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-   -   Re-Intro, and some questions (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/re-intro-some-questions-14316/)

flingdingo 10-01-2006 08:43 AM

Re-Intro, and some questions
 
So I haven't visited the site for a while, because, well...I haven't brewed for a while. I know, I know, I'm a bad human.

I started brewing with my brother-in-law, at his house because they have a wine cellar that is 68-70 degrees year-round. Good times were had, but I found myself doing most of the work, especially the clean-up. Oh well, no big deal, I was brewing beer. After a while, every time we made plans to brew, he would have some excuse not to, come brew day. It's been over six months since we brewed a batch.

Well, after spending the month of September trying to start brewing for the holidays with no luck, I collected my equipment from his house, bought the rest of the stuff I was missing (he bought the kettle and misc stuff, I bought a kit from the LHBS) and will now brew at my own home. For now, the "brewery" will be a bedroom closet which stays around 70 degrees, but an old fridge is in the works.

Okay enough of the rant, on to my questions...

At the bro-in-law's house, their water sucked. It etched glass on cars, and tasted VERY metallic. They always drink bottled water. So, we always brewed with bottled water.

At my house the tap water tastes fine, which, I'm told, means the beer will taste fine. Do I really need to pre-boil the tap water? I know I need to get rid of the chlorine, but won't that go away during the regular boil? Or does it attach itself to the wort in the boil?

It seems to be a waste of energy to boil twice, so I may just stick with bottled water. What do you guys think?

Next, I have a packet of yeast that I bought in March for a brew that never happened. It has lived in the fridge the whole time, is it still viable? I'm tempted to brew a starter and see what happens, but wanted some opinions first.

I'll be posting a lot more in the future, I plan to move up to all-grain soon, and will have tons of questions. I'm glad to see the site is thriving, over 1500 people have joined since I was last active.

DAAB 10-01-2006 09:47 AM

Its not sufficient to rely on boiling the wort to remove chlorine, you will still end up with that medicinal taste.
Unfortunately its not sufficient to pre-boil your brewing water either as more water supplies are being treated with chloramine inconjunction with, or instead of chlorine. This isnt removed by boiling has the same effect as chlorine on your beer. Incidently some water companys switch between the two so just because you've had sucsess boiling off chlorine for one brew doesnt mean the next will be ok.
One easy way of removing chlorine and chloramine (especialy easier than pre-boiling) is to use a point of use water filter, they are very cheap and work extremely well, a similar alternative is the jug type filter but these take ages and have a maximum recommended daily through put which isnt really sufficient for brewing.
The easiest way of removing chlorine/chloramine from your brewing liquer is to fill a large fermenter bucket and stir in 1/2 a crushed campden tablet for every 5 gallons. This quickly neutralises the chlorine etc and produces perfectly good brewing liquer.

ian 10-01-2006 12:18 PM

I personally have never preboiled my brewing water and have always used it straight from the tap. I haven't noticed any chlorine related off flavors in my beer.

So, I guess I'd say go for it. Only one way to find out. I bet it'll be fine.

As far as the yeast goes, whay type is it (i'm assuming liquid)? It should have a "use by" date on it. But, I bet its still fine. I recently used a vial of White Labe CA Ale that I'd had in the fridge for several months. It started just fine.

Welcome Back!

Truble 10-01-2006 01:42 PM

I do boil all of my water, which is well water and actually quite good, if a little hard. Having said that, I have read and heard that, at least for starting out, if the water tastes fine, it is fine to brew with.

My reason for boiling was initial paranoia that turned into habit. I was using Poland Spring water and boiling it. I switched over to tap when we stopped getting the spring water delivered, since the well was good. The well at our old house was ok but not great, though I didn't brew until I moved.

david_42 10-01-2006 02:23 PM

Basic rule: if it tastes ok the water is ok. A quick call to your water supplier will let you know if they use chloramine. If they do, a filter might be a good idea. I had my whole house on a filter in Las Vegas. There was enough chlorine in the lake water to bleach a Goth white.

Make a starter from the yeast. It should be fine. Six months in a commercial package isn't a problem.

Sean 10-01-2006 03:07 PM

How much chlorine in the tap water is too much? Mine has 0.93 ppm.

disaffected 10-01-2006 03:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DAAB
Its not sufficient to rely on boiling the wort to remove chlorine, you will still end up with that medicinal taste.
Unfortunately its not sufficient to pre-boil your brewing water either as more water supplies are being treated with chloramine inconjunction with, or instead of chlorine. This isnt removed by boiling has the same effect as chlorine on your beer. Incidently some water companys switch between the two so just because you've had sucsess boiling off chlorine for one brew doesnt mean the next will be ok.
One easy way of removing chlorine and chloramine (especialy easier than pre-boiling) is to use a point of use water filter, they are very cheap and work extremely well, a similar alternative is the jug type filter but these take ages and have a maximum recommended daily through put which isnt really sufficient for brewing.
The easiest way of removing chlorine/chloramine from your brewing liquer is to fill a large fermenter bucket and stir in 1/2 a crushed campden tablet for every 5 gallons. This quickly neutralises the chlorine etc and produces perfectly good brewing liquer.

DAAB, I gather from googling that there is a fairly broad range of dosage that can be used without adversely affecting desirable characteristics of the wort. Campden tablets are made of potassium metabisulphite or sodium metabisulfite, and it is used at a low concentration to neutralize chlorine or chloramine, and in a higher concentration to kill wild yeast and undesirable bacteria. The K and NA forms have slightly different molecular weights (222 grams per mole for the K-metabisulfite versus 190 for the NA-metabisulphite), but I suspect they are close enough for the rough measures used in beer or wine-making.

I keep sodium metabisulfite on hand all the time, so I'd rather use that than buy Campden tablets. Can you tell me if there is anything else in the Campden tablets besides the metabisulfite, and how much each tablet weighs so I can estimate the weight of sodium metabisulphite I need to add to 6.5 gallons of water?

DAAB 10-01-2006 04:09 PM

Appart from possibly a caking agent to bind the powder campden tabs are purely sodium or potassium metabisulphite. Youre right about the dosing, eg, wine makers use it in larger quantitys to prepare their must, without any ill effect, they then go on to add more to stabalise it.
I personaly use the minimum to keep adatives down though, however there are some brewers who chuck several into the mash to help combat HSA??

One of the reasons for making a tablet in the first place is the ease of measuring as we are talking very small amounts (sorry if I am stating the obvious). Unfortunately the smallest amount my electronic scales will register is 1 gram and to achieve that requires 2 tablets. I've tested with 2-4 and 6 tablets and all results suggest each tablet weighs 1/2 a gram (sorry about the metric units). I'm sure there must be a standard measurement for a tablet but its not something i've ever had to consider though. It looks like if you are producing a 5 gallon brew length and want to use sodium met powder you're going to have to try and measure out 1/4 of a gram somehow. It may just be easier to buy some tabs next time youre down the LHBS:)

disaffected 10-01-2006 04:37 PM

I normally convert everything to metric anyway, DAAB. My darkroom scale is accurate to a tenth of a gram, so I won't worry about the hundredths and I'll just measure out .3 grams for 5 gallons.

Thank you. I wasn't aware before reading this thread and your post that chlorine in the water was of any concern with respect to flavor.

Ol' Grog 10-02-2006 01:18 PM

0.93 is pretty low, which is good. I will assume that is residual chloride, if it is, then that will off gas when you boil your wort water.


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