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  • Writer's pictureLuke Nyswonger

Mastering Homebrewing: A Guide to Analyzing Water Profiles with ChatGPT and PDF Integration

Homebrewing is a passion that has captivated me for the past 10 years. With each batch, I strive to perfect my craft and create exceptional beers that tantalize the taste buds. Over the years, I have honed my skills in recipe formulation, hop selection, and yeast management. However, one aspect I have admittedly neglected is understanding and harnessing the power of water profile analysis.


water profile analysis using AI and robots.
Bing Image Creator: water profile analysis using AI and robots.

Living in the Seattle area, I have been fortunate to have access to generally good quality water for brewing. The local water has been kind to me, allowing me to produce enjoyable beers without much consideration for water adjustments. But as my brewing journey progresses, I have felt the urge to go deeper into the realm of water and its impact on different beer styles, particularly New England IPAs.


In this article, I’ll guide you on harnessing the power of ChatGPT to explore your water profile and engage in interactive discussions with AI. Discover how this transformative technology can provide you with valuable insights, enabling a dynamic exchange of knowledge and exploration centered around your unique water composition.


Existing Tools for Water Analysis

Before the advent of technology like ChatGPT, homebrewers had access to a range of online tools for water analysis and understanding their water profiles. Here are some well-known choices:

  1. Bru’n Water: Bru’n Water is a widely used spreadsheet-based tool created by Martin Brungard. It offers advanced water chemistry calculations and allows users to adjust water profiles based on their brewing needs and beer styles. It provides guidance on various adjustments, such as adding brewing salts and acidifying the water.

  2. Brewer’s Friend Water Chemistry Calculator: Brewer’s Friend offers a comprehensive water chemistry calculator that enables homebrewers to input their water parameters and desired beer style. It provides recommendations for adjusting the water profile to match the target style, considering factors like pH, hardness, alkalinity, and more.

  3. BeerSmith: BeerSmith is a popular brewing software that includes a water chemistry tool. It allows users to input their water profile and provides analysis and recommendations for adjustments. BeerSmith also offers features for recipe formulation, brewing calculations, and inventory management.

  4. EZ Water Calculator: The EZ Water Calculator, developed by AJ deLange, is a simple yet powerful tool for water analysis and adjustments. It offers guidance on water chemistry, pH adjustment, and mineral additions. It helps users determine the impact of different water profiles on the final beer and provides insights for achieving desired flavors.

These online tools provide valuable resources for homebrewers to analyze and adjust their water profiles based on specific brewing goals and beer styles. They can help determine the necessary mineral additions, pH adjustments, and overall water composition for achieving optimal brewing results.


So why would anyone use ChatGPT then?

The main difference between using online tools for water analysis and using ChatGPT lies in the approach and functionality they offer:


📊 Online Tools for Water Analysis: Online tools such as Bru’n Water, Brewer’s Friend Water Chemistry Calculator, BeerSmith, and EZ Water Calculator are specialized software or calculators dedicated to water analysis and adjustment. They typically provide a structured interface where users input their water parameters and desired beer style. These tools perform calculations based on established water chemistry principles and provide recommendations for adjustments, including mineral additions and pH modifications. They often offer additional features for recipe formulation, brewing calculations, and inventory management.


🤖 ChatGPT: ChatGPT, on the other hand, is an AI-powered language model that excels in natural language understanding and generating responses. By integrating ChatGPT with the PDF plug-in, you can extract information and engage in interactive conversations about your water profile. ChatGPT can provide insights, answer specific questions, and offer guidance based on its trained knowledge. It allows for more conversational and exploratory interactions, making it well-suited for a wide range of inquiries beyond water analysis, including recipe suggestions, troubleshooting, and general brewing discussions.

Both options have their strengths and can complement each other. Online tools provide precise calculations and recommendations, while ChatGPT offers a conversational and exploratory avenue for gaining insights and engaging in a broader brewing discussion.


Let’s chat about your water!

Step 1: Obtain Your Water Profile

Obtaining your water profile is an essential step in understanding the key characteristics of the water you will use for brewing. There are several methods to acquire this information. One option is to reach out to your local water utility or municipality and inquire about the water quality report for your area. This report typically includes data on mineral content, pH levels, and other relevant parameters. Alternatively, many homebrewers rely on reputable laboratories such as Ward Laboratories for comprehensive water analysis. These specialized facilities offer tailored testing services specifically for brewing purposes. By sending a water sample to Ward Laboratories or a similar establishment, you can receive a detailed water profile report, providing you with the insights necessary to make informed decisions and adjustments in your brewing process.


For the purpose of this article, I’ll be leveraging the detailed water report I received as a PDF file from Ward Laboratories in 2021 which captured essential information about the mineral composition, pH levels, and other relevant parameters of my brewing water at the time.


Step 2: Enable the PDF Plug-in for ChatGPT

The integration of ChatGPT with the PDF plug-in provides a seamless and efficient solution for incorporating water profile PDFs into brewing discussions. This integration simplifies the process of accessing and analyzing water profile data, eliminating the need for time-consuming and error-prone manual data extraction. Homebrewers can now conveniently input their water profile PDFs directly into ChatGPT, enabling collaborative and interactive exploration of their water composition. The smooth connection between PDF files and ChatGPT facilitates the flow of information, empowering homebrewers to make data-informed decisions and optimizations for their brewing endeavors.


