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  • Writer's pictureSpectrum Master Brewer

Water Chemistry in Home Brewing: The Liquid Blueprint of Your Brew

Water, often overlooked, is the unsung hero of every brew. While malt, hops, and yeast often steal the limelight, understanding water chemistry in home brewing is pivotal for those aiming to craft exceptional beers.


1. The Importance of Water: Making up over 90% of most beers, water's mineral content, pH level, and overall quality can profoundly influence the beer's taste, clarity, and mouthfeel.


2. Water Profiles: Different beer styles have historically been brewed in regions with specific water profiles. Whether it's the gypsum-rich waters of Burton-on-Trent for IPAs or the soft waters of Pilsen for Pilsners, matching water profiles can make a world of difference.


3. pH Levels: The pH level of your mash can affect enzyme activity and, consequently, the efficiency of sugar extraction. A pH of around 5.2-5.6 is typically ideal for mashing.


4. Brewing Salts: By adding brewing salts like gypsum (calcium sulfate) or calcium chloride, brewers can adjust their water profile to suit specific beer styles. But remember, less is often more!


5. Chlorine and Chloramine: These water additives can lead to off-flavours in beer. Using campden tablets or activated carbon filters can help remove them from your brewing water.


6. Water Reports: Many local water utilities provide water reports detailing the mineral content. This information is invaluable for brewers looking to dive deep into water chemistry in home brewing.


7. Experiment and Adjust: Like all aspects of home brewing, mastering water chemistry is a journey. Start with simple adjustments, take notes, and refine your approach with each brew.


Understanding water chemistry in home brewing might seem like venturing into the deep end, but the rewards are worth the effort. By giving water the attention it deserves, you can unlock new dimensions of flavour, clarity, and quality in your brews.


So, the next time you're brewing, remember that water isn't just the medium; it's the canvas on which all other ingredients paint their flavours. Here's to crafting beers that not only quench thirst but also captivate the palate!

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