The Secrets to Homebrewed Beer
May 13 – 19, 2013 is American Craft Beer Week, a time when small brewers and craft beer lovers across the country will raise a glass to their favorite craft brewed beer. While sipping a pint of one of your favorite beers, you may appreciate the hop and malt flavors, the fruity or spicy character from a distinct yeast strain, and the bracing acidity from a long secondary fermentation. You likely aren’t considering how the water used to make it can accentuate the in-your-face bitterness or how soft water can facilitate the pale color and delicate bitterness in your glass of pilsner. In fact water is often overlooked, but it’s the most abundant ingredient in beer and therefor plays the most important role in determining its flavor.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that water’s effect on beer was fully understood, however brewers did notice that certain areas were better for making certain types of beer. Today many brewers use their municipal water source but this can lead to problems due to the chlorine content. If the chlorine is not removed it can react with other ingredient and cause off-flavors. Beyond the chlorine, brewers still need to consider the various minerals dissolved in the water, or the water’s “hardness.” Reverse osmosis is the only economical way to reduce the water hardness. Using a RO filter on your water produces water that is virtually free of ions giving the brewer a blank slate on which any water chemistry profile can be constructed. Once water has been filtered through a reverse osmosis system, a desired amount of minerals can be added back in for taste and chemical function.
Whether you are an experienced brewer or have been recently considering embarking upon the art of homebrewed beer, water is the first ingredient that needs to be considered. If you reside in a portion of the country where hard water is abundant, it is important you invest in a reverse osmosis system. RO water filters are available in several models, both for residential and commercial use. Find your local water dealer (http://www.rayneoffullerton.com/index.php) and look into an under-the-sink water filter or a commercial reverse osmosis system. This will make brewing your own beer quick, easy, and tasty too.
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