The Importance of Water in the Beer Crafting Process

Beer is composed of a more significant amount of water than anything‒ about 90 to 95 percent. Therefore, it’s one of the primary ingredients in beer crafting. The character of the water determines the taste of the brew to a large extent. Such characteristics include pH and mineral content. As a result, the water used depends on the flavor profile and type of beer produced.

Beer Crafting

Crafting is the process of making beer in small quantities compared to the large corporate breweries. Several people make their beer in countries where there aren’t restrictions on home brewing. Various people in different places have adapted the process. There are even pubs that brew their beer for sale like the Sea Dog Hull Restaurant.

Craft beer in America

Craft beer is popular in the United States, especially in places like Maine, which is known as the craft beer heaven. It’s a beer made on a small scale, rather than mass-produced. The history of craft beer in America dates back to the 1970s. It’s known to be traditional with rich, non-generic taste found on lots of the favorite pub menus. They thrive on their unique quality and diversity instead of advertising.

Water in Beer

Although other additives have their roles, it’s mostly the water that determines the beer’s character. This condition outlines the importance of testing and purifying your water before using it in the brewing process. It’s said that a beer with great taste is the direct result of a good water source. Below, we discuss the importance and effects of water in making craft beer.

Characteristics of Good Water

As with that for drinking, we can’t underestimate the importance of good water for brewing. It helps to know the desired character and the source you have so that you can take the appropriate measures to prepare it for use. It must be clean and odorless. It must be free of dissolved ions or at least have low ionic concentration. The water must also have optimal pH, which should be neutral or slightly alkaline (pH of about 7).

Minerals in Water

Minerals are usually present in water in the form of dissolved salts. They could react unexpectedly to the beer, giving an undesirable taste or flavor. Some of the ions include bicarbonates, chlorides, and sulfates, and they result in water hardness. Hence, there’s a need to decrease the amount of these minerals. Even though they’re sometimes added back into the brew, the removal serves to ensure that the brewer has control over their quantity.

Effects on the Beer

The minerals contained in the water give different qualities to the beer. Here are a few of them: the sulfate to chloride ratio provides seasoning for beer. It means that’s what determines the flavor and how the palate perceives it. Chlorine and water contaminants result in off-flavors and possibly smells. Calcium sulfate gives a crispy bitter taste, while calcium chloride provides a full sweetness.

Testing Water

You should test the water before you use it to know the character of the water that is available to you. Depending on the source‒well, tap, spring, etc.; the water could have distinct profiles with characteristics varying to different degrees. There are various tests to be carried out, and photometry kits are available for that. However, some brewers carry out the checks to ensure the quality of the water after purifying.

Water Purification

Purifying is the process of removing all the dissolved ions from the water. You can use different methods like reverse osmosis, particle filtration, and carbon filtration. Some of these procedures can be tedious and result in at least 25 percent loss of water. Therefore, for above-average results, water softeners or purification filters are recommended. They are connected to the water source and have high efficiency as they make use of advanced technology.

Alternative to the Purification Procedure

The purification helps to remove everything from the water, whether contaminant or not. Then the required minerals can be added in the appropriate quantities by the brewer to give the desired taste and texture. In an attempt to prevent having to purify the water themselves, some brewers make use of distilled water, but this can be quite expensive. A cheaper alternative would be spring water, but unfortunately, not everyone can have access to that.

Adding salts

Good knowledge of water chemistry is vital in this phase. As much as these salts (minerals) are necessary, adding them in the right quantity and proportion is key to achieving your desired results. Putting in too little may be ineffective, and too much will alter the features of the beer. You must, therefore, understand how they will affect pH after soaking the grains before use. Some experts recommend brewing without the salts and then adding them after.