Since we all drink water to survive I can safely say that all of us know what our own local water taste like, but did you know that the minerals that your water picks up along the way to your faucet can affect the taste of not only the water but your Sake as well?
Water hardness is described by the ND Department of Health as "The amount of Calcium and Magnesium dissolved in the water". According to a study done by Aili Wang, Susan E. Duncan, and Andrea M. Dietrich in 2016, hard water can actually multiple the sweetness of the beverage that it is put into with certain combinations of minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, and Iron.
In this article, I'm going to break down some of the most common minerals and add-ins that can make your Sake taste good or bad.
1. Total Dissolved Solids
Let's get this one out of the way. You know exactly what I'm talking about. Solid waste. It is run through multiple cleaning practices before it gets to you but you can still test to see what the ppm are.
This is nothing you want to play around with. There are specific levels that need to be kept in check. Unfortunately, this is a byproduct of mostly farming and sewage cleanup. Your local water filtration plant keeps a good eye on this but never rely on them alone. Test your own water.
Iron can cause your water to be slightly reddish depending on the PPM amounts, it can also lead to darkening of your brewing buckets if used enough and leave a metallic taste to your Sake.
This is something that is used to counteract hard water. Increased amounts of Sodium to your water will soften the water but could increase the hazards for people on a sodium free diet.
Yes, the same stuff that wineries put into their wine to help maintain it and prevent it from turning into something else. Sulfates can have a laxative effect if high amounts are ingested and cause headaches and a multitude of other side effects due to allergic reactions or injesting too much.
7. Alkalinity & Acidity
Carbonates, Bicarbonates, and Hydroxides are all functions of the PH levels, it can cause the water to taste good or bad and have an effect on your brewing outcome in regards to the sweetness or dryness of the Sake.
Hopefully, you have learned that before using your tap water to brew Sake you should test it out first, and if you are going to add your own minerals to your Sake water do your research on the taste of the water you are trying to replicate or originally produce. If you are just starting out in your Sake home brewing adventure try using distilled water first before you start to tweak your water with minerals.
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