Hot tap water?

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Phitz

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So I am about to embark on my second brew and will be brewing a Citra IPA kit from NB. I have a glass top stove and my first brew took a very long time to reach a boil. Any harm in starting with hot tap water? I'm sure it would speed things up quite a bit. Thanks
 

VikeMan

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Hot water from a water heater tank or even just delivered through copper pipes (old lead-containing copper or newer "safe" copper) can have metals/oxides that at best you wouldn't want in your beer, or at worst could be unsafe. I wouldn't do it.
 
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Phitz

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I thought about that. I guess I’ll just have to be more patient and use the time waiting to get other things done.
 

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Might be true, however, I often did that, never had an issue.
 
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Phitz

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Wow!! That is disgusting. My hot water tank is only a year old but that pic is enough to convince me.
 

VikeMan

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I guess the precipitated CaCO3 keeps all that rust out the water, too? :)
 

Miraculix

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If you got a pipe system with rust in it, then there is something fundamentally wrong with it that has not much to do with the heater.
 

VikeMan

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If you got a pipe system with rust in it, then there is something fundamentally wrong with it that has not much to do with the heater.
The rust is from the sacrificial anode, place in the tank to rust intentionally, to protect the tank itself from rusting. IOW, in order to protect the tank, it makes more rust than otherwise would be made. And the rusty anode disintegrates over time.
 

Miraculix

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The rust is from the sacrificial anode, place in the tank to rust intentionally, to protect the tank itself from rusting. IOW, in order to protect the tank, it makes more rust than otherwise would be made. And the rusty anode disintegrates over time.
Inside?
 

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From CDC, about lead in hot tap water:"Avoid cooking with or drinking hot tap water because hot water dissolves lead more readily than cold water does. Do not use hot tap water to make cereals, drinks or mix baby formula"
 

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I use hot tap water in my BIABs. I get right away 140F-150F mash temperature. I taste no difference between this and RO water I used to practice before. This is a water from Lake Michigan in Chicago suberb.
 

wsmith1625

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So I am about to embark on my second brew and will be brewing a Citra IPA kit from NB. I have a glass top stove and my first brew took a very long time to reach a boil. Any harm in starting with hot tap water? I'm sure it would speed things up quite a bit. Thanks
All the info here is correct, hot tap water really shouldn't be consumed. It's not gonna kill you, but generally not a good idea.

I'll assume you're doing smaller batches since you're brewing on a stove top. Have you considered an induction burner? Maybe you could set one up on a timer to start heating before you wake up.
 

BarryBrews

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Whoa....environmental chemist here! If your house was built after 1986 don't worry about the lead, and don't worry about iron unless you are using a private well. That doesn't mean your water, both hot and cold, couldn't using a 10 micron filtering prior to use. Your slow heating issue aside, a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system would greatly improve your beer and your coffee! When you replace the sediment filter in a RO system you get to see firsthand how dirty 1500 gallons of tap water really is! We use RO water for all food preparation. Next time you need to replace your hot water heater I can't recommend enough going to a tankless system if you can.
 

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So I am about to embark on my second brew and will be brewing a Citra IPA kit from NB. I have a glass top stove and my first brew took a very long time to reach a boil. Any harm in starting with hot tap water? I'm sure it would speed things up quite a bit. Thanks
Is this an extract kit?
Are you doing full volume boils or top up in the fermenter?

You could heat up the water in several pots, using all burners. Then combine and start your brew.
 
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Phitz

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It is a extract kit and I top off with tap water in the fermenter. I thought about dividing the water up into 2 pots. My house is older but my plumbing is less than a year old- new well pump and water line, new hot water heater and 100% plastic piping throughout the house so I would probably be ok. Thanks for all of the input!!
 

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Another vote against using hot water, especially if you don't periodically drain it as recommended...
 

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The sacrificial anode is a long aluminum rod that erodes into the water, yummy aluminum. Calcium deposits on the bottom are not harmful. The red and black deposits are iron and manganese in well water. The tank itself rusts after a few years as anode rod wears out. Hot water will extract PVC from pipes, lead from solder points and brass fittings, even sharkbite valves on PEX have lead. If you are pregnant it is not recommended to drink hot water in shower or take too long of showers due to lead intake. I harvest local spring water, it has the perfect chemistry for brewing. Well water is often too alkaline to make good beer.
"Although brass usually contains low lead levels, the lead can still dissolve into the water, especially when the fixtures are new. Private wells more than 20 years old may contain lead in the "packer" element that is used to help seal the well above the well screen."
 

