Beer contains approximately 90% water, and the importance of the water to final beer quality cannot be over-estimated. Different styles of beers call for different types of water. The stouts of Ireland require a very different kind of water than the IPA’s of California. There are a variety of minerals (also called “brewing salts”) and other water treatment aids that help brewers find that perfect match and maintain consistency in their water, which means consistency in beer.
Before water enters a reverse osmosis system, chlorine and other organics must be removed by a backwashing carbon filter and if the water contains iron/manganese or sulfur, it must also be removed. If the water is over 4 or 5 grain hard (over 70 mg/l hardness), then a water softener or anti-scalant must also proceed the reverse osmosis system.
After the water is processed through the reverse osmosis system it is stored in an atmospheric storage tank that is from 300 gallons to up to 2,000 gallons in capacity. Occasionally, some brewers opt to put the water from the RO system through a deionization (DI) system which results in absolutely pure water with a pH of 7.0, but this is seldom recommended.
After the storage tank, there is a re-pressurization pump that delivers the water to the desired sources at approximately 60 PSI up to 16 GPM. In order to prevent any water or airborne bacterial contamination, there is an ultraviolet (UV) light in-line to destroy any bacteria. There also may be a 0.2 micron final filter, just for safety.
US Water offers a variety of monitoring and water analysis options to monitor your water quality. Additionally, many breweries utilize a calcite filter which adds a small amount of calcium carbonate back to the water for flavor and to raise the pH. There are also injection systems which can inject soda ash or other ingredients into the water to achieve differing pH or mineral levels. That is your choice - there is no right or wrong answer.
What’s the first step? The first step is to get a good, detailed water analysis, so that you can know exactly what is in your water. Only when you know exactly what is in your water and at what levels, can you begin to treat your water intelligently and properly.
US Water can design a complete turnkey system for your brewery or distillery that is economical to operate, sustainable for over 20 years and completely scalable - from 500 GPD to 30,000 GPD and everything in-between. What follows are a few of our most popular systems, but feel free to ask for help in engineering a system that is right for your application. Call us at 800-608-8792 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We keep company with some of the best brewers in America. Here’s a partial list. When you are in their neighborhood, we invite you to stop in and drink responsibility.