you can eat to improve your health. You'll learn how to make them, how they originated and what tools and ingredients you'll need to create your own delicious fermented foods and drinks. Become a member today and save as much as 25% off the newsstand price!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter