Homebrew Water Treatment – A Practical Guide | Forum

Topic location: Forum home » General » General Chat
li Jul 12 '17

I think that water treatment has made the biggest impact on the quality of my beers (besides fermentation temperature control and pitching more yeast). It has the greatest impact on very pale or dark beers, which both taste much smoother now that I adjust the various levels of ions in the water. That said if you are either just starting out or simply can't be bothered rest assured that you can still brew some very good beers without worrying too much about your water (read #6 anyway). Most of the water guides out there in books and online tend to be heavy on the “why” and light on the how. What follows is the water treatment process I go through for most of my batches. It is aimed at all-grain brewers. Malt extract contain all the minerals that were concentrated from the water that was used to brew it, so ideally you would be using distilled or reverse osmosis (RO) water to reconstitute it. You can still add some salts to the boil for flavor, but in most cases if you are using moderate tap water you probably already have more than enough ions. In my experience it is not a good idea to copy historic or famous water sources (Dublin, Munich, Burton-on-Trent etc…). The brewers in these areas often go to great lengths to treat their water to make it suitable for brewing, it is much easier to start from your local water and tweak it to make an ideal water for the beer you are brewing. I have made several below par beers simply by dumping water adjustment salts (Epsom Salt, Table Salt, Calcium Chloride, Gypsum, Chalk, and Baking Soda) with no real concept of what levels were right for the type of beer I wanted to come out with, don't let this happen to you. 1. Research your water. The important ion concentrations to find out are calcium, sulfate, sodium, (bi)carbonate, chloride, and magnesium. I have always been able to get this info for my tap water off the city's water department website. ProMash has a very helpful tool that will calculate your Ca, Mg, or Alkalinity based on CaCO3. If your water department doesn't have a site, or the site doesn't have all the ions listed, trying emailing, or calling them. As a last resort you can send your water to a testing company like Ward Labs (Either test W-6 or W-5A).http://irowater.com

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