tap water

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ruppe

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I have always been an extract brewer, and always topped my primary with tap water (~2 gal), with no detrimental effects. My water is chlorinated, but I don't taste it. I read all the time that you need to boil any water added to the brew process. Is this needed? I have never read of anyone who has had a detrimental effect due to their water. Is everyone boiling their water? Do we need to? I'm just curious.
 

tuckferrorists

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There are people that feel either way. Many have dodged a bullet without boiling. My first kit, I boiled my top off water. All my others, I haven't. You have to weigh the odds my friend.
 

shafferpilot

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I have to use a charcoal filter on my tap water. Without the filter I get a bandaid/medicine flavor. It was barely noticeable in my darker brews. But in the lighter ones it was quite strong.
 

vfinch

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A PUR or Brita filter setup isn't that expensive, and takes a potential variable out of your brewing. However, I did get a big reminder yesterday how slow the pitcher style Brita filters are (I think it was like a quart every 5mins!). Next time I'm going to pre-filter all my water before my brewing!
 

tomtom

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Yep, I used a Brita also this weekend, thought I'd never get my batch topped-off to 5 gallons. With my first two batches I used Zephyrhills spring water though.
 

Hoosierbrewer

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I buy RO water for $.25 a gallon. I recently started using my tap water some too. I used it 100% on 2 beers and they were ok. I brewed a lighter beer last night and did 50/50 since it was an all-grain. If you water is drinkable, I would say use it. I would caution though if you brew a light beer, then you cuold get more off-tastes. Most old breweries of Europe adapted the beer to their water over time.

Primary: German Ale/Kolsch
Secondary: American Wheat
Next up: IPA
 

springer

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clorine can be removed by either boiling-filtering or just letting it sit. When the kids had fish would to have to let water sit out for a day or two when topping off the tank. But you run the risk of wild yeast and bacteria that way.
 

malkore

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clorine can be removed by either boiling-filtering or just letting it sit. When the kids had fish would to have to let water sit out for a day or two when topping off the tank. But you run the risk of wild yeast and bacteria that way.
but boiling doesn't touch chloramine...which is what many water supplies use...because it doesn't just evaporate like chlorine.

campden tabs can neutralize chloramine...but I don't have enough in my tap water to matter. all my beer is from tap water and never has had the 'bandaid' aroma or flavor in it.
 

HOOTER

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Yep, I used a Brita also this weekend, thought I'd never get my batch topped-off to 5 gallons. With my first two batches I used Zephyrhills spring water though.
Brita only filters out contaminates like lead, mercury and chlorine. It does not purify water as far as microbiological contaminates are concerned, so using it wouldn't really reduce the risk of infection anyway.
 

knowltonm

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Topping off with unboiled water is more of an infection risk than anything if your water is ok. Ice is even worse...have you heard the stories of all the sh*t in restaurant ice? Boiling will sanitize the water while getting rid of chlorine. Without boiling, you run a small risk of an infection somewhere along the way. That being said, there are plenty of people that do it with no ill effects. Do the benefits outweigh the risks? That's up to you.
 

cellardoor

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My water smells real funky coming out of the tap so for general use I filter it. For brewing I don't have the patience to filter 5 gallons through my brita pitcher so I just buy 5 gallons of purified water from the grocery store. $.39 a gallon is the right price for me. The water even passes through UV light right before it fills up the bottles as an additional purifying step. For about $2 a batch for it makes me feel better about getting rid of that variable.
 

rico567

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Our well water has too much and too many kinds of minerals for me to even think about using it....although I may try it someday with a style that tends to benefit from minerals, when I'm in an experimental mood. Since I started, I've been using nothing but the grocery store water (Glacier, Water Island). I can get the Glacier product for $ .33 per gallon, $1.65 per batch. Cheap insurance. This stuff gets a charcoal filter before and after, with a reverse osmosis filter in between, and UV light at the end. That has always produced beer that tastes very good to me, and I see no reason to change. I'm not risking a $30 beer kit by using tap water or ice.
 

drayman86

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Interesting thread.

I just started brewing at home. Prior, we brewed at my buddies place with well water. My city water contains chloramine. For my first two batches, I used an aquarium water treatment product that removes/neutralized chlorine & chloramines:

http://novalek.com/kordon/amquel/index.htm

Seems this stuff is similar to Campden tablets, i.e. from the same group of chemicals. We'll see how the beer turns out. I can say this; never had an IPA blow through the airlock on a 6.5 gallon carboy before this, so fermentation wasn't inhibited in the least. :mug:
 

7Enigma

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Hmm, many of those aquarium cholorine-removing products contain sulfates, which traditionally are known to kill yeast. Glad to hear it worked out, but you should look into Prime instead. It is MUCH more concentrated and will last forever, I just don't know if they use the same dechlorinating chemicals.

Quickernu, yes charcoal filters should get rid of chloramine, but again they are not preventing the risk of infection, and charcoal can harbor ALL sorts of bacteria/etc. due to the many pores. I would only use charcoal if you were sure it was new, and even then would probably boil the water. Probably just cheaper to buy the water.

Myself I know we only have chlorine in our water and so boil the water. I make up huge ice cubes using pyrex food containers (pre-boiled water that is put in the containers and then frozen). This really helps to drop the temp of the wort without a chiller, and you can be sure there is no risk of contamination (because while the surface of the ice might have something on it, it will be sanitized by the boiling wort when you chuck it in).
 

