Several of us just attended the AHA’s conference in Philadelphia and had a great time. One of the seminars was on water chemistry, and a few people asked about Jersey City’s tap water, and if spring water should be used instead. You’ll be thrilled to hear that Jersey City has perfectly fine tap water that can be used in most styles of beer.
There are a few exceptions, of course. You may want to use reverse osmosis or distilled water to get a blank slate, so you can reach your exact target through various additives. Or you might want to use some spring water, if you want very soft water for a style like a Pilsner. Don’t forget though, that beer needs mineral content to be good beer, so don’t assume that minerals are bad!
If you do encounter a smell or taste of chlorine in your water, just run the tap for a minute or two until it goes away. If it still persists, boiling will remove chlorine content, as well as reduce the hardness of the water.
Jersey City Water Profile
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Est 210
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm 0.35
Cations / Anions, me/L 2.9 / 2.8
parts per million (ppm)
Sodium (Na) 39
Potassium (K) < 1
Calcium (Ca) 15
Magnesium (Mg) 5
Total Hardness (CaCO3) 58
Nitrate (NO3-N) 0.3 (SAFE)
Sulfate (SO4-S) 4
Chloride (Cl) 70
Carbonate (CO3) < 1
Bicarbonate (HCO3) 34
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 28
“<” – Not Detected / Below Detection Limit
I have also compiled a spreadsheet of water profile for most of the major bottled water brands available in the US, as well as a few tap water profiles for cities in the area, and a few other major cities for comparison. Please download it here, and feel free to give feedback!
By the way, there’s another tab called “Info” on that spreadsheet if you’re curious about the source of data. Some of the bottled brands only gave a range of values, and not an average, so do with that what you will.