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It is a extract kit and I top off with tap water in the fermenter.
So you're boiling about 4-5 gallons worth? Or less? How long does it take?

It shouldn't take an extraordinary amount of time, the largest size burners in many such stovetops can output around 2000-3000 Watt, although their temp is continuously regulated. IOW, the elements cycle off when they reach their internal temp limits, even when set at the max. When it drop below the threshold they cycle back on. Not much you can do about that. Just start heating the water while getting your other stuff together. And keep the lid on while it's heating up, it reduces heat loss, especially when you have a fan hood running. You could insulate the lid, covering it with a towel, as outlined below.

Once it boils, can you easily retain that boil or simmer?

If not, you could leave the lid on part ways, and put a large, couple times folded over towel on top of the lid, to reduce heat loss there. Just be careful, you still got hot glowing burners around, so don't leave it unattended!
 

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Make sure pot is flat on bottom, any gap between glass will prevent heat transfer. Try an aluminum turkey fryer pot for heating water, way better heat transfer than SS. Draw water beforehand to allow it come to room temp. Go propane outside, brewing is a mess get out of the kitchen. Try no boil recipes that only get wort up to 180 F, I have been saving tons on propane with this method.
 

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Go propane outside, brewing is a mess get out of the kitchen.
I brewed in the kitchen for a couple years, in a leased home, on a flat top stove that was also temperamental in its heating habits.

Then we bought a home and moved, so started brewing outside on a Top Tier. I also burned through about 1/3-1/2 tank of propane each session. Then went back into the kitchen, using a 3500W induction plate and prefer it. I stick a box fan in the window above the kettle.

But yes, brewing can be messy, you got to keep an eye out on everything. I always have a few big towels on the floor, to catch any (small) spills.
I do most of the cooking and cleanups, so I pretty much own the kitchen, which helps my case tremendously. The wife doesn't mind the smell of brewing, that's an important factor too.
Also, our kitchen is not a showcase parlor, it gets used!
 

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By the way, be REALLY careful with your glass top stove. Mine cracked from the weight of a 10 gal batch. I now have an industrial gas stove and we are best friends.
Yeah, good you're pointing that out! Sh!t !!!

The sheer weight of a nearly full 8 gallon kettle on that glass top always freaked me out, the few times I used it for brewing that way. I also had trouble keeping a boil/simmer even on the triple element, it kept cycling. It barely worked for that.

I always made sure there was no grit, sand, or whatever on that top and the bottom of the kettle was clean and smooth to prevent any point pressure.
That's a using a heavy duty kettle with a triple ply bottom, which is very flat and even.

The biggest scare was when using a cheap, single ply Polar Ware brew kettle to heat 3-4 gallons of sparge water on that same glass top stove. The bottom plopped repeatedly due to the (localized) heating. No damage, but it was the last time. Induction plate only from then on, and everything has been working fine for over 6 years and many brews.
 

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I thought the water heater rods were magnesium? They might be aluminum.

Seems like a funny recommendation to not use hot water from the tank because of an aluminum rod, but to use an aluminum pot on the stove?

The simple answer is to use the cold water tap and plan around it needing to get to a boil. Use that time to go grab your other stuff out of whatever spaces you store it in, start getting your fermenter ready, things like that.

Definitely like the idea of having a water filter as well and not just using the tap, but that's another subject.
 

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We have solar panels that heat the water 355 days a year, I always hot fill my mash tun and sparge water heater. On a good sunny day the water is at strike temperature straightaway so it does save time. I do add some Sodium Metabisulphite to the water to get rid of any chlorine. Beer tastes fine.
If you are really concerned about your hot water tank you could get the water tested I suppose to see if it was really any different from your cold supply.
You could also just boil the electric kettle a few times and keep adding that water in as you heat up.
 

PianoMan

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So I am about to embark on my second brew and will be brewing a Citra IPA kit from NB. I have a glass top stove and my first brew took a very long time to reach a boil. Any harm in starting with hot tap water? I'm sure it would speed things up quite a bit. Thanks
What is a long time and how much water were you trying to boil? My electric flat stove will take 6gal from 65 to 165 for a mash in about 40min then about 30 from 135 to boil with 7gal of wort. I use aluminum kettles for that same issue. Stainless will take about 1.5x longer.
 
