Hank Speaks . . . So Listen!
by Hank Bienert
Thanks to Greg H for his article about water and I would like to add some experiences to his comments. When I got into all grain brewing, it was sensible to want to adjust my East Bank Jeff parish water to mimic the mineral ratios of world class brewing cities. I called the Jefferson highway water works and learned that the head tech was a sometimes home brewer and grateful that someone ACTUALLY WAS INTERESTED IN THE RESULTS OF HIS TESTING. This happened a few years ago but I suspect the information below is still true but a few phone calls should answer any questions that are out there.
I also learned that there is seasonal change but not significantly since they seek to reproduce a more or less “standard” product which makes sense and that when water has been sitting in a certain set of pipes for a few days in summer, off flavors WILL occur so, before drawing from a rarely used source always flush by running for a few minutes. There are FOUR water systems in the Metro AREA – EAST and WEST bank for Orleans and a separate couple from Jeff Parish. Please note that ORLEANS is by design more alkaline than Jeff Parish because of the prevalence of LEAD soldering in those lovely older homes. More alkaline water means less lead leaching into drinking water.
There are a few software programs out there that allow one to know what to add to brew a geographically appropriate beer but instead of going through this ritual for each brew, I did it once and made a reference chart for JP EAST BANK ONLY. That chart is in the last article posted in the HopLine.