Author Topic: Beer Water  (Read 797 times)

Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Beer Water
« on: February 18, 2020, 02:29:17 PM »
After brewing for 20+ plus years, we have simply used RO water for 100% of the beers we have made. That is, no additions. No minerals at all. None.
And guess what? The beers have all been extremely good.
 
Just finished up another Czech Pils, triple decoction mash, with 100% RO water.
Our next brew will be a German Pils...something like a Bitburger. Might use a 50/50 split of RO plus regular local tap water (charcoal filtered).

I honestly think you can brew excellent beers with whatever water you wish to use, or whatever is available to you.
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Offline denny

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2020, 03:01:23 PM »
After brewing for 20+ plus years, we have simply used RO water for 100% of the beers we have made. That is, no additions. No minerals at all. None.
And guess what? The beers have all been extremely good.
 
Just finished up another Czech Pils, triple decoction mash, with 100% RO water.
Our next brew will be a German Pils...something like a Bitburger. Might use a 50/50 split of RO plus regular local tap water (charcoal filtered).

I honestly think you can brew excellent beers with whatever water you wish to use, or whatever is available to you.

Glad it works for you, but my own experience contradicts your last sentence.  I make a lot of my beers without needing water treatment, but some styles are much better if I treat the water.  IIRC, you brew German lagers almost exclusively. I think if you brewed other styles your experience would be different.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2020, 03:09:34 PM »
I make a lot of light lagers and ales. My water is terrible for that. Can I make a drinkable beer - yes. Does that beer taste right for the style - NO.

I use RO water, and just enough minerals and acid to hit my target pH, and get the flavor I want.

On brewery tours one can often observe shipping pallets  with bags of Gypsum and/or Epsom Salt.
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2020, 03:14:04 PM »
After brewing for 20+ plus years, we have simply used RO water for 100% of the beers we have made. That is, no additions. No minerals at all. None.
And guess what? The beers have all been extremely good.
 
Just finished up another Czech Pils, triple decoction mash, with 100% RO water.
Our next brew will be a German Pils...something like a Bitburger. Might use a 50/50 split of RO plus regular local tap water (charcoal filtered).

I honestly think you can brew excellent beers with whatever water you wish to use, or whatever is available to you.

Glad it works for you, but my own experience contradicts your last sentence.  I make a lot of my beers without needing water treatment, but some styles are much better if I treat the water.  IIRC, you brew German lagers almost exclusively. I think if you brewed other styles your experience would be different.

Historically speaking, the European brewers used the local water. This might be true for the Brits also.
It is doubtful that the early (18th / 19th century) breweries did much if any water treatment.
So the beer was made with whatever was locally available. Yes, that did (and does) influence the flavor profile.

Soft water being prevalent in these styles, what do I need to make a decent Stout? It can be Irish, British, or American.
What do you recommend? Do we need hard water?
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Offline narvin

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2020, 03:21:49 PM »
No acid additions?

You can make good beer a lot of ways.  You might be getting a pH drop from the decoctions.  For a czech pilsner you might actually like the wort darkening from the high boil pH.  But in general, for beers under 20 SRM I think distilled by itself is a terrible choice.  I haven't like the results for german pilsners or IPAs, on two different ends of the style spectrum.

Edit: I don't particularly like distilled water for darker beers either, however at least the pH is generally closer to what I want using soft water.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2020, 03:42:24 PM by narvin »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2020, 03:39:21 PM »
Historically the Beer of Munich was Dunkel, today they adjust the water to brew more Helles than Dunkel.

This is by Martin Brungard, who posts here too. Reading this might take awhile, but once you get through it, many of your questions should be answered.

https://www.brunwater.com/water-knowledge

Time to shovel some snow, which I'm becoming tired of doing.
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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2020, 04:01:32 PM »
Historically the Beer of Munich was Dunkel, today they adjust the water to brew more Helles than Dunkel.

This is by Martin Brungard, who posts here too. Reading this might take awhile, but once you get through it, many of your questions should be answered.

https://www.brunwater.com/water-knowledge

Time to shovel some snow, which I'm becoming tired of doing.

Shoveling snow? I spent the first two decades of my life doing that, in Northern Iowa. Brutal winters. But good water!
Thanks for the link.
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Offline Kevin

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2020, 04:11:44 PM »
I found this in one of Ron Pattinson's articles on English brewing history from the mid 1800's...

Water-treatment was recommended for those with water that was too soft. "When waters run off moors and fens, and the brewers in certain districts are compelled to use them for want of better, it will be found desirable to impregnate them second hand with gypsum, or with such limestones as are easily procurable." (Source: "The Theory and Practice of Brewing" by W.L. Tizard, London, 1846, page 118.)

Water chemistry was well known and well studied in the 1800's. The industrial revolution after all began in the mid to late 1700's so they weren't buffoons stumbling around in the dark in the 18th and 19th century. However, while they certainly knew what was in the local water, their treatment was pretty basic as indicated in the above quote.

