Steven Hicks, the brewer at the Anaheim and Los Angeles Karl Strauss Brewing Company locations needed Reverse Osmosis water for a special german style lager that he is working on. The lager is going to be entered into a worldwide competition, and Steven needed water that was much more pure than the normal, heavily filtered water that he uses in all of his awesome brews. He called us up to utilize our mobile, industrial sized Reverse Osmosis unit to process a little over a thousand gallons of RO water for the new lager.
“German beers,” he said, “are very susceptible to the taste of the water that you start with.” German beers adhere to the 1516 beer purity law that requires beer to only include hops, barley, yeast, and water, so the quality of each ingredient is very important. Pure distilled water would be a waste, as some minerals are desired in the water, plus it would inevitably do damage to the stainless steel tanks that are used in the brewing process. Water is a natural solvent, and would start to attack the metal almost immediately, and stainless steel is not one of the flavors desired in the finished beer product.
The Reverse Osmosis unit was used to remove dissolved solids from the filtered water normally used to brew. Normal tap water in the area has a Total Dissolved Solid (TDS) level of about 550 parts per million (ppm). The water that was sent through the RO membranes came back with a TDS level of about 20 ppm. Steven still plans to add a little bit of tap water into the final water he uses for this special german lager, but is quite pleased by the taste of the water already. He was so pleased, he even had one of the waiters from the attached restaurant try the water. He too was blown away that water could taste so different.
Pool Water Recycling normally uses the same system to turn pool water into water that is so pure, it could be used as a starting point for german style lagers! We balance the water afterwards so that it is perfect for pools. We can’t wait until Steven Hicks “balances” this water into beer that we can taste!