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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: gigatropolis on January 27, 2011, 06:10:31 AM

Title: using bottled water
Post by: gigatropolis on January 27, 2011, 06:10:31 AM
I have been using straight bottled water for brewing my last 6 or so batches and don't think there has been any negative effects. I buy good quality bottled water and only use the bottle just after opening. I do extract brewing so will pour several gallons into the wort when in the fermenter.

  What are your thoughts on this? Is it normal to use bottled water or maybe I've been very lucky so far?

   Thanks,
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: euge on January 27, 2011, 06:26:00 AM
Perfectly acceptable. Especially with extract brews. I've made some fine brews doing just as you describe. In fact, I've just used straight unboiled tap water to top up the fermenter before without incident.

Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: phillamb168 on January 27, 2011, 09:07:22 AM
I do the same thing, but try to use spring water, as it tends to contain more minerals, etc. It's also way easier to fill up the HLT - the system I have now requires that I disconnect the water connection to my mash tun and re-route it upwards. Usually ends up spilling all over the place, but if I use bottled, I don't have that problem. Plus, I can re-fill the empty 1-gallon jugs and use them as receptacles for blowoff tube gunk.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: mabrungard on January 27, 2011, 01:19:39 PM
I caution the use of Euge's topping off procedure.  Although there is only a small chance of infection, the reason that there is such a low chance is that all municipal water systems in the US have to maintain a disinfection residual in the water lines.  For most places, that means chlorine or chloramine. 

I strongly recommend that removal of these compounds is critical to producing good beer.  So hopefully Euge just failed to mention that he does that.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: tomsawyer on January 27, 2011, 03:36:03 PM
I occasionally top up with municipal treated water, and haven't experienced chloramine problems.  Thats going to be something that varies by locality though.  To be safe a bit of potassium metabisulfite (or a crushed Campden tablet) is a good idea.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: Joe Sr. on January 27, 2011, 03:51:24 PM
I've topped with tap water in the past, but in the WAY past before I was aware of the chlorine/chloramine problems.  I do not recommend using straight tap water.

You will even get a significant difference in coffee flavor if you brew it with straight tap water.  Give it a test.  Not something I want to risk in my beer.

I do, however, keep old bottled water bottles and fill those with filtered water to top up my fermenter.  It's not much more work than using straight tap water and is far less risky.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: euge on January 27, 2011, 07:21:21 PM
I caution the use of Euge's topping off procedure.  Although there is only a small chance of infection, the reason that there is such a low chance is that all municipal water systems in the US have to maintain a disinfection residual in the water lines.  For most places, that means chlorine or chloramine. 

I strongly recommend that removal of these compounds is critical to producing good beer.  So hopefully Euge just failed to mention that he does that.

As far as I'm aware chlorine and chloramine are primarily contraindicated when all grain brewing. I treat my mash water with a campden tablet or let the water sit out overnight. Topping up a couple gallons for an extract batch in the fermenter shouldn't cause any problems. It never has for me. Additionally, if one pulls some water off the tap and it reeks of chlorine then that might cause some medicinal off flavors. Be wary of that or cleaning fermenters with bleach. So if this is the case I advise just using bottled water.

I knew there'd be some flack over the statement. Emphasis on "used". It's ok to do it. Not part of my regular brewing procedure since normally I do all grain and the odd extract batch is also done full-boil with RO water.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: a10t2 on January 27, 2011, 07:55:33 PM
As far as I'm aware chlorine and chloramine are primarily contraindicated when all grain brewing.

I was under the impression that the main concern associated with chlorine is that it will bind with phenols and produce chlorophenols. In which case the phenolic compounds would primarily be a result of yeast metabolism, and independent of the wort source.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: Hokerer on January 27, 2011, 08:42:47 PM
As far as I'm aware chlorine and chloramine are primarily contraindicated when all grain brewing.

I was under the impression that the main concern associated with chlorine is that it will bind with phenols and produce chlorophenols. In which case the phenolic compounds would primarily be a result of yeast metabolism, and independent of the wort source.

+1  That's my understanding as well.  It's the yeasties doing their thing that'll generate the chlorophenols regardless of how you created the wort you're fermenting.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: punatic on January 29, 2011, 07:10:28 AM
I use water straight from the tap for all of my brewing, meadmaking, winemaking and washmaking.  But, my household water is supplied by rainwater catchment.  It is filtered through a 30 micron filter, a five micron/gac filter and then passes through a ultraviolet disinfection system.  No chemicals at all.  pH around 5.5, but no buffering so all I have to do is whisper, "hydroxide" over it and the pH jumps right up into the basic range (just kidding).

