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Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers

(Brewing Elements Series)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  379 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Water is an essential component for staying alive and one of the foundation elements in the brewing process. Written by How to Brew author John Palmer and professional brewer, Colin Kaminski, this second book in Brewers Publications Brewing Elements Series, Water, will take the mystery out of using water in brewing beer. Beginning with an overview on sources, quality and g ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published October 7th 2013 by Brewers Publications (first published April 16th 2013)
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 ·  379 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, brewing, 2017, own, to-re-read
Everything (and I mean everything) you could want to know about water and water chemistry for beer brewing. And yes, it's a lot; and yes, it's pretty technical and serious stuff. Appendix A helps to brush up on some of the high school chemistry terms (etc.) so you can digest the meat of this book, but you're still likely to have your head swimming here and there. Fortunately that's the worst part -- that you'll feel like you need to brush up on the chemistry and circle back. On the other hand, t ...more
Mar 05, 2019 rated it liked it
There is some useful knowledge in it. Especially if someone have no idea about chemistry exceeding highschool it may be really handy. In many places it is written more as a guide for a technician - to follow without thinking too much, but I guess it was the purpose. For me it was mostly boring as new information were scattered here and there within school knowledge. I was expecting something more scientific.
Geoff Young
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Water turns out to be a rather dry subject. This volume is both highly technical and highly informative, with much of it being quite dense.

I was most interested in learning about brewing chemistry, specifically what adjustments to make to my water and why, but other topics such as wastewater management are no less fascinating. Although the latter isn't a significant issue for homebrewers, it's good to be aware of industry challenges and possible solutions.
Russell Yarnell
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My wife will read a good book and talk about the let down of the book being finished. I cannot say that I have felt that for any book and then this one entered my life. I am a water nerd. I took water and wastewater classes for my engineering and it was always presented in a technical level. Palmer covers the water chemistry in a technical way and then adds a few words to it that explains it in plain terms.

I hope others find this book just as good.
Mark A. Vierthaler
An excellent overview of the usage of water for brewing.

Definitely way over my head first time through, but look forward to revisiting it from time to time as I continue to learn more about the chemistry of water.
Mario Rivas
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a very complete book about the water treatment for brewing purposes. It can be hard to read and sometimes borring, but it has useful information.
Ale Romero
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a chemist and amateur home brewer, I found this book really entertained. Some parts might be a little bit too technical for non chemist home brewers.
John Hubbard
May 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
In this series, Yeast was great, Hops ok, Water seemed less useful. Perhaps more important if I lived in a place where I needed to do more.
Apr 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I walked away from this book more mystified than when I started.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Many things discussed are way over my knowledge, have to reread in the future.
Drew Kostic
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Definitely the most challenging read of the series...especially if you do not have a background in microbiology like yours truly. Will need to read a second-time around to digest, I think!
Christopher Murtagh
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book has a line fairly early on, that says you should be a fairly competent brewer and have a basic knowledge of high school chemistry to understand the concepts of the book, this is true, I would say like most people buying this book I'm sort of the former, but high school chemistry was quite a long time ago. I read this book twice and there's still a bit of a chapter that I'm not 100% on, but I've learnt enough from the book to be pretty sure what I don't get isn't relevant for me, which ...more
Dec 27, 2013 rated it liked it
If you make beer (recreationally or professionally) you know that beer is mostly water. As part of the Brewing Elements Series, "Water" is the first book entirely dedicated to brewing water. And I want to say that it's essential reading for every homebrewer, but honestly, it probably isn't. Most homebrewers either approach the hobby from a artistic/brewing standpoint ("I want to make new and exciting kinds of beer") or an engineering standpoint ("I like to build equipment and fiddle with gadgets ...more
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beer
Excellent resource book for advanced brewing issues. For the home brewer the first 7 chapters are most relevant. The remaining chapters discuss issues only pertinent to breweries. The concensus is that water adjustments can be complex and vary on water supply and style of beer being brewed. In practice many home brewers will not go to the depths discussed, however nice to be aware of all the potential implications of water adjustments. Synopsis: know how water composition affects style and be co ...more
Nov 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brewing
I'm sure glad that there are more microbreweries out there, or this series of books would have never been written. Unless you are a chemist, or a REALLY big nerd, the first 140 or so pages of this book are very dense. As the authors get into the chapter called Adjusting brewing waters for style, you realize that all of the charts and chemical equasions presented in the fist part of the book become applicable. I can assure you that this book will be irrelevant for the majority of hobby brewers ou ...more
Tyler Masson
Jul 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Despite it being a book on water I found it quite dry. No pun intended. Extremeley useful for anyone into brewing but not very applicable as far as homebrewing goes. Fantastic reference for learning more about the process of beer making. If you're interested in the "how" and the "why" water affects beer this book is just what you're looking. ...more
Darrell Gerber
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a very extensive look at the impact of water chemistry on the production of beer and some of the modifications a brewer can make. It has a lot of chemistry but if you have had basic college level chemistry you'll be able to get by. This is a good book for the homebrewer looking to take another step to making better beer. ...more
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Brewers
This is the ultimate "Beer Geek" water guide for Home Brewers or any brewer for that matter. Clear in-depth explanations of water and how it may affect your brews. I brew ale, wine, mead and hard cider. Helps in all aspects.

The city of Appleton's water manager was kind enough to provide a complete breakdown of Appleton's water for me.

Just had to plug that info into my calculations.
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very well written book! Coming from an engineering background, some of the units were dropped in out of nowhere and not explained very well. That made following some of the more in depth paragraphs difficult at times. All in all the book teaches you a lot about how to control your brewing water to make the best beer possible, without going insanely deep into chemistry.
Keith Grice
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beer
This book fills a much needed gap in brewing literature. The writing is dense in parts, but contains valuable information. It is fantastic to find a summary of brewing water chemistry in a single resource.
Derek Wolfgram
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
some of the chemistry was over my head, but there is still immensely practical information accessible without digging too deep into the science. excellent
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very comprehensive read.
Brian D. Stevenson
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Other books in the series

Brewing Elements Series (4 books)
  • Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation
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