ThatFishGuy

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A simple solution i found at about the same price as a brita but much faster: Buy a prefilter housing~$25 then whichever carbon block fits the bill. You'll also need MPTx hose barb fittings to match whatever size tubing you want. Lastly, an adapter to fit your faucet or hose. Works just like those pitcher charcoal filters but since its pressurized it will go much faster. The filter housings look like any of those found on home RO systems. Plus, you can use them to filter your beer if you just swap the carbon block out for a --micron sediment filter. I dont know many people that do that, but if you ever wanted to...
 

neuron555

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My tap water tastes pretty good and the towns analysis gives it a medium hardness, which seems to be fine for most styles (except maybe Pilzen). I have used a Brita filter some batches and not on others and I don't see much difference. I do boil it to sterilize and drive off the chlorine, then put it into water jugs a few days before brewing and put them in the fridge or freezer for brew day.
 

bradsul

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I don't boil, but I do use this on the end of my hose...
I bought one of these to replace my annoyingly slow inline Brita faucet filter. I love the flow rate, but do get a blast of black water every time you start running water through yours? I figured it would be like the Brita where you get that the first time but then never again.
 

Beer Dude

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I do boil it to sterilize and drive off the chlorine, then put it into water jugs a few days before brewing and put them in the fridge or freezer for brew day.
I have limited fridge space. I was thinking about boiling the majority of the water the night before and storing it in my cleaned and sanitized fermenter, allowing it to cool over night. I have enough room to keep some boiled water in the fridge to top it off.
 

EamusCatuli

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For a few of my first batches (before I knew better) I used water that came out of my tub faucet.....yeah i know:drunk:.....Still, they came out fine. Needless to say I use the tap from the sink now.

I think im going to buy bulk water from the store in the near future
 
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ruppe

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Thanks for all of the responses, I feel good about my water. However, this raises a different question. It appears to me that these "filtering" systems don't filter, but somehow chemically remove atoms, or molecules, of detrimental chemicals (lead, mercury, chlorine), which are considerably smaller than cellular bodies (bacteria). Does anything physically filter out bacteria, that is on the market?
 

7Enigma

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Thanks for all of the responses, I feel good about my water. However, this raises a different question. It appears to me that these "filtering" systems don't filter, but somehow chemically remove atoms, or molecules, of detrimental chemicals (lead, mercury, chlorine), which are considerably smaller than cellular bodies (bacteria). Does anything physically filter out bacteria, that is on the market?
You need to look for something with a um (that's micrometer) rating. Something like 0.22um, 0.45um, etc. That is the particulate size it filters out.
 

Special Hops

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I brewed with extacr for 7 years and never boiled or filtered my top-off water. Never had a problem.
 

monty73741

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I really think the chlorine issue is how much is used by the treatment plant. IN maryland, harford county. If you get your water from one source it very chlorinated. but if you are like me in baltimore county my really doesnt have much Chlorine in it. So i think for a general rule of thumb if your water smells like a pool dont use it, but if doesnt then u can use it
 

impulsoren

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I used to think city water wasn't an issue because the beer tasted good. Then, I made a couple batches of beer out at my parents house, where the water supply comes directly out of a spring about 1/4 mile uphill. Best beer I ever tasted were those batches. Since then I use a very expensive double filter at my home to make beer but it is still just not the same. (Mineral content part of the issue?)
 

knowltonm

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Do those RV filters work well enough? I didn't think they filtered nearly as well as a faucet one for in the kitchen.
 

bradsul

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Do those RV filters work well enough? I didn't think they filtered nearly as well as a faucet one for in the kitchen.
I did a totally unscientific taste test between my previous method (Brita faucet filter) and the RV filter and the water tasted the same to me. Take that for what it's worth though. :D
 

ChemE

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Thanks for all of the responses, I feel good about my water. However, this raises a different question. It appears to me that these "filtering" systems don't filter, but somehow chemically remove atoms, or molecules, of detrimental chemicals (lead, mercury, chlorine), which are considerably smaller than cellular bodies (bacteria). Does anything physically filter out bacteria, that is on the market?
I happen to be into reef aquaria and so have one of these already for that hobby.



Not only do these things laugh at chlorine and chloramine but they take out heavy metals, salts, organics, bacteria, and viruses. Starting off with totally pure water also allows you to adjust your water profile for the style of beer you are brewing.

This model filters down to 1 micron and so far has made thousands of gallons of RO/DI water without any filter changes. I have replaced the DI bed once ($13 and 10 minutes) though. You can get them for as little as $140 so if you are brewing often your payback period might not be too unreasonable. The big cost justification in my book is convenience. I couldn't be asked to lug gallons and gallons of RO water from the grocery store to keep my reef going and I certainly wouldn't want to do it for homebrewing either.
 

cheezydemon

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My tapwater is amazingly forgiving. I use tap water to cool my wort and top up. No off flavors or infection.....ever.
 

bad coffee

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I have an RO/DI filter as well, but I got rid of the RO membrane. My NYC tapwater has very little Total Disolved Solids (TDS) so I can use only DI. I get 0 TDS out with a prefilter, a carbon block (removes chlorine/chloramine) and the DI. I buy the resin in bulk so it's only $5 per filter change, and I don't waste 4 gallons of water for every gallon I make. Plus I can make about 40 gallons of clean water in an hour.

*thread Hijack*
ChemE, what size tank do you have and what do you have in it? I've got a 58 gallon I built, with mostly LPS. This spring I took out all my rock and cooked it, I lost a battle with bryopsis.
*/hijack*
B
 

ChemE

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[hijack]It is a 55 with a few softies, some LPS, and SPS (2 monti digi, 2 monti caps, pocillipora, and 2 monti spumosa). I'm losing a battle to bubble algae and am contemplating cooking my rock too.[/hijack]
 
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