Water for Brewing

Regardless of the recipe for your next beer most of it will be water. Most tap water in Australia is very good for making beer. However, the water authorities add chlorine based products to your water to kill unwanted bugs of all kinds.

Unfortunately chlorine is not a desirable flavour for any beer style. The chlorine bonds with the hop compounds which gives your beer an undesirable harsh taste. Traditionally chlorine alone was added to your water and it could be easily boiled off. Now the more stable chloramines are added to your water and these can’t be boiled off.

So what can you do?

If you have a few hundred dollars you can buy a charcoal water filter (that is rated to remove chloramines) or a reverse osmosis unit. A cheaper alternative is adding some potassium metabisulphate ( a strong reducing agent) to your water. Campden tablets, that are used in wine making, are made of potassium metabisulphate. All you need is ¼ tablet per 30 litres of water to remove both chlorine and chloramines. Crush* the needed amount and add it to the water before you boil it. It is a good idea to boil all water that is going to end up as beer even if you let it cool before use.

At $5 for 50 campden tablets, this is enough for 6000 litres of water, this is a cheap method to easily improve your beer.

* Potassium metabisulphate may cause skin and eye irritation so wear gloves and eye protection when crushing the tablet.

Brew Well

Barry Cranston