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8Bit 12-27-2011 04:27 PM

Well water questions
 
OK, So I have already brewed a few batches of beer, but always at a friends house using mostly his equipment and his city water. Well Santa was pretty good to me this year and now I am set up with the stuff I need to brew at home. The only issue I have is that I am using well water, which leads me to having several questions.

My understanding is that the water in the boil is fine, the boiling temps will kill off anything in the water....but since I am doing a partial boil should I top off with bottled water by the gallon? Or is well water OK for that too? I must admit I don't know much about well water but I have to assume that it has more little buggers in it then city water.

What about the sanitizing water? Will it be OK to fill a bucket with water from my tap, add SanStar and use that or should I use bottled water for that too?

Thanks for any help guys!

NordeastBrewer77 12-27-2011 04:30 PM

personally, i'd use bottled spring water if you're concerned about what may be in your well water.

jonmohno 12-27-2011 04:38 PM

I would get it tested.If it tastes good and you plan on brewing then you have a good situation.
Your water is fine with sanitizer, if you do do top offs with partial mashes you could always preboil and cool your water ahead of time and top off with that, just make shure you aerate your wort though too.

marubozo 12-27-2011 05:17 PM

Well water is usually just fine to use so long as it is good and drinkable. But without knowing the mineral composition of the water you could run into a few issues, especially with all grain brewing. A certain water profile may lend itself to a particular style of beer over another. Nothing to be overly concerned with early on and any water will make beer, but if your water source makes perfect stouts you may find that your pale ales just never seem to turn out as well, and it could very well be the water.

8Bit 12-27-2011 05:23 PM

Awesome, this is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I will pre-boil top off water for my first at home homebrew. I don't know why I didn't think of that, its much cheaper then buying bottled water. I am not quite at all-grain yet, but hope to be by the end of summer 2012. So I will definitely have the water tested by then. Anyone got a clue what that usually costs? I am trying to run under the husband money-spending radar.

Thanks again for the help!

marubozo 12-27-2011 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 8Bit (Post 3604107)
Awesome, this is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I will pre-boil top off water for my first at home homebrew. I don't know why I didn't think of that, its much cheaper then buying bottled water. I am not quite at all-grain yet, but hope to be by the end of summer 2012. So I will definitely have the water tested by then. Anyone got a clue what that usually costs? I am trying to run under the husband money-spending radar.

Thanks again for the help!

It's pretty cheap to get tested. $26.50 through Ward Labs (plus shipping). Here is the form for future reference: http://www.wardlab.com/images/SampleForms/HomeBrewer.pdf

Bernie Brewer 12-27-2011 05:59 PM

You can pre-boil your water if you want, but you don't have to. In 15 years of brewing I have never used anything but well water, and when I was using extracts I never boiled my top-off water. Took it right out of the tap.

bighorn_brew 12-27-2011 06:06 PM

I have to agree with Bernie, part I of my brewing act was done with nothing but well water. If it is good enough to drink you should be fine, but, lots of peoples wells are run thru a softener? Is yours, and if so, I don't know, but that may cause you to adjust your process...If you google around enough, you may be able to find out, in general, what your water composition is in your area...

jonmohno 12-27-2011 06:08 PM

I agree- but still would get it tested for future all grain and just constant use, you probably wont even need to boil it really.Ive even seen a few youtube hombrewers just use their tap water,its not uncommon.

Bernie Brewer 12-27-2011 06:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bighorn_brew (Post 3604230)
I have to agree with Bernie, part I of my brewing act was done with nothing but well water. If it is good enough to drink you should be fine, but, lots of peoples wells are run thru a softener? Is yours, and if so, I don't know, but that may cause you to adjust your process...If you google around enough, you may be able to find out, in general, what your water composition is in your area...

Good point. But most houses have at least one tap that is not softened water. Usually the cold kitchen tap.


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