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Old 07-16-2012, 01:18 AM   #1
Jan 2012
, Michigan
Posts: 107

Does city tap water really have bacteria in it? Is it necessary to boil water for rehydrating yeast, topping up, washing yeast etc? (I know that boiling does help with chlorine but I'm thinking more about bacteria.)

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Old 07-16-2012, 01:23 AM   #2
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:25 AM   #3
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Jun 2010
Portland-ish, OR
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A lot of people use bottled water instead and do fine. But with regards to that, usually city tap water is safer in regards to bacteria and other contaminates than bottled - it just tastes worse usually.

Simple solution: electric kettle. I picked one up for like $10 at Aldi.

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Old 07-16-2012, 01:36 AM   #4
Jan 2012
, Michigan
Posts: 107

It isn't the boiling so much that bothers me, its the waiting for the water to cool that makes me antsy.

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Old 07-16-2012, 01:38 AM   #5
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Apr 2011
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In terms of bacterial contamination, I'm with Revvy. If the water is somehow contaminated by anything (bacterial, chemical, anything), you've got bigger problems than it being safe for brewing. Now, if there's chlorine or chloramine in the water, that can potentially create off-flavors. But I use unboiled tap water in every single brew, including top off, and I've never had a problem. Basically, if your tap water is safe to drink on its own, and tastes good, you're probably ok using it.
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:45 AM   #6
Feb 2011
Clemson, SC
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Having water treatment pounded into my skull for the past few years of college, I'd say unless you've constantly got the runs from drinking your tap water, you're fine using it for any part of the brewing process unboiled.

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Old 07-16-2012, 02:40 AM   #7
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Jan 2011
Athens, Georgia
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Originally Posted by Qhrumphf View Post
I use unboiled tap water in every single brew, including top off, and I've never had a problem. Basically, if your tap water is safe to drink on its own, and tastes good, you're probably ok using it.
Agreed. I have heard a lot of anecdotal evidence this direction, and no stories of "my process and sanitation is dead on, and the damned tap water infected my beer."
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:25 AM   #8
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Jan 2012
Chicago, IL
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I have a long time friend who tops off with tap water and everything he brews has funkey tast, (he calls it hops) but I know it's not. His carboys are doing all sorts of stuff they should not be, with bad smells. But he drinks it and likes it, no one has gotten sick that I know of.

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Old 07-17-2012, 04:06 PM   #9
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For bacteria, I wouldn't worry about it for most things. If I was making starters, those I would boil. Perhaps yeast washing as well as there will be dead yeast in there that bacteria will happily eat, and the yeast aren't real active to compete with them. I should qualify this and say that this is probably more because of microbes that might have drifted in on the air, not from the water

Years ago when I first started brewing I could only do partial boils and would always top off with cold tap (city) water and never had an infection. My only infections came years later after going all-grain and messing around with weird protocols and I got some lactobacillus in my system.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:50 PM   #10
Sep 2011
Calgary, AB
Posts: 74
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for what it's worth, I always use straight tap water for rehydrating and topping off, and have never had a problem doing it. It bothered me the first time or two that I tried it, but nothing happened so I just went with it.

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