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General Category => Ingredients => Topic started by: Pi on August 26, 2011, 01:53:19 PM

Title: Using Rainwater for brewing?
Post by: Pi on August 26, 2011, 01:53:19 PM
I have these 2 55gallon rainbarrels and was just wondering. We are expected to get lots of rain this weekend (Irene) so i think the gutters will get flushed pretty well. Would there be any concern using for mash/sparge water?
Title: Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
Post by: majorvices on August 26, 2011, 01:59:22 PM
You will have to add minerals, rain water will be very soft. It also may pick up some polutants but I'm not so sure that is a huge problem. Greg Noonan advised against using rain water because of polutants.
Title: Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
Post by: Hokerer on August 26, 2011, 03:19:45 PM
Yeah, don't know that I'd want to brew with all the bird poop that'll be washed off the roof.
Title: Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
Post by: skyler on August 26, 2011, 04:18:17 PM
I wouldn't be concerned with pollutants unless you live in or near a major city.
Title: Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
Post by: majorvices on August 26, 2011, 04:28:36 PM
Might not be a bad idea to filter just in case. Not only because of potential polutants but because of bird crap or whatever else was on the roof/gutters. And you'll need to raise your Ca ppms up to at least 50 if you do nothing else for proper yeast flocculation.
Title: Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
Post by: Joe Sr. on August 26, 2011, 04:46:20 PM
How clean are the rain barrels?  You might could also have something living in there.

Here in Chicago I wouldn't touch the rain water.  And my neighbor's rain barrel is a mess.  Good for watering the lawn I guess, but otherwise kind of icky.
Title: Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
Post by: Beer Monger on August 26, 2011, 04:47:34 PM
I would definitely filter any rain water before using it for brewing. 

I forget where, but a commercial brewery opened recently that was using highly filtered rainwater as their brewing water.  They got shut down - even though it was highly filtered, it was considered 'unsafe' (from a legal standpoint). 
Title: Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
Post by: majorvices on August 26, 2011, 05:24:36 PM
Yeah, but lots of things we do in our kirchen, let alone homebrewery, would deemed "unsafe" by the health department.
Title: Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
Post by: Beer Monger on August 26, 2011, 05:29:08 PM
Oh I know.  I was just putting it out there as an FYI.

I still wouldn't use rain water w/o filtering it first. 
Title: Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
Post by: weithman5 on August 26, 2011, 06:07:53 PM
safe way of using it.  run it from your rainbarrels through a submersible pump through your chiller ....
Title: Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
Post by: dirk_mclargehuge on August 26, 2011, 07:01:45 PM
Jester King Brewery in Austin and Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye use rain water, when we get any rain, for their products.  Of course it's filtered.