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Old 01-13-2010, 07:57 AM   #11
Nov 2009
Pasadena, CA
Posts: 289
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I've never boiled the top-up water and have yet to have problem.

Beer has been brewed long before the concepts of sanitation and sterility where thought of.

The bacteria can just lay in wait and bide its time. I just read a thread somewhere on here where a guys barley wine was good for 3 years and then developed a gusher infection.
Now I am picturing a little lactobacillus dressed up in commando gear hiding behind a ridge of yeast carcasses on the bottom of a bottle. Watching, careful monitoring the deliciousness of the barleywine, waiting until the peak of flavorful glory and BOOM, time to get bacteria sex on...

Amusing image, but a lot can happen to a bottle in 3 years. Saying that the bacteria "lays in wait and bides its time" isn't the most probable scenario

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Old 01-13-2010, 08:09 AM   #12
Nov 2009
Alternate Universe
Posts: 2,281
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Originally Posted by Rushis View Post

Beer has been brewed long before the concepts of sanitation and sterility where thought of. \
Actually, beer was made because they didn't understand sanitation and boiling it and adding hops meant people didn't get sick like they did from the unboiled water.

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Old 01-13-2010, 08:40 AM   #13
eriktlupus's Avatar
Jan 2007
Cereal City, USA
Posts: 2,618
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rdwhahb my friend,

a friend of mine who has been breweing for more the 5 yrs uses his water straight from the tap for top up purposes and has no problems. now is this going to be true for everyone? no, but it just illustrates that if you like the taste of your water chance are you'll be fine. it also helps if you pitch big starters of yeast to outduel any other nasties that get in.
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:56 AM   #14
Jun 2009
blacksburg, va
Posts: 117
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I dunno .. im on like brew 20 so far and strictly use tap water. I'm on city water though. Some of my friends are on well water....wouldn't use that stuff to brew thats for sure.

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Old 01-13-2010, 01:02 PM   #15
Oct 2009
North Carolina
Posts: 426
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From what I understand, yeast can do it's thing and neutralize some bacteria. However, the longer it takes for the yeast to kick in, the longer the bacteria can grow stronger. Isn't this one of the benefits of a starter?

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Old 01-13-2010, 01:52 PM   #16
Sep 2009
Cincinnati OH
Posts: 35

Doesn't the Ph level of fermenting beer reach such a level as to inhibit bacteria shortly (day) after fermenting begins?

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Old 01-13-2010, 02:05 PM   #17
Dec 2009
jacksonville fl
Posts: 64

i live in the country and have well water with a slight sulfur smell to it.

i was wondering the same thing but in the end i just ended up buying drinking water from the store to brew with. at winndixie i can get 6 gallons of water for around 5-6 dollars, so if it makes you feel better do that.

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Old 01-13-2010, 02:05 PM   #18
Nov 2009
Vancouver WA
Posts: 112

Unless you cool it quickly with something like an immersion chiller, I think the wort is at more risk if you boil the top-up water then let it sit around to cool off to a pitchable temp. Better to just pitch and end it. Like I said earlier, I haven't had a problem nor have most folks on this thread. I'm totally for being as cautious as possible, but unintended consequences may do more harm than good.
Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.
-Dave Barry-

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Old 01-13-2010, 02:35 PM   #19
Oct 2007
QCA, Iowa
Posts: 959
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For all those saying that they use water straight from the tap, anecdotal evidence doesn't mean that it's save. Take a revolver and put one bullet in it. Spin the cylinder, put it up to your head and pull the trigger.


Since you didn't die, it must be safe, right?

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Old 01-13-2010, 02:41 PM   #20
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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It's simple, if there's not a boil water advisory in your area, and you can drink your water, then you can brew with it, AND you can top off your fermenter with it.

It's really that simple.

I've never boiled my top off water.

The only time I have boiled water to use, is when I am boiling jars prepare them for washing yeast, and I use that boiled water and the evident;y sterile jars and lids.

But if you can drink and cook with your water, you don't need to boil it. At least not for sanitary reasons. Many folks boil their water to drive off chlorine.

But if it makes you feel better then go ahead. There's a million ways to skin this brewing cat and they all work.
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