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Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements)
 
 

Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements) [Kindle Edition]

John Palmer , Colin Kaminski

Print List Price: 16.99
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Review

"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

Product Description

Water is arguably the most critical and least understood of the foundation elements in brewing beer. Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers, third in Brewers Publications’ Brewing Elements series, takes the mystery out of water’s role in the brewing process. The book leads brewers through the chemistry and treatment of brewing water, from an overview of water sources, to adjusting water for different beer styles, and different brewery processes, to wastewater treatment. The discussions include how to read water reports, understanding flavor contributions, residual alkalinity, malt acidity, and mash pH.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7845 KB
  • Print Length: 318 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0937381993
  • Publisher: Brewers Publications (16 Sep 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H90L7NI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #132,104 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Water book useful for Brewers, Distillers and Winemakers 29 Sep 2013
By Gary Spedding - Published on Amazon.com
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). Alkalinity calculations (the hardest shell to crack here for most non water chemists and mired in pre-calculator history and semantics) are detailed and related in-depth to mash chemistry. The topic was likely based on the stellar (and scattered) works of A.J. deLange who clearly assisted the authors in their own understanding here; numerous graphs and tables abound - though readers will still need to pour over them if they truly want to be able to get a grip on the topic and put the material to good use.

Up front the team tell us it is not just about emulating world class brewing style waters which is a bit odd as they then spend a good deal of the book illustrating water chemistry concepts by doing just that. Though again they do provide worked examples (that were seen in the odd journal or magazine article or brewing course here and there and in German treatises) that will be a boon to the reader. And a great basic math and chemistry refresher course for all of us. Towards the end brewery water utilities and processing along with the topic of wastewater are covered (as they are in the EBC Manual!) using some illustrations and examples from current craft breweries which is quite nice.

The book comes then with a wealth of information in one concise volume. (I still need to review and check through the calculations - water chemistry being is as difficult for me to comprehend and retain as working knowledge as for any other reader of this new volume.) Moreover, it comes at a price well less than the EBC Manuals of good practice, though I recommend anyone really serious about wading through the waters in the Palmer and Kaminski and deLange book to have the EBC Manual also on hand to add the final chapter in understanding the four key ingredients in making good beer. We should welcome the addition of this new book and thank the authors for getting to grips with a very complex subject in an admirable way. Set aside a good few hours to really digest this book's content. Be patient or it too will sit unused on many shelves as most of the other books on brewing water over the course of history tend to do (even the German language treatises). As mentioned in the header this book will be useful to all beverage manufacturers - soft drinks and alcoholic types - beer, wine and distilled spirits as already noted by one distiller in the review section here at Amazon.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent technical book 16 Oct 2013
By Drew - Published on Amazon.com
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.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful 28 Sep 2013
By Brian F - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Useful is the best way to describe this book. I am using it in reference to commercial distilling and it has already, in the one day I have had it, answered a number of questions I have had for years. I have spent 10x this much on books that didn't deliver. Very happy.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Everything you need to know times 1,000 2 Nov 2013
By m.c. squared - Published on Amazon.com
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I've been waiting for! 1 Oct 2013
By barleypopmaker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm only into Chapter 4 and I have already got my money's worth from the book in regards to information. While it is a very dry read (pun sort of intended), the information in it is fairly easy to understand. There are obvious topics in here that are geared more towards the professional brewer, with topics about brewery wastewater treatment and high end filtration; but the first seven chapters out of 10 will benefit the homebrewer. Many homebrewers are looking for the "how do I" when it comes to water adjustments, but I come from the camp that wants to know why. Without an understanding of why you are doing something, you don't really understand the changes you are making. I have found a lot of resources online tell you how to adjust your water to met specific numbers, but don't really explain the correlation between the changes you are making.

Be warned though, if you are not really looking for a deeper understanding of water and it's influence on brewing. You may be disappointed in the book. The actual "how to" is chapter 7, which in my opinion, from flipping through the chapter, would be worth the money for the book alone. But again, I think you are missing out on the point of the book because there is plenty of "how to" information on the web.

One person on here so far has said this book is not geared towards the homebrewer, and I think that statement is incorrect. This book is just way more than they were probably looking for in regards to information. Only the last 3 chapters are not geared towards the homebrewer. Well, some of chapter 8 may apply but mostly just the first 7 chapters benefit the homebrewer.

With that said, the whole "Brewing Elements Series" from brewer's publications has been very technical so I don't expect anything less.

EDIT: Now that I have finished the book my opinion has not changed. I found the most helpful chapters to be chapters 6 (controlling alkalinity) and 7 (how to adjust water) by far. The only gripe I have is from other reviews around the web about the book being too technical and so on, or wondering why it covers things that homebrewers don't need. The answer is because the book is not geared strictly to the homebrewer. I know we are used to most of the books about brewing that we have access to, to be just for the home brewer. But all of the brewing elements series of books are geared towards both the homebrewer and the pro. So if you are not into the overly technical discussions or the equations, skim them, and focus on the rest. You will still get a lot from this book if you do that.
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