Asia Brewers Network

Planning your brewery water requirements


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By John Gonzales

Whether you’re starting out or expanding, you need people on your team who know their stuff. A mentor, who has done it all before, a friend you can vent to, or an experienced professional.

At Bespoke Brewing Solutions, we believe knowledge is power and by empowering people in our industry with the knowledge they need to succeed, we are helping innovation to flourish.

If you missed our previous blogs in this series, regarding brewery production planning and brewery electrical requirements, please take a moment to check them out.

Next up is Part Two of our utilities section – what to consider for all your brewery water requirements.

Brewery Terminology – Water or Liquor?

When I first entered the craft beer industry I kept hearing the term ‘liquor’ thrown around.

Liquor mixing, hot liquor tank, cold liquor tank, etc. It all gave me the impression beer was actually spiked with a spirit, to get it’s ABV!

Obviously, I later discovered, liquor is a term used for water. It is the key building block of beer – and an essential part of the brewery.

The Pressure Factor

The amount and pressure of the main water lines coming into the building needs to be considered when you’re searching for a location for your brewery. This includes the subsequent rationing of the supply into the different areas of the site.

If you are trying to fill your 1000L hot liquor tank or wash down your floor via a 19mm ID pipe with 1 bar of pressure behind it, you might be waiting for a while…

A brewers stainless steel hot liquor tank

Filling a 1000L hot liquor tank with 1 bar of water pressure is nobody’s idea of fun

Of course, there are always options to work around this. But remember – there are other parts of the business which will need to tap into this resource.

It is therefore important to manage the timing of the different operations within your business.

For example – if the brewery team is working early mornings and the kitchen or bar staff are not there until brewing is pretty much complete, then they can coexist well.

Pro Tip: City water pressure is usually enough for your floor spray down. However, investing in an upper end water nozzle is worth every cent.

Water Filtration and Chemistry

Any good brewer knows, water is the building block for your beer.

It is why we are surprised that more breweries aren’t allowing their beer to start off the gate, in the optimal position.

In terms of water chemistry – this can be tricky. There’s a lot to it – it really requires its own article! So here we will stick to the basics.

However – we always ensure we enter into a deeper conversation about this with clients.

The important ones to pay attention to are ‘hardness’ (the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium) and ‘alkalinity’ (the amount of carbonate and bicarbonate).

These are two of the most important elements to consider when it comes to getting your water chemistry right.

As a rule of thumb, your brewing water should have low to moderate levels of hardness and alkalinity. But of course, this will depend on the type of beer you are brewing.

The base chemistry of the water coming into your building will help determine the following:

1. Filtration route – how you will get your water into an optimal state, ready for the different styles of beers you will be brewing.

2. Types and concentrations of brewing water additives (such as salts and acids) to help balance the pH or mineral composition of your water.

Pro Tip: You’ll find most public water systems will provide information about the water chemistry they are aiming to hit and work within a range of their goal. This is where you will start, to determine what filtration you will need to invest in.

A Bespoke Solution

When it comes to your brewery’s water requirements, you don’t want to mess around.

You will need to consider both flow and composition – with the former being a game changer in some instances.

At Bespoke Brewing Solutions we have joined forces with Jennifer Talley and Talley Fermentations and are now able to put together consulting packages to help you with all aspects of your brewery – including water composition.

This can help take your brewing to the next stage.

Make sure to get in touch if we can help in any way.

Article by:

Bespoke Brewing Solutions

Bespoke Brewing Solutions

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