It is great having a private water rainwater catchment system.  Disinfected water with no chemicals straight from any tap in the house.  pH 5.5, conductivity = 15.0µS/cm, total coliform <1 cfu/100mL (absent), enterococcus <1 cfu/100mL (absent), HPC <0.2/mL... a blank slate straight from the tap.  Disinfected rinse water straight from the tap.

It's great to have your own water quality lab too.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: jeffy on January 29, 2011, 03:40:37 PM
I use water straight from the tap for all of my brewing, meadmaking, winemaking and washmaking.  But, my household water is supplied by rainwater catchment.  It is filtered through a 30 micron filter, a five micron/gac filter and then passes through a ultraviolet disinfection system.  No chemicals at all.  pH around 5.5, but no buffering so all I have to do is whisper, "hydroxide" over it and the pH jumps right up into the basic range (just kidding).

It is great having a private water rainwater catchment system.  Disinfected water with no chemicals straight from any tap in the house.  pH 5.5, conductivity = 15.0µS/cm, total coliform <1 cfu/100mL (absent), enterococcus <1 cfu/100mL (absent), HPC <0.2/mL... a blank slate straight from the tap.  Disinfected rinse water straight from the tap.

It's great to have your own water quality lab too.

Yeah, yeah and I suppose it's great to go surfing in the morning and volcano watching in the afternoon......
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: bluesman on January 29, 2011, 04:04:14 PM
I use Poland Spring water for all of my brewing as my tap water is awful. Eventually I'd like to purchase an RO system and treat my water from there but it keeps falling down on the priority list. I can say that spring water with minor tweaks makes awesome beer. I't very reliable and I have not made a bad batch of beer using it.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: gigatropolis on January 29, 2011, 04:33:15 PM
I used Trader Joes' Pure New Zealand Artesian water for last batch and it is really good for brewing. Tasted great and had a little lower PH that the Crystal Geyser and Arrow Head which I also use.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: tom on January 29, 2011, 04:52:06 PM
How does your tap water taste?
Do you know if it has chlorine or chloramine?
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: gmac on January 29, 2011, 05:20:58 PM
Does the chlorine evaporate during a full boil?  My water is chlorinated but I haven't noticed it to be overwhelmingly "bleachy" in character.  Getting bottled water just seems to add yet another thing to do in the process.  It's not impossible but I don't live in an area where I can easily get large volumes of bottled water.  Our small village has a municipal water system but not a store that sells anything bigger than 1 L bottles.

Is it the end of the world to use tap water?  I know that leaving it sit over-night or running a fish tank bubbler through it will remove a lot of the chlorine.  Is this good enough?
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: Tony H. on January 29, 2011, 05:22:23 PM
I am also an extract brewer, and used to buy the gallon jugs of spring water for brew days.  I recently, in the past year, went to a camper-style in-line filter.  So far, I have had zero problems and have used it on various taps in the house and on the outside spigot (where I do most of my brewing during good weather).  It is cheaper than buying bottled water and very portable.  After each use I let it sit uncapped in a dish drainer for a day or so then cap it back up for storage until next use.

Buying a potable-water grade hose (very cheap) is a must with this filter, but then again, it gives you more flexibility of locations to brew around.

Here's a link:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Water-Filter-with-Hose/14504321 (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Water-Filter-with-Hose/14504321)
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: euge on January 29, 2011, 05:28:07 PM
Does the chlorine evaporate during a full boil?  My water is chlorinated but I haven't noticed it to be overwhelmingly "bleachy" in character.  Getting bottled water just seems to add yet another thing to do in the process.  It's not impossible but I don't live in an area where I can easily get large volumes of bottled water.  Our small village has a municipal water system but not a store that sells anything bigger than 1 L bottles.

Is it the end of the world to use tap water?  I know that leaving it sit over-night or running a fish tank bubbler through it will remove a lot of the chlorine.  Is this good enough?

You can do that or get yourself some campden tablets.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: denny on January 29, 2011, 06:02:15 PM
Yews, it evaporates, but not before creating chlorophenols.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: mabrungard on January 30, 2011, 12:19:16 AM
Does the chlorine evaporate during a full boil?  My water is chlorinated but I haven't noticed it to be overwhelmingly "bleachy" in character.  Getting bottled water just seems to add yet another thing to do in the process.  It's not impossible but I don't live in an area where I can easily get large volumes of bottled water.  Our small village has a municipal water system but not a store that sells anything bigger than 1 L bottles.

