Spring44 is a Rocky Mountain artesian mineral spring. It is simply some of the best water on our planet.
How important is water in distilling? If you don’t have the pH levels right, you’ll destroy your spirit. And since clear spirits are made of 60 percent water – which is added back after distilling a grain spirit to 190 proof or higher – you don’t want to ruin the end result by cutting your distillate to proof with less than high quality water. If you carefully source what goes into your distillate, wouldn’t you carefully source your water, too?
Most spirits makers use purified water, which is “produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other suitable processes.” So they’re stripping down their water and adding things back in.
Our water is perfect in form, because we use Colorado Rocky Mountain artesian spring water.
The FDA defines spring water as “water from a well tapping a confined aquifer in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.”
So what does that mean?
It means that artesian water is encased in the earth between layers of impermeable rock, but something – like a well – lets it rise to the surface. Spring44 is off the grid, untouched by municipal water supplies, which is important because municipalities treat and re-engineer water to make it safe to drink giving it a different taste and chemical makeup. Artesian water is a lot more rare than mineral water, which is just water with a certain amount of minerals that comes from a geologically and physically protected underground source.
Spring44, nestled into the Buckhorn Canyon in the Rocky Mountains, is a source of artesian spring water, and that means the water is flowing naturally to the surface from a confined, natural source in the earth that’s never been touched by municipal water or contaminated by another source.
Our water is safe and delicious to drink, right from the ground. And because of its natural balance, we don’t have to adjust the pH before we use it to make spirits. Most sources of artesian water are used to make expensive bottled water. We use ours to make craft spirits.
There are many methods for filtering water but the truth is that no one does it better than Mother Nature.
When water is processed, it is sterilized, homogenized, filtered, and subjected to other procedures to ensure it’s always the same when it comes out the tap. Spring44 water is living and behaves like an organic substance. Our water has terroir and reflects its sense of place. This provenance occurs because the water is “alive” and is affected by the geology, climate, and contact with geological formations imparting a unique mineral composition. Spring44 is only 18 miles from the continental divide, the backbone of North America. The closest industrial installation is many miles away. This means there is minimal contact with pollutants in the air and ground. We add zero additives such as Chlorine or Flouride. Also, our distillery and bottling plant is very close to the spring, so it is minimally handled prior to being blended with our spirits.
What is it about Spring44 water that makes such great spirits?
In spirits WATER is the primary component. If you have a bottle at 40% ABV (80 Proof) then it is 40% Alcohol and 60% WATER. Distillation is seen as fine art blended with science. There is much that goes into distillation and the distiller spends lots of time fine-tuning what comes from the still to ensure it is of the highest quality. That is all thrown out the window when the Distiller’s masterpiece is blended with poor quality water. Low TDS, Slightly Acidic, Lower TDS water, particularly those with the very lowest TDS, have virtually no taste, and express an airy or light mouth feel. Consumers describe the lowest TDS waters as tasting clean, with even a hint of sweetness. Spring44 water has a TDS rating in the 30’s compared to municipal ratings, which sit well above 100. The same goes for Acidity. Slightly acidic waters carry a touch of sweetness that marries up well with the heat of spirits. The pH level of Spring44 is slightly acidic; it is just the right balance of the right minerals and softness. The right balance of minerals provides character while staying away from clouding which is undesirable in Spirits. White flakes or white sediments are to be expected in almost all spirits that have been reduced using hard or incompletely softened water. These turbidities consist of calcium salts or magnesium salts. Spring44 has a rating of 2.3 and 7 parts per million for magnesium and calcium respectively.
The Spring44 Source is 35 miles from the Continental Divide at 9000 ft. elevation.
The Spring44 Source is many miles from the nearest town: Loveland, CO.
If Spring44 was a bottled water, it would be one of the best available.
Fine Waters is the premiere source for tasting and rating premium bottled water. You can purchase the book here. They evaluate each premium bottled water across six elements:
Balance™ is a measure of carbonation ranging from Still (0 mg/l) to Bold (>7.5 mg/l). Still water is the most popular in the US and goes with anything. Carbonation increases the mouthfeel of the water and should be matched according to the food in the particular course – effervescent or light carbonation for delicate items such as fish to classic and bold with red meat and game.
Virginality™ is a measure of nitrates in water and is indicative of how well protected the source is from its surroundings. A premium bottled water should contain low levels of Nitrate, preferably less than 1 mg/l.
Minerality™ measures amount of minerals dissolved in water and is indicated as total dissolved solids (TDS), measured in milligrams per liter (mg/l) or parts per million (ppm), which are equal. Minerality gives each water its unique taste ranges from 0 to over 1,500 mg/l. It is helpful to think of the TDS content’s impact on water in terms of wine, with a Super Low water (0-50 mg/l) comparable to a light white wine such as a Pinot Grigio all the way up to a Very High water (>1,500 mg/l) as a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz.
Orientation™ is simply the pH factor of the water. Premium bottled water has a pH that ranges from 5 to 10. Acidic waters (pH below 6.7) will taste somewhat sour. Slightly alkaline waters (pH 7.3-7.8) may taste slightly sweet. Alkaline waters (pH 7.8-10) may taste somewhat bitter and feel slippery.
Hardness is a measure of the levels of Calcium and Magnesium. Premium bottled waters show a wide variety of Hardness, according to the geology of the source.
Vintage is simply the age of the water. The age of a premium bottled water should be noted as an enjoyable part of its story, which adds to the epicurean pleasure. Natural springs are as unique as a fingerprint. No two are identical. They occur randomly, and each one has its own personality. Some are gushers while others gurgle. Some are still while others are carbonated. Some are boiling hot while others are near freezing. But one thing all springs have in common is that each one has its own unique water analysis. The taste of spring water reflects different geologic strata where water absorbs minerals and trace elements; some over a year or two and others over centuries. These minerals are described in the water’s mineral analysis and are perceived in its taste. Highly mineralized water can sometimes taste metallic, and high bicarbonates can taste salty. Water with hydrogen sulfide tastes like rotten eggs, and high iron in water can taste like a rusty nail. Lower grade plastic bottles can cause a plastic taste in the water. And, if those bottles are stored in sunlight, the plastic taste can become even stronger. People tend to prefer their non-carbonated water in the range of 30 - 100 parts per million of total dissolved solids -- that being the measure of these minerals and trace elements. For carbonated waters, higher levels of minerals are more acceptable.