Friday 6 May 2011

Liquor Treatment

So, now that I've got the more basic parts of brewing sorted it is time to deal with the aspect of brewing that leaves me cold. Water chemistry.

I was never much of a student at school and, although I loved chemistry dearly, Mrs Flowerdew seemed to take my enthusiasm for being a pain in the arse and issued me with minuses for effort on a monthly basis. Consequently, in spite of scoring a respectable, if not outstanding, 66% in the end of year exam, I was not selected to take the subject to O level. 

Couple that with a general crapness at maths and maybe you can begin to see my reticence to attempt water chemistry. 

Luckily for me at The Home Brew Forum they have a series of really useful calculators and together with a water report from my local water company, it completely demystified the whole process for me. Having said this, I've yet to brew a beer with the modified water, erm sorry liquor, so perhaps I ought to reserve judgement.

First things first, I needed to get a water quality report from my water provider. This proved to be easier than some pro brewers have found. I went on my water providers website and filled in the contact form, 10 days later (not bad given that we've had two consecutive bank holiday weekends) I have a water report from which I plug the relevant concentrations into the THBF's water treatment calculator, then choose a beer style from the drop down menu and away we go. 

The last word on water chemistry calculations should go to Yellerbelly Brewery who blogged about it a year ago. He keeps winning beer competitions so he must be doing something right and I suspect attention to detail is a large part of it.


  1. Nice blog. Thanks for the mention. Other than balancing alkalinity you can also transform the taste of a beer by tweaking the sulphate to chloride ratio.

    Have fun experimenting.

  2. You hit the jackpot with that water report. Mine doesn't even have a value for Calcium ppm!