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Phitz

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I just finished a Citra IPA extract kit. The boil is only 2.5 gallons. I do have a cheap stainless pot that came with a kit. I didn’t time the boil, but from start to finish/ clean up was about 3 hours. I think my issue is my pot as the stove is almost a year old. Will be looking for a new one soon. Thx
 

PianoMan

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3hrs is excessive for 2.5gal even with SS. I'd suspect there's an issue with pot to surface contact or flat out a power problem with the stove. Surface burners generally have 2 settings, something to verify.

Edit:
I read that wrong. From cold water to clean up, post cooling, 3hrs total time is reasonable.

To add:
As others said, I'd be leary of any water you don't know the chemistry of. I always use RO/distilled and remineralize. But that's just me.

More:
If you're interested in really cutting time, especially with extract brewing, look up the no boil threads....

 
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Beermeister32

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Here in Southern California, the water is terrible. At various times of year you can smell an organic odor in the water. Additionally they treat it with chloramine which is much harder to remove than chlorine, resulting in off-flavors.

I typically use distilled water from the store and build up to the water profile needed. I have a couple styles I use Crystal Geyser mountain spring water on, or a blend of the two with modifications. Sometimes I’ll heat a portion up on the stove, especially if I’m doing an extended boil and don’t want to stall out the boil by topping up with extra brewing water.
 

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It is a extract kit and I top off with tap water in the fermenter. I thought about dividing the water up into 2 pots. My house is older but my plumbing is less than a year old- new well pump and water line, new hot water heater and 100% plastic piping throughout the house so I would probably be ok. Thanks for all of the input!!
Unless you are tapped into a Spring water well?? All the other new stuff sounds great, (but the well ground water flag) should make you think twice.
 

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Even with modern hot water tanks, the anode needs to be replaced to extend the life of your tank. It's a DIY project. AND, almost every hwt has a valve at the bottom. That is your friend! At least once a year I drain 2-3 five gallon buckets of water from our tank. Any sediment is thus emptied. Barbarosa's image is the result of a lack of simple maintenance.

I suppose since most of us are using RO or distilled water, boiling wort at 212 degrees in steel and aluminum containers is not bad? Not to mention sticking copper or SS wort chillers in our boils. (I do recognize it's still tap water going through the pipes as opposed to what most home brewers use for brewing...)
 

BrewZer

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I thought the water heater rods were magnesium? They might be aluminum.

Seems like a funny recommendation to not use hot water from the tank because of an aluminum rod, but to use an aluminum pot on the stove?

The simple answer is to use the cold water tap and plan around it needing to get to a boil. Use that time to go grab your other stuff out of whatever spaces you store it in, start getting your fermenter ready, things like that.

Definitely like the idea of having a water filter as well and not just using the tap, but that's another subject.
I'm more worried about crud that collects at the bottom of a water heater breaking loose and jumping into the brewpot.
 

BarryBrews

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I thought the water heater rods were magnesium?
It is.

Use an inline sediment style filter if you are concerned about sediment in your water, but using your hot water tank is safe based on my previous statement above about house age and water source.

I know it cost more for distilled or for RO (don't forget to add your calcium salts), but it can really makes a huge difference particularly if you have poor water quality (high levels of dissolved solids, salts).
 

BarryBrews

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I'm more worried about crud that collects at the bottom of a water heater breaking loose and jumping into the brewpot.
Again WHOA! Cold water is added to the bottom of a hot water tank and hot water drawn off the top hence maintaining constant hot temperature for the volume of your tank. The precipitated solids are not floating around in the hot water tank. The tank scale is from calcium and magnesium in you water and when heated causes the carbonate to be driven off leaving the Ca and Mg to precipitate. Anyone that lives in the Phoenix area has seen this effect on their coffee pot over time. Use your hot water or not, as long as your tap water taste good you're good to go!
 

VikeMan

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Whoa....environmental chemist here! If your house was built after 1986 don't worry about the lead,
As an environmental chemist, you know that the 1986 "lead free" regulation didn't actually eliminate lead. Hell, pipes were still allowed to contain up to 8%. You also know that lead leaches more efficiently into hot water than into cold water.

Just adding some context.
 
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I routinely use hot water but I also use a water filter intended for hot water as well. You do need to fill slowly for the filter to be effective.
 
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