Is it the end of the world to use tap water?  I know that leaving it sit over-night or running a fish tank bubbler through it will remove a lot of the chlorine.  Is this good enough?

It is not the end of the world to use your tap water.  Just recognize that enpleasant tast impacts can be created from the chlorine of chloramine that is in the water. 

Chlorine comes out of water easier and quicker than Chloramine.  Chlorine has a stronger and more obvious aroma than chloramine, so some people might not detect it.
 
You definitely would not want either of these compounds in your wort since they combine with the wort compounds prior to the boil and the production of chlorophenols is assured.

Minor adjustments to remove those components is strongly recommended.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: punatic on January 30, 2011, 09:22:36 AM

Yeah, yeah and I suppose it's great to go surfing in the morning and volcano watching in the afternoon......

Well kind of.  I do most of my volcano watching in the evening, night, and predawn.  Snowboarding on Mauna Kea in the afternoon.  :)

Not this week though.  I've been assembling two new 10gpm (permeate) RO skids for a client in Kona.  Turning brackish water into irrigation water.  Startup has been challenging.  Four hours of driving to and from 12 hours of work in Kona.  I do find time to have a nice lunch at Kona Brewing Co. though.  All work and no play is illegal in Hawaii.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: cheba420 on January 30, 2011, 04:45:51 PM
I am also an extract brewer, and used to buy the gallon jugs of spring water for brew days.  I recently, in the past year, went to a camper-style in-line filter.  So far, I have had zero problems and have used it on various taps in the house and on the outside spigot (where I do most of my brewing during good weather).  It is cheaper than buying bottled water and very portable.  After each use I let it sit uncapped in a dish drainer for a day or so then cap it back up for storage until next use.

Buying a potable-water grade hose (very cheap) is a must with this filter, but then again, it gives you more flexibility of locations to brew around.

Here's a link:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Water-Filter-with-Hose/14504321 (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Water-Filter-with-Hose/14504321)

I've used RO water for every batch I've ever done. However, I may just be making a trip to Walmart soon to give this filter a try!
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: uisgue on January 30, 2011, 05:08:20 PM
Here's a link:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Water-Filter-with-Hose/14504321 (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Water-Filter-with-Hose/14504321)
Is a 100 micron filter small enough to filter chlorine and/or chloramines?
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: tubercle on January 30, 2011, 05:28:32 PM
I caution the use of Euge's topping off procedure.  Although there is only a small chance of infection, the reason that there is such a low chance is that all municipal water systems in the US have to maintain a disinfection residual in the water lines.  For most places, that means chlorine or chloramine. 

I strongly recommend that removal of these compounds is critical to producing good beer.  So hopefully Euge just failed to mention that he does that.

As far as I'm aware chlorine and chloramine are primarily contraindicated when all grain brewing. I treat my mash water with a campden tablet or let the water sit out overnight. Topping up a couple gallons for an extract batch in the fermenter shouldn't cause any problems. It never has for me. Additionally, if one pulls some water off the tap and it reeks of chlorine then that might cause some medicinal off flavors. Be wary of that or cleaning fermenters with bleach. So if this is the case I advise just using bottled water.

I knew there'd be some flack over the statement. Emphasis on "used". It's ok to do it. Not part of my regular brewing procedure since normally I do all grain and the odd extract batch is also done full-boil with RO water.

 Straight out of the tap with well water. Not an issue in 25+ years.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: onthekeg on January 30, 2011, 05:44:28 PM
Here's a link:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Water-Filter-with-Hose/14504321 (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Camco-Water-Filter-with-Hose/14504321)
Is a 100 micron filter small enough to filter chlorine and/or chloramines?

You will need an activated carbon filter to remove chlorine and you will have to flow very slowly to remove chloramine.  I personally would use campden tablets.
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: Tony H. on January 30, 2011, 06:22:59 PM
I have a noticeable chlorine smell in my tap water normally.  I don't use anything except that Camco water filter.  I just open the faucet and don't really worry about it after that.  I did a SA Summer Ale clone using this filtered water and didn't detect any off flavors or aromas.  The good thing about the filter is you can use it for everything on brew day.  I cook, clean and top off with the same water.

Of course, I have no technical information to back up my process, I just know I haven't made a bad batch yet because of water  ;D
Title: Re: using bottled water
Post by: punatic on January 30, 2011, 07:09:00 PM
The product description doesn't say the filter contains activated carbon, but it does say it "greatly reduces bad taste, odors, chlorine..."  That's what activated carbon does.  A 100 micron fiber filter won't.  A 100 micron filter is loose enough to drive a truck through.