Author Topic: Using Rainwater for brewing?  (Read 1237 times)

Offline Pi

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Using Rainwater for brewing?
« on: August 26, 2011, 06:53:19 AM »
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?
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2011, 06:59:22 AM »
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.
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2011, 08:19:45 AM »
Yeah, don't know that I'd want to brew with all the bird poop that'll be washed off the roof.
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Offline skyler

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Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2011, 09:18:17 AM »
I wouldn't be concerned with pollutants unless you live in or near a major city.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2011, 09:28:36 AM »
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.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2011, 09:46:20 AM »
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.
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Offline Beer Monger

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Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2011, 09:47:34 AM »
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). 
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2011, 10:24:36 AM »
Yeah, but lots of things we do in our kirchen, let alone homebrewery, would deemed "unsafe" by the health department.
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Offline Beer Monger

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Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2011, 10:29:08 AM »
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. 
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2011, 11:07:53 AM »
safe way of using it.  run it from your rainbarrels through a submersible pump through your chiller ....
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Offline dirk_mclargehuge

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Re: Using Rainwater for brewing?
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2011, 12:01:45 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.