- Series: Brewing Elements
- Paperback: 300 pages
- Publisher: Brewers Publications; 1st edition (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: 145 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements) Paperback – October 7, 2013
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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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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.
Another aspect that I never considered was water. In our region we had really hard water so I was surprised to learn that for a good Kölsch the water should be almost as clean as for a Pilsner. Apparently the concentration of anions like SO4(2-) can impact bitterness while Cl(-) enhances maltiness. I decided it's time to dust off my chemical knowledge and jump right into this book.
I tried to read it cover to cover but a lot of the content wasn't applicable to me. Some covered how professionals use water in all kinds of stages in the brewing process (a good read but nothing that affects me directly). Other chapters spent page after page dissecting the chemistry of different ions which is very interesting but if you have cheat sheets like the one offered by M. Brungard (who co-authored this book) you should not really need to remember any of this.
The biggest pet peeve of mine, however, is that the authors annotate the charges of ions wrong. They place the sign before the number. Brrrrr.
Other than that it is a very good read but with all the tools and apps/software packages available I wonder how much it really helps with your daily brew.