Water, Water, Everywhere, But Only Beer to Drink

From tap water to reverse osmosis (RO) home water filtration systems, this session will review the basics for treating water for the homebrewer. The presentation is directed toward those that are new to homebrewing and would like information about making improvements to their water to improve the quality of their homebrews. We look at the information that is generally available from municipal water sources and what chemistry is the most important for the homebrewer to understand. We also explore the full spectrum of water options, from tap water to distilled and RO treated water, and diluting tap water with distilled. We address the use of tap installed filtration systems and the benefits, drawbacks, and costs associated. We then spend some time on basic water chemistry and the addition of chemicals that will help with certain beer styles, cover ways to lower the pH of your water (no matter the source), and look at the addition of acids and the role roasted barely (dark roasts) have on lowering the pH of your water.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore the benefits and drawbacks of using municipal water versus distilled or filtered water for your homebrews
  • Review the costs and benefits of various ways to filter or distill water
  • Discuss pH and its effects on enzymes, yeast, and the style of beer you are brewing
  • Understand how to use of chemicals and acids to improve the efficiency and efficacy of your brew water, including healthy enzymes and yeast cells

About the Speaker

Josh Peacock first started homebrewing in the 1990s when the quality and array of ingredients were not what they are today. He gave away his brewing gear in 2012 and immediately regretted the choice, and has been home brewing again since 2014. His favorite beer styles to brew are American IPA, American Porter, almost anything Belgian, and a clone of Dupont Saison.

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