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E-Mail: 7bridges@breworganic.com
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Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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ORGANIC BEER AND WATER

If you stop to think about it, that beer you are brewing is about 95% water. Thus, good water is critical for a successful organic beer. The most important piece of advice we can offer you is to avoid chlorinated water. Even minute quantities of chlorine can affect the flavor of your organic beer. Use a water filter, purified water or distilled water to brew with. A good rule of thumb- if you like the taste of the water on its own, its is probobly fine to brew with (unless it contains chloramine). If you use distilled water you may want to adjust the chemistry of your water with gypsum, calcium carbonate, or other minerals to achieve the water chemistry your beer style calls for. A good brewing book such as the Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charlie Papzian has detailed information about water treatment. An easier solution is to use water that has been filtered with an activated charcoal filter. This type of filter removes chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals, and toxic compounds but does not remove the basic minerals such as calcium that are beneficial to the brewing process. A Pur faucet filter is an example of this type of filter.

WATER & ENERGY CONSERVATION

Because water and energy conservation are so important these days a conscientious brewer can significantly reduce the use of these resources and keep the homebrew flowing by making a few small changes in the process. For most brewers, these ideas can also save money as most of us pay for the water and energy we use.

*Unlike a commercial brewery, which uses on average 7 gallons of water for every gallon of beer produced, most of the water used in the brewing process can be recycled. The easiest way to re-use water is to water your plants with the cooling water from your wort chiller or cold water bath. Another use for cooling water: the washing machine! The hot water can be run right into the washing machine for the next load of laundry. Or, simply use the hot water to clean up after the brew session.

*Maximize your savings and conserve water by combining cleaning projects for one day- while your grains are mashing or brew pot is simmering, use the cleaning solution left over from cleaning that carboy to wash bottles or kegs, and then save the solution to clean your brew pot at the end of the day.

*Save energy by using natural gas or propane to boil your brew. Not only will you save energy, but you will have less chance of scorching your brew and you will have more control over temperature. If you are stuck with an electric range in your home, an outdoor burner is a great way to switch to gas. Not only will you spend less time brewing, clean-up is easier if you brew outside.

*If you use a refrigerator exclusively for your homebrew, you can save a considerable amount of energy by investing in a temperature controller. Most refrigerators maintain a temperature range of 30 to 40 F. If you raise the temperature to 40 to 50 F, you can save up to $5 per month on electricity. If you have a home keg system, a refrigerator tap can also help save energy. By dispensing your brews from outside the refrigerator, the door does not need to be opened frequently, which will significantly cut down on the amount of energy needed to keep your brews cold.

Got some water and energy saving ideas of your own? Let us know, and we'll share your tips with the rest of our readers in future updates of this page.

 

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