An Introduction to Water Chemistry in Brewing
October 27, 2015
When I began Home-brewing, I had no idea that one day, six years later, I would be emailing the head of my city's water department to ask how much calcium, bicarbonate, and magnesium was in my drinking water. Water makes up more than 90% of the beer, but it rarely gets any of the press. Hops, malt, and even yeast get more of the attention than water does. The contribution that hops make to a beer is obvious, especially with the popularity of hop-forward American styles. Drink an English porter, Irish stout, or German Vienna Lager, and the flavor that malt adds to a beer becomes obvious. The growing popularity of Belgian-style Farmhouse Saisons shows that we can appreciate the phenol and ester compounds that yeast bring to the party. The common denominator between all these varied styles is water, but what does it do for the beer?