From the HBD Archive
From: Darryl Richman <>
Subject: Re: Homebrew Digest #145 (May 06, 1989)
Date: 1989-05-09 05:08:53 GMT

"I've noticed, in "complete joy" and elsewhere, directions that call for boiling
"wort with part of the water required, and then adding the rest of the water to
"it in the fermenter. I'm not exactly sure how to interpret this. In particular,
"does this mean that it's OK to just add tap water to the boiled portion of the
"wort, or should pre-sterilized (boiled) water be added? It sure would be
"convenient to be able to add cold water to the hot wort to cool it to the point
"where the yeast could be added. For my first batch, I boiled the entire amount

It sure would. There are a variety of approaches here, each of which
has its advantages and disadvantages. If you boil the full volume and
can cool it quickly, you'll extract more bitterness from a given amount
of hops, and ensure sterility. The thicker the wort you boil, the less
effectively you extract hop bitterness. Your tap water probably has a
fair dose of chlorine in it, which you can get rid of by boiling. If
you boil the water before hand and can put it into a sterile container
to cool, you'll have no worries. Your kitchen tap might still have a
bit of spaghetti sauce under the lip from yesterday's dishes--do you
trust it enough to put it into the beautiful culture medium you've just
spent 2 hours making? Some people get away with it--for a while.

I boil 5 gallons of water and put it, boiling hot, into a plastic
carboy, which I cap. This is water I trust to rinse sterile utensils
with and to top up fermenters. I have built an immersion cooler. Once
I made it, it's very easy to use because it is self sterilizing. You
just put it into your boiling hot wort. I connect a hose to each end
and run cold water for 30 minutes to reach 65F, and my batch size is 15
gallons. Making a cooler is cheap and easy. Go to the hardware store
and buy 50 feet of 3/8" soft copper tubing and a pair of fittings for
garden hose. This is about $20. If you don't have a propane torch (I
didn't), they're about $15 and will serve you well when you get around
to building a sparging manifold (;-). Use silver solder to put it
together; other solders have lead which might be leached out by the
acid wort. Wrap the tubing around a pot that fits inside your boiling
pot to get it into the right shape. I stripped some 12 ga. solid core
house wire and wrapped it around the tubes to hold the whole thing

"Another question concerning water: is there any advantage to using anything
"but tapwater? The water here in Pittsburgh is not bad, but it's not great,
"either. (It took some getting used to when I came here from Oregon, where
"municipal water sources are typically snowmelt. Pittsburgh water comes from the
"Allegheney river, which has its source, I believe, in an oilwell upstate.)

Well, oil's well that ends well. AAAAARRRGH! GET AWAY FROM ME WITH THAT
KNIFE! Seriously, it's difficult to know what's good without looking at
a water report. Call up your water company and have them send you one!
It's free (in my experience with both the LA DWP and a local water co.
that is owned by Beatrice). If your water is completely mineral free,
you make most anything by just adding. If it's got substantial amounts
of stuff in it, it begins to limit your horizons and you may want to
check out bottled water. You don't have to go the complete bottled
water route, just dilute your tap water enough to bring the levels

--Darryl Richman

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