Burton Upon Trent Brewers? water experiment (mini mashes)

(That's water to the rest of us!) Beer is about 95% water, so if you want to discuss water treatment, filtering etc this is the place to do it!
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Burton Upon Trent Brewers? water experiment (mini mashes)

Post by Frothy » Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:11 am


I've recently re-located to Derby, just down the road from the famous waters of Burton upon trent.
We're all heard of the fabled and miraculous brewing waters and the brewer in me is simply itching to try them in an ale.
My own water supply is Severn Trent, and I can't be sure if water out of a regular tap @ Burton even these days will be any different. Can anyone advise?

Is there anyone brewing in the area who could recommend the best way to procure ~10L of real Burton-upon-trent water suitable for brewing?

My plan for the waters if to make 4 x 1kg mashes and really taste 1st hand the difference the waters are making on each of the beers
Aiming for 4L each @ 1.051OG per brew
Each brew will be made exclusively with a particular water & fermented at the same time, each in demijohns
I'm fortunate to have access to a reverse osmosis water filter, so this will form a reference water to see the effects with "no minerals"

* Burton-upon-trent
* Derbyshire (Severn Trent)
* Northamptonshire (Pitsford Reservoir)
* RO water

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Re: Burton Upon Trent Brewers? water experiment (mini mashes

Post by Kev888 » Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:13 am

My last house was in Derby (Alvaston area), and I brewed there for quite a few years. There can be some common ground between the south of the city and Burton, and they do use some local reservoirs. However Severn Trent's water reports were reasonably different for different areas of the city, and salifert tests showed that the water changed from time to time even in the same area (especially in summer), so I'm pretty sure they can mix and match sources. I wouldn't want to assume it is automatically like Burton's current tap water, and i'd also be doubtful that this is the same as their historic well water.

Theres no harm just having a go with the waters 'as is' for a bit of fun. But if you want to test the more real-world effect of the waters, you may want to treat/adjust them in a way thats appropriate to how they would actually be used in real brewing. For example, RO water is almost never used without treatment because it lacks important components (like calcium) and even historic Burton brewers didn't necessarily use their water of the time without 'any' form of treatment or conditioning. And of course, the suitability of the water depends quite a lot on the style of beer and kilning/darkness of the grains too.

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