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I'm about to brew some cider, followed by some pale lager from two kits. I've decided to use bottled spring water from a company just up the road from me. They claim on their website that their water is "between ten and twenty times higher in zinc than other popular water brands on the market".

I've heard high levels of zinc would benefit the yeast, which I assume would lead to greater / better fermentation and hence a slightly higher alcohol level in the finished product. Am I right?

Bit of a noob question, but I'm fairly new to brewing

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Great question. Zinc isn't really mentioned in the basic dogma of brewing so I'm not sure how it will impact your brews. –  Graham Mar 26 '12 at 15:05
    
thanks guys. About to bottle the cider tonight, I'll be tasting in about 1-2 weeks so I'll come back and let you know how it compares to previous brews –  roryok Apr 13 '12 at 11:24
    
Hi Folks. Initially I thought I'd messed up somehow. After bottling and leaving for a number of weeks, secondary fermentation had still not occurred. However, after leaving them until around june / july, they went through quite a bit of secondary fermentation, producing a lovely fizzy cider! Will definitely be using high zinc water again –  roryok Aug 13 '12 at 14:48
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Depending upon quantities, there are many benefits to adding zinc. For example, you'll get better lacing, as zinc helps precipitate proteins. Zinc additions can also

  • increase fermentation rate,
  • improve the extent of attenuation,
  • improve yeast vigour and viability,
  • and improve beer flavour through stimulating acetate ester production and avoiding sulphur off-flavours.
  • Under some conditions, zinc addition can even help with diacetyl control

Sources

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Great answer, concise, answers the question directly with sources to back it up! –  tomcocca Mar 27 '12 at 12:01
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Charlie Bamforth, in a recent episode of the beersmith podcast, mentioned that zinc was used in some UK Breweries to assist with head retention. He suggested that 2mg per litre would be about right (Its been a while since I listened so please check it out first, just in case you poision yourself!). If memory serves me, the discussion is towards the end of the podcast.

Beersmith Podcast with Charlie Bamforth

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I don't think I'll poison myself since the zinc is already in the water. I'll let you know how it comes out! –  roryok Apr 13 '12 at 11:25
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