When I first started brewing 10 years ago, I was just happy to see fermentation occur. Even to this day, it’s still pretty cool to check on the fermentor and see the krausen form on top of the beer.
As I gained more experience with brewing, I was no longer excited about the basics of the brewing process. I started to look into ways that would help separate my beer from the rest. As brewers, we are all using the same ingredients from the same suppliers, and aside from process differentiation I wanted find something that would set my beers apart from other beers.
So I started to look into water. When I first started brewing I was using distilled water from a local grocer. In 2013, I purchased the book titled “Water” written by John Palmer. This book helped focus on ways to make additions to water and to tailor the water profile to a specific style of beer. I also discovered a spreadsheet program called BruN’ Water that helps predict the effect those additions will have on the pH of the mash as well as the finished beer.
The primary minerals I focus on are calcium, sulfur, magnesium, sodium, and chloride. One could view these mineral additions as the way one would season their favorite proteins. Sure, it would taste fine on its own but add various seasonings to it and it enhances the flavor and the experience. This is the way I approach the mineral additions to the beer. Calcium and magnesium are essential for yeast, sodium for flavor, and the sulfur and chlorides effect whether a beer is perceived as dry or thirst quenching.
To ensure that Hiatus is using the best possible water for our beer, we will utilize a Reverse Osmosis system. This system is capable of making 200 gallons of fresh brewing water per day. It is an expense that other breweries may choose not to invest in, but we feel the benefits of this system will help us to craft a superior beer.
Enjoy a Hiatus,