Growing up, I enjoyed most carbonated beverages but not carbonated water. In fact, I avoided seltzer, club soda, mineral water and tonic water at all costs.
But as I grew older, my preferences changed. And for the last several years, I have enjoyed carbonated water on a regular basis.
On a business trip in Austin, Texas last year, I stumbled upon Topo Chico Mineral Water. Despite knowing absolutely nothing about the brand at the time, I soon learned that Topo Chico has a cult-following in Texas. And for good reason – it’s delicious.
But you can’t find Topo Chico everywhere, yet. Idaho is one of the states that still does not see distribution. So the only way to enjoy Topo Chico in Idaho was to make it myself!
Fortunately, Topo Chico shares their annual water analysis report directly on their website. I transcribed the pertinent information in the table below. Using BrewFather‘s water calculator, I was able to nearly replicate their water profile.
To save others the trouble of calculating the brewing salt additions to achieve the clone profile above, below are the additions in grams per gallon rates.
- 1.03 g/gal gypsum (CaSO4)
- 0.17 g/gal calcium chloride (CaCl2)
- 0.22 g/gal epsom salt (MgSO4)
- 0.17 g/gal magnesium chloride (MgCl2)
- 0.17 g/gal canning salt (NaCl)
- 0.18 g/gal slaked lime (CaOH2)
- 0.19 g/gal baking soda (NaHCO3)
- 0.18 g/gal chalk (CaCO3)
For the two “batches” of mineral water I have made, I added the brewing salts to approximately one cup of distilled water and boil until dissolved. Next, I added the boiled water into a keg and topped with the remaining volume of distilled water. Using 35 psi of carbon dioxide, I carbonated to approximately 4.8 volumes of CO2 over several days.
One advantage of having mineral water on tap is that it doubles as the source water for my glass rinser (more details on my kegerator to follow).
I brought home a bottle of Topo Chico from a business trip to Birmingham, Alabama to do side-by-side tasting. I honestly could not tell them apart, even with respect to carbonation level. Overall, I am very happy with my clone recipe – it’s delicious, easy-to-make, and inexpensive!
Where exactly does one acquire all of these additives?
You can find most of these salts at any local homebrewing shop or online at MoreBeer or Amazon for example. Make sure they are food grade if you are purchasing on Amazon since it’s not always clear.
Have you had their flavored mineral water? Lime and grapefruit? They are both great! I plan to use your recipe and then play around with extracts to get the lime, grapefruit or other flavors.
I haven’t tried the flavored versions yet and have been meaning to measure the Topo Chico pH so I can dial the recipe in even further. I’ll keep an eye out for the grapefruit and lime versions!
So do you add 2.31 grams of salts or 11.55 g. for a 5 gallon batch? Also do you use 5 gallons of distilled as well? or just to mix the salts.. Thanks again for this writeup!
For 5 gal, you would multiple the g/gal ratios I provided by 5 for a total of 11.55 g. I use distilled water since I know it is void of any minerals, therefore I can easily dial in the additions to nearly match Topo Chico.