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Old 10-09-2007, 04:13 PM   #1
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Default Adding water to the fermenter

I may have done something stupid.
I didn’t want my 5 gallon carboy to foam over so I added less water than I needed to. It has fermented for two days now and I want to add a pint or two of clean cool water now.
I think I should make a list of pros and cons before I proceed. Any ideas?


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Old 10-09-2007, 04:50 PM   #2
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you'll have to boil and cool that water first. clean doesn't mean sterile...and that's what you need right now to avoid infecting a batch.

remember it'll alter your original gravity too.

don't worry about mixing it, it'll mix itself in through fermentation and the eventual racking to secondary.


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Old 10-09-2007, 05:05 PM   #3
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Lately, there have been a number of thought provoking posts along the vein of; It doesn't make sense that XX is "bad" if similar procedure "YY" is not bad. This is one of them. I'm not saying that Malkore is wrong, just that perhaps we should explore/evaluate the CW. That said;

Lots of brewers add non-sterile water to their wort post boil to cool it, increase volume, etc. At that point, no alcohol exists to protect the wort and yeast populations are at their lowest. 2 days later alcohol is present and yeast populations are high. If adding it post boil is appropriate, does it really matter when you add the non-sterile water?

Thoughts/comments?
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pldoolittle
Lately, there have been a number of thought provoking posts along the vein of; It doesn't make sense that XX is "bad" if similar procedure "YY" is not bad. This is one of them. I'm not saying that Malkore is wrong, just that perhaps we should explore/evaluate the CW. That said;

Lots of brewers add non-sterile water to their wort post boil to cool it, increase volume, etc. At that point, no alcohol exists to protect the wort and yeast populations are at their lowest. 2 days later alcohol is present and yeast populations are high. If adding it post boil is appropriate, does it really matter when you add the non-sterile water?

Thoughts/comments?
Not sure of the exact answer here, but all I know is that I've had brews go into the bottling bucket tasting like a million bucks, and come out of the bottle all gushing and infected. So don't think that having alcohol is enough to stave off contamination. It's not vodka.
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Old 10-09-2007, 05:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pldoolittle

Lots of brewers add non-sterile water to their wort post boil to cool it, increase volume, etc. At that point, no alcohol exists to protect the wort and yeast populations are at their lowest. 2 days later alcohol is present and yeast populations are high. If adding it post boil is appropriate, does it really matter when you add the non-sterile water?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
Not sure of the exact answer here, but all I know is that I've had brews go into the bottling bucket tasting like a million bucks, and come out of the bottle all gushing and infected. So don't think that having alcohol is enough to stave off contamination. It's not vodka.
I've topped off a few extract batches with unboiled tap water with no problems. But that was before fermentation.

I would not recommend adding unboiled tap water to a batch afterfermentation (before bottling). I don't have any science to back this up, its just paranoia.

It really comes down to the quality of your water source and the cleanliness of your pipes and faucette. Seems like everyone should make a determination for themselves based on local conditions.

FWIW, I think it is the PH of beer and not the alcohol level that is the protective factor.
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Old 10-09-2007, 06:33 PM   #6
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From the sounds of it you want to add such a small amount of water (~25 oz) that I would just enjoy two less slightly higher ABV beers. I dont think any potential risks are worth having a couple extra beers. If you were down a gallon or so this would be a different story but i think for a pint or two you should leave well enough alone and chalk it up to experience.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:10 PM   #7
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The only harm in adding water after fermentation is adding oxygen at the same time. If you boil the water for 30 minutes first to drive the o2 out and sanitize, then cool it, there's no harm whatsoever IMHO.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:24 PM   #8
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It may not be best practice and it may increase risks but I wouldn't worry too much about it.
But like others said is it worth it for a few extra bottles?
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Old 10-10-2007, 01:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
So don't think that having alcohol is enough to stave off contamination. It's not vodka.
I wasn't implying that the alcohol was a life saver, only that post-fermented beer should be more resistant than pre-fermented beer. Hence, if it was not too big a risk pre-fermentation wouldn't it be less of a risk post-fermentation.
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Old 10-10-2007, 02:24 AM   #10
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The risk really isn't contamination (although it may be a slight risk), the risk is oxygenation. Tap water is loaded with oxygen (we even have aerators on the faucet) and would be a danger to post-fermentation I would guess. That, and it would mess up the sg and the fg since it was basically watered down.


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