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Old 11-14-2012, 10:32 PM   #1
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Hello fellow brewers! (Not one of you yet...hope to be on Friday!). I just purchased a starter kit and have a couple quick questions that didn't seem to be answered in the instructions/videos etc..

Top-Off Water: I plan on starting with partial boils (2.5 Gallons water) because I do not have a large enough kettle to boil 5 (with boilover protection). When I transfer my cooled Wort to my fermenter, what temperature should the top-off water be? Common sense tells me the same temperature (or close to it) as the cooled wort, but I just wanted to check. Also, what "kind" of water should I use? If I buy a few gallons of bottled spring water, do I need to sterilize the top off water? What if I top off with tap water? Do I need to boil my top off water first? If so, do I cool it the same way?

Priming Sugar: When I boil my priming sugar to prepare for bottling, what temperature should it be before I add it to my wort (beer at this point?)?

I had many more questions that WERE answered by searching, but I was having a hard time finding specifics about the above two questions..

Oh, I also have a nice PET Recycle Grade #1 Plastic Carboy I intend to use for secondary fermentation. Any thing I need to be mindful about with that?

Also, in the future, I will probably be brewing 2.5 gallon batches. If I by a LME kit, do I refrigerate the unused LME?

Would 3 gallon glass carboy be big enough to protect against blowoff during primary fermentation of a 2.5 gallon batch?

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Old 11-14-2012, 10:45 PM   #2
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Top-Off Water: If you use bottled spring water there is no need to sterilize it first. If you use tap water, I would boil it the night before, let it cool to room temp and then place it in the fridge to cool it further. Regardless of what water you use, definitely place it in the fridge to cool over night. The cold water will help bring the wort down to pitchable temps much more quickly than an ice bath alone.

Priming Sugar: Cool it down to the same temp as your new beer.

Secondary: I'd read up on the pros and cons of secondary. You probably can get away with not doing one. Just leave it in the primary longer... I personally go a minimum of three weeks.

LME: What does your bottle of LME say about the unused portion? I'd probably refrigerate it, but I've never had any left over...

3 G Carboy: Maybe... I'd still have some blow off tubing at the ready, especially if you are going to do a high gravity brew.

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:03 PM   #3
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Well, one thing you'll learn pretty quickly is that if you ask 3 brewers something, you're probably going to get 4 opinions. I'm going to disagree slightly with Nate and say that there isn't much difference between bottled water and tap. In a lot of cases, bottled water is simply filtered tap water. Personally, I'd boil either one, but a lot of folks add straight tap water with no problems. Getting it cold is a good idea, though. You really want your wort to be within 10 degrees of your fermentation temperature (i.e. less than 75 deg) before pitching.

Also going to disagree on the priming solution. No need to cool it. You're going to be adding about a pint of solution to 5 gallons of beer. You may scorch a few yeast cells in the beginning, but there will be plenty left to carbonate your beer. Not that cooling it will hurt anything, but it's just an extra step.

But I do agree with his points on the secondary. The bottle you have will be just fine if you decide to use one, but they're largely unnecessary. Search on this site and you'll find many, many pages of pros and cons, but it's pretty much a personal choice and people make great beer either way.

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:10 PM   #4
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For top off water, if you drink from the tap its fine to use as is and add it cold

I don't cool my priming sugar and it works fine and always has

There is no need to use a secondary and you can search the debate in a million threads

Always have a blow off tube set up and ready, you will need it one day. I always use one regardless of headspace, peace of mind

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Old 11-14-2012, 11:14 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=gr8shandini;4590166]Well, one thing you'll learn pretty quickly is that if you ask 3 brewers something, you're probably going to get 4 opinions. [QUOTE]

+1, this is so very true.
I use my mtap water at room temp.
I don't cool my priming mixture.
I rarely secondary.
I always have a blow off tube ready.

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Old 11-15-2012, 03:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8shandini View Post
Well, one thing you'll learn pretty quickly is that if you ask 3 brewers something, you're probably going to get 4 opinions.
So true!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8shandini View Post
I'm going to disagree slightly with Nate and say that there isn't much difference between bottled water and tap. In a lot of cases, bottled water is simply filtered tap water.
At least the filtering will have removed the chlorine. Personally, I wouldn't have any qualms about using the water straight from my tap, but it also tastes very good and doesn't reek of chlorine. If your (the OP) water doesn't smell like chlorine, you probably won't have any issues with using it as is.
Maybe the chlorine issue is overblown. I don't know. I haven't detected any off flavors that I can attribute to it, but then again, I don't know what to look for either. Sometimes ignorance is bliss...

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Also going to disagree on the priming solution. No need to cool it.
I've always cooled the solution, but I've only bottled a few batches at this point. Nice to know there's one less thing I need to worry about on bottling day. Thanks for that.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:20 PM   #7
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Wow! Great information all! I'm so looking forward to my first brew tomorrow! If I use straight tap water into the fermenter, in understanding that's ok? However, lets say I boil some water and cool it down. I would let sanitize a other container and store in the fridge until I add if to the wort. Our water is fine, but wondering about the bacteria issue. Is it true that bacteria could exist in the tap water (obviously not the kind/amount that would make you sick when drinking it) that could infect the wort?

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Old 11-15-2012, 01:31 PM   #8
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Just check that the chlorine you water dept uses is not Chloramine! That form of chlorine requires a very special filter and does not boil off either.

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Old 11-15-2012, 01:38 PM   #9
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Is it true that bacteria could exist in the tap water (obviously not the kind/amount that would make you sick when drinking it) that could infect the wort?
It's true. However, chances are your unboiled water will never be the cause of an infection. Those almost always come from unsanitized equipment.

If you ever think your water could be causing an infection, you could do a simple experiment to find out. Create a small wort and place it in a bottle of some sort with an airlock or some sanitized foil. Don't innoculate it with any yeast. Measure (or compute) the original gravity. After a few days, measure it again. If the specific gravity is the same, your water isn't gross.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:44 PM   #10
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Spring water isn't the same as regular bottled water. Spring water comes from pockets in the bedrock,just like natural gas & oil. Spring water works real well for extract beers. Some even use it for partial mash,although I used distilled water for that. & put a couple gallons for top off in the fridge overnight. That'll help get down to mid 60's pitch temp after wort chill.
I like to cover the lil sauce pan I make my priming solution in down to around fermenter temp. I like to keep as many yeasties as I can.
And def use a blow off tube during initial fermentation when it's at it's most vigorous.
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