Chapter 5

Brewing Water

Evaluation of Brewing Water

The mineral content of brewing water has long been recognized as making an important contribution to the flavor of beer. This is especially important since water composes more than 90% of the beer. Brewers interested in brewing a particular beer style first need to evaluate whether or not the their water is suitable by comparing it to the water analyses of a flagship brewery or to the water used to produce the beer style in the regions of its origin. For example, the water of Dublin for stouts, the water of Burton-on-Trent for dry, hoppy pale ales and so on.

Historically, different regions have become famous for their classic beer styles as defined by the waters available for brewing. For example, the famous brewing waters from the deep wells at Burton-on-Trent are known for their excellent qualities in brewing full-flavored pale ales. Burton water is high in permanent hardness because of the high calcium and sulfate content, but it also has a lot of temporary hardness from a high level of bicarbonate. Munich water is poor in sulfates and chloride but contains carbonates, which are not very desirable for pale beers but ideal for producing darker, mellower lagers.

Click on the following topics for more information on brewing water.