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Old 07-26-2011, 03:16 PM   #1
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Default Top-off water temperature

I've read about HSA, and also read about letting the water get outside the OG. I brewed five batches of extract brew, and they've all turned out great. I'm starting to really tweak out my brewing process now, which leads me to the following:

I brew a partial-boil of about 3-3.5 gals. I can cool this in an ice-water bath rather quickly to about 100F, in about 15-20 minutes. My top-off water is purified bottled, and I usually have it in the refrigerator until I start brewing, when I take it out and let it to start to approach room temperature.

Is it okay to add 100F wort to 40-60F top-off water in the primary fermentor? Should I wait until the wort reaches 80F, then transfer? Should the top-off water be warmer? Does it matter what the temperature of the top-off water is? I never pitch until the water is under 80F.

Love to read some expert opinions.

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Old 07-26-2011, 03:23 PM   #2
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It doesn't really matter! HSA is not really considered an issue modern day and has pretty much been moved into the "myths of conventional brewing wisdom" category.

When I brewed extract, I would freeze or partially freeze two gallons of top up water, cut the top off the jug and add to the wort.

Then one time we tried topping up with cold water straight from the tap and it ended up being our best batch yet (don't worry we checked and there are no chlorines in our water at school).

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Old 07-26-2011, 03:31 PM   #3
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I've been chilling my wort down to 67-70F,& my top off water at cool room temp,unless it's hot out. Then chill it since the morning of brew day. Especially since reading on Midwest about the cooper's ale yeast I've been using. It can ferment down to 62F,they claim. I'm going to have to try fermenting that yeast at 64F when I can. Beer should be cleaner tasting.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr View Post
I've been chilling my wort down to 67-70F,
But I want to move my wort at 100F, right after the cold-break. Then mix with cold water... Should I lower it to 80F? Or does the final mix matter?

What does "outside OG mean" (BTW, all the Brewer's Best kits talk about this "Be careful not to add a volume of water that will cause the wort to fall outside of the OG range specifi ed in the BREW STATS").

I've also read that the best way to top-off is to add two gallons of cold water to the fermentor, shake vigorously, then pour in the cool-down wort, check temp and then pitch.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:50 PM   #5
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When doing partial boils, I used the ice bath to bring it down to 80F, then topped off with refrigerated water. This allowed the wort to get down into the 60s or 70F at the warmest. This way I didn't have to rely so much on the swamp cooler to lower the temp into the 60s where I wanted it. My last batch, I switched to a full boil, and used an immersion wort chiller that I built from 3/8 copper tubing. It worked great. It was also easier to obtain an accurate OG because there was no issue of whether the topoff water was thoroughly mixed in. From what I understand, the full boil allows for better hop utilization, and reduces the issue of extract carmelization,(and extract "twang"). It will be interesting to see how this batch turns out.

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Old 07-26-2011, 03:51 PM   #6
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Each kit you buy will come with a "Target Original Gravity (OG)" range specified. It just means that if you want to produce beer like the kit intends, you should make sure you are not adding too little or too large a volume top off that it causes your specific gravity to be off.

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Old 07-26-2011, 03:53 PM   #7
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In all honesty, you can just pour 2 gals of almost frozen water into the fermenter. Pour your wort directly from the pot to the fermenter. Then top off to to your target volume with another gallon or so of almost frozen water. Usually, when I do brew extract, I put 3 gals of room temp water in to the freezer when I start brewing.

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Old 07-26-2011, 03:56 PM   #8
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Last brew I sanitized a plastic bag the night before brewday, added a gallon of pre-boiled water, and froze it. I then added it to the pot as I put it in the ice bath. Worked great! I plan on doing this more often now.

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Old 07-26-2011, 04:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djfake View Post
But I want to move my wort at 100F, right after the cold-break. Then mix with cold water... Should I lower it to 80F? Or does the final mix matter?

What does "outside OG mean" (BTW, all the Brewer's Best kits talk about this "Be careful not to add a volume of water that will cause the wort to fall outside of the OG range specifi ed in the BREW STATS").

I've also read that the best way to top-off is to add two gallons of cold water to the fermentor, shake vigorously, then pour in the cool-down wort, check temp and then pitch.
By "outside of the OG" they mean a reading higher or lower than the range specified. If you followed the kit instructions and topped off properly, you should be in the range. If you're off by a couple of points, don't worry, no big deal. Also, take a sample for your gravity reading, and don't put the hydrometer into the batch. They are fragile, and if it breaks, your wort is shot. Discard or drink the sample after testing, don't put it back into the batch.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Germelli1 View Post
Each kit you buy will come with a "Target Original Gravity (OG)" range specified. It just means that if you want to produce beer like the kit intends, you should make sure you are not adding too little or too large a volume top off that it causes your specific gravity to be off.
I understand, volume of water, e.g. don't make it 6 gals.

Okay, next batch I'll pull the wort down to 80-90F in the ice bath, then mix with 40-50F top off.

And check the OG with a sample.
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