View Full Version : 2 questions...

03-08-2013, 02:59 AM
I have well water at the trailer park here that is really high in iron. So far I've avoided using my home's water for brewing and only use it when I'm sterilizing my carboys and equipment. My first question is this. Is there any problems that would creep up using well water high in iron (other than the obvious iron at the bottom after it settled)?

We have a wood burning stove that we use for heat during the winter. That means my brewing area can very quite a bit as far as temperature. I bought a brew belt that I plug in, to wrap around my carboy to bump the temp up a few degrees. My other question is this. What would be good yeasts to use if keeping the temperature stable is a problem?

I can pretty much keep it between 55 degrees F and 75 degrees F. So far ( with the exception of my JAOM) I've always used a distillers yeast, fermented everything dry then back sweeten as needed. However, I'd like to improve my skills, as using distillers yeast brings its own problems.

Marshmallow Blue
03-08-2013, 07:29 AM
Not much else on earth beats orange shower water. Reminds me of home.

Anyways I think a lot of iron will effect the taste of the mead. I would stick with the jugs of spring water.

Lalvin 71b has a pretty good temperature tolerence. There are others but that's what I remember off hand.

03-08-2013, 07:35 AM
That's kind of what I figured about the water. I've been using bottled water, to date. One follow up question if I may. Do you think I'm ok using this water to sanitize everything, or would you use bottled water for that too?

Marshmallow Blue
03-08-2013, 09:55 AM
I think if your boiling or just mixing up a batch of Star San, you should be fine. I use my tap water to make star San and its super treated chlorinated Boston water. Maybe just run the tap for a minute to get the built up iron out? That's what I remember doing at my parents house when we had a well.

03-08-2013, 05:39 PM
Ok, so generally speaking, well/spring/whatever water, sounds nice to use. Yet its usually easy to confirm that utility supplies ARE provably cleaner, but of course there is the chlorine/chloramine/fluoride/other chems present that do cause possible flavour/taste issues. The so called "spring" water thing is also used as marketing bollocks here too (with a few legal requirements in tow).

Now you also have distilled and reverse osmosis waters, both of which attracts controversy as both have little to no mineral content. Its my, and others view, that if you're relying on the water for mineral content it would have to be almost as nutrient rich as raw sewage. Your yeast should really be getting its nutrition from the ingredients. The only thing that really seems a certainty is that the best water should be "soft" water. Whether artificially softened water is ok I dont know maybe someone else can clarify that.

The presence of high iron content should be fine for mixing sanitiser but would, as I understand it, create taste issues for actually making the brews....

For heating etc, if you have a cool area and use the brew belt it should maintain its set temperature (youd have to check what it was set at). But either way it should work ok.

Of yeast and its temp range, one of the widest ranges is to be found is K1v1116. Yet its also thought that ferments are best kept lower but there's plenty of data via the Lalvin yeast chart.... K1-V1116 happens to be a very good yeast for meads, especially traditionals.......

Chevette Girl
03-09-2013, 01:10 PM
Bread yeast should also be pretty temperature tolerant.

If the water tastes good to drink, you can try it with brewing... at our cottage there's enough iron in the water that if you drink it, you get this taste-flash of "Blood? Am I bleeding? Oh, right, iron in the water..." sometimes after swallowing, so I wouldn't use that for brewing. I also hate the taste of my mother's well water after it's been through the softener so I wouldn't brew with that either, but I would try with water straight from the well... If you really want to know how it changes the profile, try a side-by-side batch - make two batches identical except for the water, one with the bottled spring water and one with your well water... it's on my to-brew list.

And I've heard that certain cleansers work better/last longer if you use distilled water. I just use municipal tap water (fluoridated and chloramined) with my sulphites...

03-10-2013, 03:21 AM
as far as the water, I think I'm out of luck. I was hoping there might be some cheap way to filter it out, or get it to settle without affecting taste, but it appears not. I've been in the city all my life, so I've never experienced well water, until now. I was just trying to be lazy. Lugging large quatities of water in my little car is always a pain (not to mention, I need a place to store it until I start my brew).

As far as the bread yeast, with the exception of a JAOM, isn't using bread yeast generally undesirable? I *thought* it was. That's why I avoided it, since I started with mead (about a year ago). Except for my JOAM that I got going, that is.

03-10-2013, 04:20 AM
Thanks for the good info here. I was a little worried that using my water for sanitizing might leave enough residual iron in the fermenter to affect taste. Peace...

03-10-2013, 04:25 AM
For Chevette Girl, as far as the water, I'm out of luck then. Ours is very rich in iron. As far as the bread yeast, excepting JOAM, wouldn't bread yest usually be undesirable? I always thought it would be.

Marshmallow Blue
03-10-2013, 09:10 AM
Bread yeast has its benefits and downfalls. Bread yeast may leave out some complexities brought out by particular wine yeast strains. With that said, wine yeasts can be harder to work with when it comes to renewed fermentation and temperature ranges, and a few other things. Bread yeast is typically done when its done and doesn't restart fermentation, and as CG says is more temperature tolerant.

Chevette Girl
03-11-2013, 09:35 PM
If I recall from my days of trying to sell water softeners, iron is something like 10x harder to get rid of than calcium... or at least, uses up 10X the amount of softening as compared to calcium...

However, even if it's a no-rinse sanitizer, you probably shouldn't have to worry about taste transfer... if you want to make sure, rinse out a drinking glass with your solution, shake it to get as much excess off as possible, then fill it with drinking water, have a taste. And don't forget, anything you may be able to taste with this test will be diluted significantly when you upscale to a gallon or more (as you go with larger and larger containers, the surface area per volume decreases).

I use a lot of wine yeasts but I also have had a lot of success with many JAO variants using bread yeast. If you want to stick with wine yeasts, I think K1V will be your best choice, I think if you go looking hard enough you'll find some comments from folks like Medsen Fey who live in warm places like Florida saying that that K1V yeast is pretty good at warm temperatures.

Medsen Fey
03-12-2013, 08:16 PM
For traditional meads if you ferment above 75 F, my choices for yeast would be K1V or D21.

There are some I'd definitely avoid including D47, Montrachet, & Uvaferm 43

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