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I'm having trouble searching for the correct water profile to be used for a Bavarian hefeweizen.

In the book Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels,

Munich -- or more properly, Bavaria -- ... has the most cohesive history of weisse beer brewing of any area in Germany. (pg 339)

Oddly, the author doesn't include any water profile in his wheat beer section, even though he does so for the other styles as far as I can tell (I haven't finished it yet).

In his Bock section, he includes the water profile of Munich's water:

  • Calcium - 75ppm
  • Magnesium - 18
  • Sodium - 2
  • Carbonate - 180
  • Sulfate - 120

Is it appropriate for me to conclude that Munich's/Bavaria's water is that which I should use to make a bavarian hefeweizen?

Incidentally, the author states:

[Shifts] in zymo-demographics in Europe, along with the craft beer revolution in America, have shaped a wheat beer landscape that is quite different in the late twentieth century than it was even ten years earlier. (pg. 343)

I can't find the page right now, but he also states that back in the old days, wheat beers in Germany were made with only 1/3 wheat and 2/3 barely, which is nearly the opposite today.

Would this have any effect on the water profile?

  • Keep in mind that DGB is a very old book at this point. Much has changed in terms of the ingredients we use and the knowledge we've gathered. – Denny Conn Feb 3 '15 at 19:11
  • @DennyConn That is unfortunate; I've learned a lot from that book. – Matthew Moisen Feb 3 '15 at 19:39
  • AFAIK, he's working on a new version. There's still a lot of valuable info in the book, you just have to be able to discriminate. – Denny Conn Feb 3 '15 at 20:31
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You should never use a city profile to decide what water to use. You have no idea if the profile given is still accurate or if the brewers treat the water before they use it. It's much more accurate to use a color/flavor profile like the ones in Bru'nwater.

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You can be sure that Munich's brewers don't just turn on the tap and start making beer also you should assume it varies over time so what the water profile is on a given day, when it was measured, is less use to you than you might think. At the very least the water was probably boiled before use which will change the chemistry significantly. Things have moved on in brewing in the past 100 years so I think we should apply a bit of that learning to your water profiles and use something like Bru'n Water spreadsheet to match the water chemistry to the beer type. It's then interesting to see how close (or not) they match the "raw" water chemistry of the famous brewing city. For example I brewed a malty stout yesterday and the water profile I ended up with is very close to London water, which historically has been famous for its porters. In short: make sure the dog is wagging the tail, famous brewing cities have not "taken advantage" of particularly good water chemistry to produce a beer type they just haven't been able to brew anything else! I'd strongly recommend the above spreadsheet and the use of Reverse Osmosis (RO) water and build up your water profiles with the various salts it uses.

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