Treated water affects beer quality
Have you ever considered how the minerals in your water affects the taste of your beer? Minerals can have either a positive or negative effect on flavor. The water concentration in beer is greater than 90 percent, which means that a higher quality water will produce a higher quality beer. Also the presence of minerals during the brewing process affects the brewing process itself.
The tips below can help you tweak your water quality and provide you a delicious and unique beer flavor.
- Treating your water supply with chlorine protects it from harmful bacteria, but chlorine may cause a bitter taste and kill some of naturally occurring bacteria necessary in the brewing process.
- Calcium and magnesium in the water supply can cause “hardness”. This is desirable in the brewing process at certain concentrations. Brewing experts say greater than 20/mg/l can cause taste issues. These elements can help balance the pH by controlling the acidity in the water, which is critical to keep happy bacteria and enzymes in the beer-making process. Magnesium is also used by enzymes within the yeast.
- Sodium can cause a salty taste. It can also act as a disinfectant, hurting the bacteria in the brewing process.
- Other elements, such as sulfates, zinc and copper are utilized in yeast metabolism, converting the sugar into alcohol (and carbon dioxide). Most of these elements can provide a unique change in flavor, but may be a negative attribute of the beer if there are high concentrations.
- Some beer recipes require no water treatment while others need a high level of treatment such as reverse osmosis.
So whether you are a larger brewer, restaurant or home brewer dabbling in beer making, it’s very important to understand your water source and if it requires treatment.
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