Water – A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers | Book Review

Water A comprehensive guide for brewers

A whole book on water might seem excessive, but this is a very important ingredient for brewers and if you mishandle this basic element you aren’t making the best brew you can make! The book is loaded with sweet pictures, information, chemical formulas – But is it for you?

New yeast strains are becoming widely available, malsters have new markets for their specialty malts, and hop growers are constantly being asked for new varieties, all to satisfy the creative needs of new brewers. But water? Well, water comes from a hole in the ground.” – Water, A comprehensive Guide for Brewers

Before reading this book I knew that different water gives beer different tastes, even if all the other ingredients are equal. The best example from personal experience is Carlsberg Pilsner. Here in Norway its brewed on license and use the same yeast, grains, and hops as the traditional Carlsberg Pilsner does back “home” in Denmark. The one difference between the two is the water. This makes them taste different, even when dressed up in the same label if you are familiar enough with both versions.

The chemical composition of the water is key to this difference and the secret behind that is the main core of this book. How do you keep that topic interesting for 300 pages? For a book on water, it’s incredibly dry (I’m allowed one of these), and at times extremely technical. It could use a tad more colorful language to flush away (Ok, two is the perfect amount) some of the dullness in my opinion.

“The microbes in digesters are no more immune to hops and sanitizers than other beer spoilage microbes. The relatively recent emphasis on IPA’s and dry hopping has caused problems for several breweries that treat their own waste, as hops can inhibit both bugs and treatment.” – Water, A comprehensive Guide for Brewers

But, even if it is very technical and requires some knowledge in chemistry, most of which I’ve forgotten from my high school days, to be honest, there is a lot of practical information that most brewers – of any size and base – can pick up and use straight from the book pages. How to manipulate your water to make your brew taste differently is presented very well in the book (I’ve even had the chance to use it as a helping hand for doing this with recipes several times).

For the dreamer who wants to open up a brewery, of the larger caliber, there’s a lot of information on how to get water in and out of your brewery – And even parts on how to keep everything in-house, like Sierra Nevada Brewing Co does, paired with very illustrative photos from Sierra Nevada.

For the casual homebrewer that is interested in kicking the quality of her beer up a notch, or wants to experiment without too much effort, this is a gold mine – If you have the patience to sift through a thick book on water.

water beer book 2



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  1. It makes me wonder if water needs to part of the brewery to be pure enough for the general population. Regardless of taste. In the US, there are all kinds of localized disasters regarding water. In ancient Greece, water was mixed with wine, to purify it.

    Liked by 1 person

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