Beer Brewing Water with John Palmer – BeerSmith Podcast #60

by Brad Smith on May 28, 2013 · 2 comments

This week my guest is John Palmer. John joins us to discuss brewing water and pH control for mashing in beer brewing. He explains why understanding your brewing water and controlling your mash pH is very important as well as describes how to calculate residual alkalinity for your local water source.

Download the MP3 File – Right Click and “Save As” to download this mp3 file


Topics in This Week’s Episode (51:37)

  •  John Palmer, the author of How to Brew (Amazon Affiliate Link) is my guest this week. John Palmer is a widely recognized author on Brewing, and has a new book he is working on that covers beer brewing water in detail. His web site is at
  • John explains how water, which is often overlooked, is critical to creating great beer.
  • He starts by explaining how mash pH plays a very important role in all grain beer brewing.
  • We walk through the critical parameters in a local water report and which ions are most important in looking at your brewing water.
  • John introduces the concept of total water hardness
  • We talk about alkalinity and why most ground waters are alkaline
  • John introduces the concept of residual alkalinity and tells us how to calculate it.
  • We talk about measuring and controlling the mash pH including additions that can be used to manage your mash pH
  • John spends a few minutes discussing his new book “Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers” on water coming out in November of 2013 – which comes out in the fall
  • We finish by talking about how paying attention to water can take your good beer and make it a great beer

Thanks to John Palmer for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast

Great News! We’ve been featured in the New and Notable podcasts on iTunes.

Subscribe on iTunes

If you are not using iTunes, you can subscribe using this feed:


And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Related Beer Brewing Articles from BeerSmith:

Enjoy this Article? You'll Love Our BeerSmith Software!
  Don't make another bad batch of beer! Give BeerSmith a try - you'll brew your best beer ever.
Download a free 21 day trial of BeerSmith now

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Robert June 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Great podcast. While some may have found the chemistry too much, I can’t wait for the follow-up episode. I especially liked John’s thoughts on adjusting water profiles to ‘match’ classic brewing styles that evolved to work with the local water. The idea of small adjustments instead of trying to recreate the water makes a lot of sense and is on my list to try next brew day.

For John, I’ve been on the list with Amazon for a copy of the book for months. Can’t wait.

All the best…

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: