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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Hops utilization in hard water
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Old 03-12-2008, 02:10 AM   #1
Fingers
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Default Hops utilization in hard water

So I've heard lots of vague references to enhanced hop utilization in hard water, but nothing concrete. I seem to be experiencing this so I'm going to try really hard to remember to get a water sample in to be tested when I go to the city on Friday.

Does anyone have any knowledge as to which component(s) of water contribute this effect and by what degree? There is an area in Beersmith that you can input your water profile. Will Beersmith use this profile in my recipes to compensate for my bittering?


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Old 03-12-2008, 02:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fingers
So I've heard lots of vague references to enhanced hop utilization in hard water, but nothing concrete. I seem to be experiencing this so I'm going to try really hard to remember to get a water sample in to be tested when I go to the city on Friday.

Does anyone have any knowledge as to which component(s) of water contribute this effect and by what degree? There is an area in Beersmith that you can input your water profile. Will Beersmith use this profile in my recipes to compensate for my bittering?
Hop utilization AFAIK has little to do with water hardness but sulphates enhance hop presence in beer.


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Old 03-12-2008, 02:29 AM   #3
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If I remember correctly, it's not hop utilization, but astringency and harshness that are enhanced by too much calcium carbonate (gypsum) aka "hard water".

Man, that's some bad English...

Hard water, due to too much calcium carbonate (gypsum), enhances the bitterness of the hops and makes it taste more astringent, not hoppier. Utilization has nothing to do with it.

There, that's better...
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:57 PM   #4
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What I've heard is that it actually extracts more alpha acids. I guess more research is in order.

Anyway, I managed to hunt down a couple of properly prepared sample bottles despite the ambivalence of the front desk clerk in my local office who was unable to perform the duties of a front desk clerk. Apparently I'm to give a **** that it's been a couple of years since she's worked the front desk and a cursory search of the office supplies suffices as an attempt to locate the laboratory sample bottles. Thankfully someone died and I had to go to a funeral in another town. Their office was manned by a fellow who managed to locate a couple of jars and, with my not insignificant help, properly identify them as the correct recepticle. Now all there is to do it to remember to fill one and bring to the lab on Friday. The odds are not good.
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Old 03-13-2008, 01:02 AM   #5
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Check out the JASBC. I know this has been covered in there before.

I also heard Jamil reference a soapy character occuring with hop utilization in low sulfate water. He didn't elaborate on the specifics, just that's what he and other brewers have noticed.

EDIT: In Brewing Science and Practice there's a section titled "3.6 - The effects of ions on the brewing process". It says the more acidic conditions reduce wort colour, hop utilization, and flavor a reduction in astringent flavors. My laptop battery is about to die, so I can't go into more detail right now, but I thought that was worth sharing.


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