⚠️ Warning: Enabling plug-ins requires a ChatGPT Plus subscription. If you do not have a subscription, an alternate approach is to manually copy and paste the water data you obtain. This works just as well, sometimes better in fact!

We’ll be utilizing the AskYourPDF plugin for this purpose. However, keep in mind that there are additional plugins available for download. To activate the AskYourPDF plugin in ChatGPT, follow these instructions:

  1. Visit https://askyourpdf.com and upload your water profile PDF. This will generate a unique document ID.

  2. In the ChatGPT interface, prompt the model by saying “Ask PDF” and then enter your unique document ID.

  3. You can now begin exploring the content of the PDF file using the chat interface.


Screenshot of ChatGPT plug-ins
ChatGPT-4 Plug-ins

Step 3: Explore your water profile through prompting

Once ChatGPT has your water profile data, you can ask a variety of exploratory prompts to gain insights and guidance for your brewing process. For more information on what prompting is and how to best prompt for homebrewing scenarios, see Prompting 101 for homebrewers.


Screenshot of ChatGPT discussion on water profiles
Screenshot of ChatGPT discussion on water profiles

Here are some examples:

  1. “How does the mineral composition of my water affect the flavor profile of my beers?”

  2. “Are there any specific adjustments I should consider based on my water’s pH level?”

  3. “Which brewing styles are best suited for my water profile?”

  4. “Can you suggest any specific hop varieties that complement the mineral content of my water?”

  5. “What are some recommended water treatment options to enhance hop bitterness in my IPA?”

  6. “How can I optimize my water profile for brewing a crisp and clean lager?”

  7. “What are the ideal water parameters for brewing a New England IPA with soft mouthfeel and juicy hop character?”

  8. “Can you provide insights on the impact of my water’s alkalinity on the final beer’s acidity and balance?”

  9. “Are there any adjustments I should make to my water for brewing a traditional Belgian-style beer?”

  10. “How can I reduce the hardness of my water to create a more delicate and subtle flavor profile in my beers?”


Screenshot of ChatGPT discussion on water profiles
Screenshot of ChatGPT discussion on water profiles

These prompts can serve as a starting point for engaging with ChatGPT about your water profile. Feel free to ask follow-up questions or seek specific recommendations tailored to your brewing goals and the beer styles you want to create. ChatGPT’s ability to generate informative responses will assist you in understanding the implications of your water profile and guide you towards making informed decisions for your brewing process.


Exploratory Conversation: Unveiling Insights for Brewing a New England IPA

In this example, I will showcase a detailed conversation with ChatGPT, exploring the necessary adjustments for brewing a New England IPA. While I started with a specific prompt, I found value in the iterative process of the conversation. Each interaction allowed me to go deeper into the subject matter, expanding my brewing knowledge and gaining valuable insights along the way in ways that a book may not. For example, I had no idea on *when* you would actually add the salts. This also assumes hallucinations are at a minimum!

Prompt: Water parameters play a crucial role in shaping the desired characteristics of a New England IPA, such as a soft mouthfeel and juicy hop character. Given my water profile, I would like to explore the ideal water parameters for brewing this style. Additionally, I would appreciate an assessment of how closely my current water profile aligns with those parameters. Based on this evaluation, I would like specific recommendations for adjustments required for a 5-gallon batch of New England IPA.

Screenshot of ChatGPT discussion on water profiles
Screenshot of ChatGPT discussion on water profiles

Prompt: Generate this again, but in a table format with the following columns: NEIPA Water Profile, My Water Profile, Adjustments Needed (Y/N), How much

Screenshot of ChatGPT discussion on water profiles
Screenshot of ChatGPT discussion on water profiles

Prompt: How many grams of Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) and Gypsum will I need?

Screenshot of ChatGPT discussion on water profiles
Screenshot of ChatGPT discussion on water profiles

Prompt: When would I put the salts in?

Screenshot of ChatGPT discussion on water profiles
Screenshot of ChatGPT discussion on water profiles

More and more plug-ins are becoming available for ChatGPT and other generative AI technology such as Bing Chat. For example, shopping scenarios in which you would be able to add Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) and Gypsum (CaSO4) to your shopping cart right within the conversation.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the integration of ChatGPT with brewing knowledge offers an interactive and collaborative platform for homebrewers to explore and optimize their brewing process. By leveraging the power of AI, ChatGPT enables homebrewers to seamlessly connect their water profile data with expert insights, allowing for real-time guidance and informed decision-making and learning along the way.


🍻 Happy Brewing!

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2 Kommentare


Adam Arndt
Adam Arndt
08. Juni 2023

I plan to play with this tomorrow. I'm curious if it knows not to recommend chalk or to definitely not recommend chalk added to the HLT instead of the mash. Really, really fantastic stuff, Luke!

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Luke Nyswonger
Luke Nyswonger
08. Juni 2023
Antwort an

Thanks! Well, I asked, and it gave quite a response. Starting with "Chalk (Calcium Carbonate, CaCO3) can be a somewhat controversial water addition among brewers....". I'll let you explore rather than give away ChatGPT's opinion that I heard. :)

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