It was the late 1800's when brewers in the UK began to create specific water profiles to match the beers they wanted to produce. In this article Ron reproduces an article from a brewing trade publication from 1893... https://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-salts-of-brewing-waters-part-two.html



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Offline Bel Air Brewing

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2020, 04:27:14 PM »
I found this in one of Ron Pattinson's articles on English brewing history from the mid 1800's...

Water-treatment was recommended for those with water that was too soft. "When waters run off moors and fens, and the brewers in certain districts are compelled to use them for want of better, it will be found desirable to impregnate them second hand with gypsum, or with such limestones as are easily procurable." (Source: "The Theory and Practice of Brewing" by W.L. Tizard, London, 1846, page 118.)

Water chemistry was well known and well studied in the 1800's. The industrial revolution after all began in the mid to late 1700's so they weren't buffoons stumbling around in the dark in the 18th and 19th century. However, while they certainly knew what was in the local water, their treatment was pretty basic as indicated in the above quote.

It was the late 1800's when brewers in the UK began to create specific water profiles to match the beers they wanted to produce. In this article Ron reproduces an article from a brewing trade publication from 1893... https://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-salts-of-brewing-waters-part-two.html

Thanks, good to know.
Just got off the phone with the local water company. They are going to provide a full analysis of the chemical composition of our tap water, every two months.
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Offline denny

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2020, 04:35:30 PM »
I found this in one of Ron Pattinson's articles on English brewing history from the mid 1800's...

Water-treatment was recommended for those with water that was too soft. "When waters run off moors and fens, and the brewers in certain districts are compelled to use them for want of better, it will be found desirable to impregnate them second hand with gypsum, or with such limestones as are easily procurable." (Source: "The Theory and Practice of Brewing" by W.L. Tizard, London, 1846, page 118.)

Water chemistry was well known and well studied in the 1800's. The industrial revolution after all began in the mid to late 1700's so they weren't buffoons stumbling around in the dark in the 18th and 19th century. However, while they certainly knew what was in the local water, their treatment was pretty basic as indicated in the above quote.

It was the late 1800's when brewers in the UK began to create specific water profiles to match the beers they wanted to produce. In this article Ron reproduces an article from a brewing trade publication from 1893... https://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-salts-of-brewing-waters-part-two.html

Thanks, good to know.
Just got off the phone with the local water company. They are going to provide a full analysis of the chemical composition of our tap water, every two months.

I'll be curious to see it.  Most water companies don't provide all the info you need for brewing.  Thats why many of us get an analysis from Ward Labs.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2020, 04:59:46 PM »
They will report the primary requirements as required by law. We want the secondary, which are often not reported. I sent water to Ward labs.
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Offline PORTERHAUS

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2020, 05:00:23 PM »
I brew more middle of the road beers...Pale/Amber Ales, Bitters, Porters, Stouts which my water does very well with but I still have to acidify or add alkalinity depending and I have gotten away from chasing any water profiles or doing any more adjustments then necessary. I do not brew many light beers, pale beers, lagers but when I do I certainly have to adjust for those. Beer is pretty forgiving, if you enjoy the end result now, makes you wonder how much better they could be or maybe not. Have you ever checked mash ph or boil ph to see where you are ending up for these lagers?

On a side note, my last Kolsch I pre-boiled the water and I swear I made one of the best beers I ever have, certainly better than any other Kolsch where I only adjusted the mash with acid. I don't really know if the processes are doing something different, but I seem to have experienced different results.

Offline Silver_Is_Money

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2020, 05:23:05 PM »
Bavarian or Czech Pilsner via triple decoction implies the use of water that is very close to being RO, so I can see where you have been generally satisfied with using RO for this style.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2020, 07:43:11 PM »
Bavarian or Czech Pilsner via triple decoction implies the use of water that is very close to being RO, so I can see where you have been generally satisfied with using RO for this style.

Not all water in Bavaria is soft, or close to RO. The water in the Bamberg area is hard enough that you don't get much soap lather. One guy told me had had a water softener and blended, then I saw it in the corner of the brewery.

Some Brewers have deep Wells to access better water. The one at Ayinger is 603 meters deep! They do blend with a shallow well for more alkalinity when brewing dark beers.

Traunstein has a deep well, I saw water bubbling up in a courtyard and the guide said it was water from their deep well (artesian?). Augustiner is said to have one too, but they don't do tours.
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Offline denny

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Re: Beer Water
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2020, 08:20:27 PM »
Bavarian or Czech Pilsner via triple decoction implies the use of water that is very close to being RO, so I can see where you have been generally satisfied with using RO for this style.

Not all water in Bavaria is soft, or close to RO. The water in the Bamberg area is hard enough that you don't get much soap lather. One guy told me had had a water softener and blended, then I saw it in the corner of the brewery.

Some Brewers have deep Wells to access better water. The one at Ayinger is 603 meters deep! They do blend with a shallow well for more alkalinity when brewing dark beers.

Traunstein has a deep well, I saw water bubbling up in a courtyard and the guide said it was water from their deep well (artesian?). Augustiner is said to have one too, but they don't do tours.

Isn't it amazing how these myths persist?
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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