Bicarbonate levels in brewing water can significantly impact the taste and quality of your beer. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the importance of these levels and their influence on the brewing process.
In addition to bicarbonate, other important values of brewing water include calcium, magnesium, sulfate, and chloride. These elements work together to determine the overall water profile and play a crucial role in the final outcome of your beer.
How would a beer with super high bicarbonate levels taste?
If a beer had extremely high bicarbonate levels, it would likely taste quite harsh and astringent. This is because high levels of bicarbonate can cause an increase in pH, leading to an unbalanced and unpleasant flavor profile.
Influence on beer taste
Bicarbonate levels in brewing water have a direct impact on beer taste, as they affect the pH of the mash. A higher pH can lead to less efficient extraction of flavors, colors, and aromas from the grains. Furthermore, it can result in excessive extraction of tannins and other unwanted compounds, leading to astringency and harshness in the final beer.
A few examples of bicarbonate levels in brewing water
Some sources of brewing water naturally contain high amounts of bicarbonate, such as well water and certain types of spring water. On the other hand, reverse osmosis (RO) and distilled water have very low bicarbonate levels.
For instance, Burton-on-Trent, a famous brewing region in the UK, is known for its high-bicarbonate water, with levels around 300 ppm. Conversely, Pilsen, Czech Republic, has very low bicarbonate levels, typically around 10 ppm, which contributes to the soft and delicate profile of Pilsner beers.
In conclusion, bicarbonate levels in brewing water have a significant impact on the taste and quality of the final beer. High levels can lead to harsh and astringent flavors, while low levels can result in a more delicate and balanced taste. Understanding and controlling the bicarbonate levels in your brewing water is essential to creating the perfect beer. Additionally, experimenting with different water profiles can be a fun way to explore new flavor profiles and beer styles. Cheers!