Chapter 20

Brewery Cleaning And Sanitation

Water Quality

Water plays a large role in the cleaning and sanitizing process and is the liquid medium that carries, in dissolved form, the various specialized cleaning agents. In fact, water itself actually facilitates the breakdown reactions of various soils, where acids and alkalis act as catalysts to speed up this reaction. Impurities in water can significantly reduce the effectiveness of the cleaning and sanitizing chemicals. Most municipal water that has been properly treated to keep microorganism below harmful levels is fine to use for rinsing. Well-water may however contain high levels or bacteria that could affect the beer, unless it is properly treated. In general, water should be potable, free from suspended particulates, and low in compounds that impart odor and flavor (e.g., earthy or musty odors).

Mineral Content

Potable water contains a number of positive ions (cations) such as sodium (Na⁺), potassium (K⁺), calcium (Ca2⁺), magnesium (Mg2⁺), and iron (Fe2⁺). Counterbalancing the cations are the anions, negatively charged ions such as chlorides (Cl¯), carbonates (CO2¯), bicarbonates (HCO3¯), sulfates (SO42¯), and phosphates (PO4³¯). The bicarbonates and carbonates dissolved in water play a large role in water chemistry. Water contains varying amounts of calcium, magnesium and other alkali metals, that, collectively, contribute to hardness. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) definition for water hardness levels is shown in Table 20.1.

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