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Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements) Paperback – October 7, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"If you don't get the water right, neither will you succeed with the beer. Water is a precious commodity, from its availability, through its quality, right to its departure down the drain. It demands respect and that is precisely what it receives in this book, which is packed with valuable information, calculations and lines for brewers large and small." -- Charles Bamforth, Professor of Malting & Brewing Sciences, University of California "In addition to extracting nuggets from the literature, the authors have drawn on the knowledge of experienced brewers ... and those who have developed software for doing some of the complex calculations and experiments. With such a breadth of sources, this book will either answer your brewing water questions or have you well on the way to those answers." -- From the Foreword by A J deLange, Water Researcher/Homebrewer "I have worked with water my entire engineering career and I know the intricacies of typical water treatment and utilisation. Brewing water needs are a unique aspect that have received little research or explanation in the past. This book assembles a wide variety of information focused on the specialised water needs in brewing and makes it accessible to all brewers. The treatment of brewing water can be as simple or complicated as a brewer wants to make it, but any brewer will find things in this book that can make their beer better." -- Martin Brungard, Water Resource Engineer/Homebrewer

About the Author

John Palmer is the best-selling author of How to Brew, and the co-author of Brewing Classic Styles. He is also the co-host the popular brewing podcast, Brew Strong. John is a metallurgical engineer by trade, and is intrigued by the processes of brewing from an engineer’s point of view, including malting, mashing, water chemistry, lautering, clarity, color, and foam retention. John was born in Midland, MI and currently resides in California.

Colin Kaminski’s brewing career started as the product designer at Beer, Beer and More Beer, designing more than 180 products including the Peltier cooled conical fermentor. Colin has written on a variety of topics including lutherie, holography, solar astronomy and beer. He has been the Master Brewer at Downtown Joe’s Brewery since 2003. Colin resides in California

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Product Details

  • Series: Brewing Elements
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Brewers Publications (October 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0937381993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0937381991
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just like every other book I've read on brewing water, it seems that the relevant material is buried within a plethora of unnecessary information. How many home brewers require a knowledge of "Wort ph as a function of roasting time and temperature"? Moles, Mill-equivalents and Equilibrium Constants? Approximate relationship between CO2 and Total Alkalinity in pure water? How many home-brewers know (or want to know) how to read: 40g Ca^2 + 122g HCO3^-1 <-> 100g CaCo3 + 44g CO2 + 18g H2O? I was overwhelmed and turned off by such data because it is presented prior to really getting to the stuff for which I purchased the book.

That said, there is a treasure trove of good information here if you can slog your way through to it. Perhaps the uber technical stuff should be included as an appendix and referenced as needed in the text for those interested.

Maybe I don't know what it is I need to know, but what I wanted to know was:

1. What are the ideal ranges of water ph and mineral profiles for various beer styles. NOT the water profile of the town that the style was originally brewed.
2. How to understand the properties of the water I am using.
3. The importance of the mash ph and how water alkalinity and grain bill help to approach the target (RA). Then how to adjust the ph if it is out of the acceptable range. Not in moles, mill-equivalents or furlongs per fortnight but grams/ml per gallon mash.
4. The affect of mineral levels and ratios on beer flavor, head retention, hop utilization, etc. Then how to adjust my water to achieve these levels.

While most of this information is included it is a hard read getting there. The additional uber technical info just seemed to complicate (obfuscate) the necessary information. Just one guys thoughts.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Water" is the third book in the Brewing Elements series, after "Yeast" (Zainasheff/White) and "Hops" (Heironymous). This is easily the most technical book of the three. Like the other books, this is targeted at both home brewers and professional brewers, so there are a couple chapters in there that most homebrewers will gloss over (e.g. waste water treatment). However, there is a wealth of information that can help the homebrewer improve the quality of his/her beer.

While the book does not shy away from the technical details, it remains fairly readable, even to someone like me who has not thought about chemistry since high school. While many chemical equations are included, they are largely unnecessary (albeit helpful) to understanding the bulk of the material. Where one absolutely must think about techincal details, the authors do a good job of simplifying the computations as they apply to actually making beer.

One highlight of the book is that it heavily incorporates the (recent) research of noted homebrewers such as Brungard, deLange, and Troester. I personally have been going mostly off of the writings of these three (on various websites and forums) for my knowledge of brewing water up until now; I am excited to have this information synthesized in one place.

The book also includes several examples of how to take a target water profile and modify it to brew a particular style of beer. Along with the general guidelines presented, the reader should be able to then apply these principles to their own water and beer styles they are brewing. Like the "Yeast" book, I see this becoming one of the brewing books I pull off the shelf most frequently.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A much awaited book on water chemistry and treatment for brewers is finally here. Was it worth the wait?

First of all a criticism - the authors, reviewers and forward note editor imply that there has never been a (single) book of its kind covering the vast topic of water chemistry for brewers - at least not in recent times, in English or with the requisite technical depth for professional brewers. Well they all missed a big fish here (I add the same levity they do in using water terms in a humorous way to open up their topics). I refer to the title: Water in Brewing in the European Brewery Convention Manual of Good Practice Series. 2001 Fachverlag Hans Carl ISBN 3-418-00778-3. With no mention of this book in Palmer and Kaminski's work it's a huge oversight on their part. (Furthermore there are other treatises on brewing water treatment as published conference proceedings out there also not referenced by Palmer and Kaminski. So they missed a lot of crucial literature along the way). That being said and, while there is a lot of overlap in coverage of topics in the two volumes discussed here, the new work has brought together a stellar amount of material and reduced it to a level that will - after some effort (it ain't that easy folks to understand this topic - muddy waters always for all of us here) be amenable to novice chemists and will help more brewers understand the calculations that may help them make better beer.

The book covers the usual waves of information - how to read a water report and the importance of the presence or absence of each mineral ion and many organic components (the latter well covered in the EBC manual also).
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