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Old 10-11-2011, 12:32 AM   #1
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Default Lowest temp for top-off water

What is the lowest temp the top-off water an be?

I had real trouble keeping my fermenter below 72 degrees this summer. If i can chill the top-off water then maybe the heat from the initial fermentation will stay below the 72 degree mark.

I did use a fan & water bath (guess I'll add ice to it next time too). It's just that warm here in the South.

Thanks.

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Old 10-11-2011, 12:34 AM   #2
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You can add ice cold water (or freeze your top off water first, if you're using a bucket so you can fit the ice through the opening). I like to pitch my ales at about 60 degrees.

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Old 10-11-2011, 01:34 AM   #3
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You can top off with rather cold water, but if it's too cold, the yeast will go dormant until the temp naturally rises to the required temperature. Fermentation is exothermic, so it'll still end up being very warm unless you cool it somehow. You are on the right track with the ice idea. What I ended up doing this summer was putting my fermenter inside my brew kettle, then filling the kettle with ice water. By adding small amounts of ice throughout the day I was able to keep my temps in the 60's whereas without the ice bath, I had one batch finish around 78.

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Old 10-11-2011, 01:46 AM   #4
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I always throw 2 galons of water in the freezer before I start. By the end of the boil there is a lot of ice in the jugs. I get my wort to 80, pour the 2 gallons of ice cold water in, and then top off with room temp water. Almost automatic 64 degrees.

Works for me......

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Old 10-11-2011, 01:57 AM   #5
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I use to add ice to my boil it cools it off super fast and works well for a top off

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Old 10-11-2011, 02:09 AM   #6
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I never understood the behavior of topping off with cold water. Isn't a lot of why we boil our wort to kill any wild yeast or bacteria in said wort? By dumping cool tap water or even store bought water into your wort one is just reintroducing the microbes you've spent the past 3 hour killing via wort boils and good sanitation proceeders.

If for some reason you can not do full wort boils why don't you try some of the following ideas as to not run the risk of having a beer with even the slightest off flavor?

-Invest in a kettle capable of containing a full wort boil

-Boil your "top off" water in a separate kettle during the last 20 minutes of your wort boil

-Adjust your recipe down to a size that you can perform a full wort boil.

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Old 10-11-2011, 02:36 AM   #7
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We boil to react the hop alpha acids, coagulate proteins, and create flavor. Unless you've got really bad tap water, topping off with straight unboiled tap water works fine.

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Old 10-11-2011, 02:57 AM   #8
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I understand the molecular changes which occur during a full wort boil, but have you ever plated your tap water? Unless pure DI water flows from your taps, the water contains a lot of microbes.

This is why Star-San is such an appealing sanitizer, for it is a no rinse final acid wash. According to the folks at the BN, if you rinse your freshly sanitized equipment with tap water after using something like an iodaphore solution then you have just reintroduced the microbes you just killed back onto your equipment. If what you are saying is true then there would be no reason to sanitize a wort chiller by placing it in your boil kettle for the last 15 minutes of your boil or sanitizing your counter flow chiller before running off your wort.

I suppose if what you are saying is true then establishing a clean room is a moot point as well.

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Old 10-11-2011, 03:26 PM   #9
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I'm sure I'm running some risk by using unboiled top off water. This has never caused an issue for me.

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