Observations On Water
Distillers cannot be too particular in selecting good water for
distilling, when about to erect distilleries.
Any water will do for the use of the condensing tubs or coolers, but
there are many kinds of water that will not answer the purpose of
mashing or fermenting to advantage; among which are snow and limestone
water, either of which possess such properties, as to require one fifth
more of grain to yie
d the same quantity of liquor, that would be
produced while using river water.
Any water will answer the distillers purpose, that will dissolve soap,
or will wash well with soap, or make a good lather for shaving.
River or creek water is the best for distilling except when mixed with
snow or land water from clay or ploughed ground. If no river or creek
water can be procured, that from a pond, supplied by a spring, if the
bottom be not very muddy will do, as the exposure to the sun, will
generally have corrected those properties inimical to fermentation. Very
hard water drawn from a deep well, and thrown into a cistern, or
reservoir and exposed to the sun and air for two or three days, has been
used in mashing with success, with a small addition of chop grain or
malt. I consider rain water as next in order to that from the river, for
mashing and fermentation. Mountain, slate, gravel and running water, are
all preferable to limestone, unless impregnated with minerals--many of
which are utterly at variance with fermentation. With few exceptions, I
have found limestone, and all spring water too hard for mashing,
scalding or fermenting.