Water - More Than Just Wet!
I'm sure you know that beer is mostly water. Despite knowing this, a lot of brewers overlook the the simple fact that water quality and composition make a HUGE difference in the overall quality of a finished beer.
Brewers on city water will have a different water makeup than those of us on well water. City water can vary from city to city, and in cases like Saint John the water can vary depending on where in the city you live! For our local customers you can find out more about the makeup of Saint John city water, and download quality reports here.
You can of course have expensive testing done on your own household water to understand its composition, or you can use simple devices that a lot of homebrewers have like pH meters or strips. Other useful equipment like well water test kits and TDS meters can be purchased on Amazon for various prices and can give you a better idea of what minerals/chemicals may be present in your water.
But what good is knowing the properties of your brewing water without the means to correct deficiencies or make adjustments? Derek has begun sourcing some great additives you can use to get your water in tip top shape - or to alter it for specific reasons like creating more haze in those hoppy NEIPAs!
Gypsum is hydrated calcium sulphate used to correct mineral deficiencies in water which is to be used for brewing. It is used in de-mineralized or soft to medium hard water to increase permanent hardness. Used as directed, gypsum is effective in eliminating the variations in composition often encountered in water from surface sources. It will help establish proper pH of the mash and the wort and provide sufficient calcium ions essential for enzyme function, kettle protein coagulation and yeast metabolism.
All those big words can be summed up pretty quickly like this: if you have soft or medium water and you want to brew a hop forward beer, get yourself some gypsum! Gypsum will increase hop perception in beer and help those big flavours and aromas really shine through. Having the right water make up is so important for these hop forward beers that we have even included a water treatment - with gypsum - in our IPA brew boxes like Antilles!
Calcium chloride is anhydrous calcium chloride used to correct mineral deficiencies in water which is to be used for brewing. It is used in de-mineralized or soft to medium hard water to increase permanent hardness. Used as directed, calcium chloride is effective in eliminating the variations in composition often encountered in water from surface sources. It will help establish proper pH of the mash and the wort and provide sufficient calcium ions essential for enzyme function, kettle protein coagulation and yeast metabolism.
Adding Calcium chloride to deficient water can increase efficiency on your brew day and is also believed to promote fullness and sweetness in beer. It has also been shown to promote yeast health and growth during the fermentation process.
Citric Acid can be used to increase acidity of water and lower pH. While it will increase acidity in beer it will have minimal impact on flavour. Citric acid can be used in sours and Belgian style beers to increase tartness.
Lactic Acid lowers the pH of sparge water and can also be used in the creation of sour beers. Lactic acid can be used in a number of ways - so many so I could have researched and written an entire blog post about it. If you want to check out this article at hottohomebrewbeers.com you will get a quick view on how many uses this acid can have in the homebrewing process.
Is that enough science for the day for you? You can check out our entire list of additives and adjuncts for your beer here. Each product has descriptions and where applicable, directions for use.
We pride ourselves on selling high quality ingredients that can help make your beer the best it can be - but its important to not forget that beer is more than just grain & hops. If you have questions about how to get your water in tip top shape feel free to reach out to us anytime!