Skip navigation links

2017 Master Brewers Conference
25. Brewhouse water and mash chemistry management at Ale Asylum

Joe Walts, Ale Asylum, Madison, WI, U.S.A.

Brewhouse Operations II
Friday, October 13
8:00–9:45 a.m.

Managing water and brewhouse chemistry can improve beer flavor, reduce ingredient usage, and eliminate the need to remove calcium deposits from hot water contact surfaces. This presentation will outline practical methods for neutralizing alkalinity in brewing water and calculating treatments to achieve target mash pHs as well as describe experiments at Ale Asylum that led to subsequent process improvements. Considerations include behaviors of common treatment acids, calcium levels and losses, acidities of various malt types, and methodologies of congress wort color measurement employed by maltsters.

Joe grew up in southeast Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. After two years of obsessive homebrewing, he left his job at a jet engine manufacturer and moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to pursue a brewing career. Joe landed his first brewing job in 2005 and was hired by Ale Asylum as a staff brewer in 2010. When the company began planning its 2012 expansion, Joe started transitioning into his current role as the brewery’s quality assurance manager. In 2013, he left Ale Asylum for two years to run the brewing operation at Narrows Brewing Company in Tacoma, Washington. In addition to quality assurance, Joe’s responsibilities include research and development, recipe formulation, and production scheduling.

View Presentation