Hi, my name is Chris Cuzme. I am a long-time member and current president of the New York City Home Brewer's Guild. I've been home brewing since about 2001, and I love it. I'm crazy addicted to it, and I'm happy to share it with you today. I'm also part of the New York City Degustation Advisory Team which I formed with my partner, Mary Izett, NYCDAT.com. I'll be showing you how to home brew today. Cheers!
Water; what kind of water do you use to make beer? There's an old saying that ""if you can drink it, you can brew with it"", and that's pretty much how it goes. A lot of different styles of beer around the world were created based on the type of water that was being used to brew the beer. Like in Pilsen. The water from Pilsen is very soft, and so the Pilsner was established as you use soft water to make a good Pilsner. Here in New York, we have relatively soft water, we have great irrigation coming from the Catskills, and we're able to use this water straight from the tap to make really great home brew.
There are people who do doctor their water. If you want to make an English style beer, you can add gypsum salts, and you can add various ingredients to any lake waters from around the world. The most important thing when making a beer, if you're doing all grain, or even if you're doing a partial mash, is to make sure your pH is right, so that you can extract the sugars from the grains in an appropriate manner. And that pH is generally best suited at 5.2.