Monday, February 11, 2013

International Homebrew Project - Water

Those of you planning to take part in this year's International Homebrew Project will know that next weekend, February 24th/25th, is when we will be brewing the 1877 Truman's No. 4 Burton ale which topped the poll I ran last month. Hopefully most of you will already have sourced your ingredients, but a question which has been asked of me several times is in regard to the ingredient most of us tend to take for granted, our water.

Although Truman's is best known as a London brewery, they did have a Burton operation and it was there that the No. 4 would have been brewed. As such, they would have been using the famous Burton water, which is high in alkalinity, pretty hard and with a moderate sulfate content. A representative breakdown of the mineral content of Burton water reads like this:
  • Calcium (ppm):294
  • Sulfates (ppm):800
  • Magnesium (ppm):24
  • Sodium (ppm):24
  • Chloride (ppm):36
  • Carbonates (ppm):200
The accepted method of adjusting your water is through the use of gypsum and Epsom salts, although you can also buy specific Burton Water salts.

For the purposes though of the International Homebrew Project I really don't want to make Burtonising your water a requirement. Feel free to do so if you know the appropriate changes to make in order to replicate Burton's water, but don't feel as though you need to. One of the interesting things, at least from my perspective, about the project is reading the differences between the finally beers based on the same recipe and obviously water contributes a lot to that.

Still on the IHP theme, but nothing to do with the actual brewing, I have recently been in contact with Truman's Beer, the company which bought the rights to the Truman's name from Scottish and Newcastle and is in the process of returning to the East End of London. They were excited to know that homebrewers from around the world were recreating one of their old recipes and asked if it would be possible to have samples sent to them so they can see how they turn out. This is mainly, I imagine, for the UK and Ireland brewers, but if you are interested in sending some samples to Truman's drop me an email and I can give you the relevant details.

I am looking forward to brewing the Burton Ale, and decided to get a headstart on the yeast by brewing my latest batch of bitter using Wyeast 1028 on Friday so I will have a nice healthy yeast cake to pitch the wort on to when I brew.


  1. While I do have Burton salts, I have no idea what my water is truly like in the new place. I will probably pit a little in the mash.

  2. I am debating with myself if I want to adjust the water for this one. I have everything necessary and a water profile... I will be sure to note it if I do.

  3. I don't know if I'll be able to brew this one, although I would be extremely wary of trying to replicate that water profile. Besides from the flavor impact of using so much sulfate, I imagine most people would have issues with mash PH (among other things) unless they already know what their water profile is and how to properly adjust it.


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