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Old 01-31-2013, 08:31 PM   #11
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Forgive me for straying slightly off the topic but this has been in my head for awhile. It seems like when brewers exchange recipes, the last thing they discuss is water. I feel like it's one of those areas where you can really fine tune your beers but that many brewers don't look into it. I realize that some brewers might have great water for the styles that they normally brew so for them it's not a big deal to worry about water. But I just can't see homebrewers being able to brew a wide range of styles with the same water without ever looking into the water. There are certain recipes I have put together that would come out great for some people but terrible for others, based on their water. I talk with brewers all the time who say, "Oh, we have GREAT brewing water!" but I'm not sure you can say that about all styles. If someone had great, soft source water, you could say, "We have great water because it's soft and you can make certain styles as-is and others just need a small addition of [this] or [that]." But I can't see a blanket term "great water" covering the whole range of styles. Sorry for the rant, waterheads!

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Old 01-31-2013, 08:40 PM   #12
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It seems like when brewers exchange recipes, the last thing they discuss is water. I feel like it's one of those areas where you can really fine tune your beers but that many brewers don't look into it. I realize that some brewers might have great water for the styles that they normally brew so for them it's not a big deal to worry about water.
They are going to drift toward the recipes that come out well. Sound familiar?
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:47 PM   #13
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They are going to drift toward the recipes that come out well. Sound familiar?
Yes, it does. But that would mean that no one would ever say, "Hey, I want to make [this beer] which is a style that I rarely make. The last time I made it, it came out terrible... what should I do?".

I realize that there are many brewers out there who know that you may have to make water mods when making a style that is not compatible with their water but it seems like so many brewers out there have no idea what's in their water. I'm heading out to a brewpub tonight to see some of the local brewers and I guarantee that at some point I'm going to say something about chloride-to-sulfate ratios, water additions, diluting source water or residual alkalinity and a number of them will stare blankly at me while the crickets chirp. Oh well.
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:56 PM   #14
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Forgive me for straying slightly off the topic but this has been in my head for awhile. It seems like when brewers exchange recipes, the last thing they discuss is water. I feel like it's one of those areas where you can really fine tune your beers but that many brewers don't look into it. I realize that some brewers might have great water for the styles that they normally brew so for them it's not a big deal to worry about water. But I just can't see homebrewers being able to brew a wide range of styles with the same water without ever looking into the water. There are certain recipes I have put together that would come out great for some people but terrible for others, based on their water. I talk with brewers all the time who say, "Oh, we have GREAT brewing water!" but I'm not sure you can say that about all styles. If someone had great, soft source water, you could say, "We have great water because it's soft and you can make certain styles as-is and others just need a small addition of [this] or [that]." But I can't see a blanket term "great water" covering the whole range of styles. Sorry for the rant, waterheads!

well, I think for many of us, it's just understood that when you brew a Bohemian pilsner, you'll use almost-distilled water, and when you brew a stout that you'll use alkalinity to hit your mash pH target.

I don't think certain water is at all part of the recipe- instead proper brewing techniques include appropriate water for all styles.

That's why I HATE recipes that say "1 teaspoon of gypsum" in them, as an example. Really? What do they base this on? Their water? Everybody's? That's why I just think water is something you always deal with.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:03 PM   #15
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well, I think for many of us, it's just understood that when you brew a Bohemian pilsner, you'll use almost-distilled water, and when you brew a stout that you'll use alkalinity to hit your mash pH target.

I don't think certain water is at all part of the recipe- instead proper brewing techniques include appropriate water for all styles.

That's why I HATE recipes that say "1 teaspoon of gypsum" in them, as an example. Really? What do they base this on? Their water? Everybody's? That's why I just think water is something you always deal with.
Yes, I've seen people say to add a gram of whatever and of course you can't know how that will play out unless you know the water so I agree, that's annoying. I guess the issue is that I like many beer styles on the low end of the SRM range and my bicarbonate level does not play well with those styles so I have had to adjust. I have seen some really whacked-out water numbers posted by people and most of them realize the limitations of the water and make the proper adjustments. When I see a water report like Kevin's (with the high level of Na), I see that there are battles to be fought on all fronts as far as water goes. He may have to dilute to get his Na down the same way I dilute to get my bicarb down. There is a book coming out in the homebrewing series with Yeast, Hops, etc. and it's called Water. I believe John Palmer is a part of it. It doesn't come out until March or April 2013 but Amazon is taking preorders for something like $10 so I think I'll grab it just for grins. Cheers Beerheads.

Ps. The book on Water is HERE
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:06 PM   #16
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I don't think the book will be released in March, as last I heard John is still working on it. But yes, I think it would be a good bet for anybody who wants to go into what I think of as "The Final Frontier" of brewing and learn about water.

Really, beer is like 90% water so it's a huge ingredient and important in each brew.

I purchased my own RO water system last year, as I got tired of carrying water home from the store to mix with my tap water.

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Old 01-31-2013, 09:10 PM   #17
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I don't think the book will be released in March, as last I heard John is still working on it. But yes, I think it would be a good bet for anybody who wants to go into what I think of as "The Final Frontier" of brewing and learn about water.

Really, beer is like 90% water so it's a huge ingredient and important in each brew.

I purchased my own RO water system last year, as I got tired of carrying water home from the store to mix with my tap water.
Are you in Texas? I was just talking with two other Texans in the past week who both said, "Everyone I know who brews in TX has an RO system in their house!". At this point I have resolved to finding cheap distilled water and just grabbing as many as I can when I find it cheap. At least that way I know that all of the numbers are ZERO. I was getting bulk RO water from my grocery store and had a suspicion about it so I sent some to Ward Labs. Turns out the TDS number was 68 and the HCO3 number was 50! This is not good RO water so distilled for me from now on.

Also, Amazon says the book is coming out April 16. Should be good.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:15 PM   #18
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I don't think the book will be released in March, as last I heard John is still working on it.
It's supposed to go to the copy editor in the middle of Feb.
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Old 01-31-2013, 09:21 PM   #19
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It's supposed to go to the copy editor in the middle of Feb.
I'll be surprised if the book is a better resource on the subject than this forum to be honest. I'll definitely wait until the reviews are out on it before decide if I want to purchase it.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:26 PM   #20
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It's supposed to go to the copy editor in the middle of Feb.
Thanks for the update!
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