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Crazy Climber

Stream water

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What do you guys think about using water from a stream/brook?

I live in a rural area and have got a stream behind my house that moves at a decent clip, and I'm close enough to the source that it probably hasn't picked up many impurities along the way.

Someone mentioned ways to "make a beer their own" in a recent thread. I've occasionally thought about using a gallon of this stream water for a steep/hop boil. It would add a "personal touch" to the beer, for sure. But, I don't want that personal touch to be: infected or awful!

I would think that since I'd be boiling it for at least a half-hour, it should be reasonably safe. But I'm leery about risking an entire batch to find out for sure.

Any insights, past experiences or hunches are welcomed. Thanks in advance!

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Sounds interesing, but I would probably get a water test kit first or send a sample off to a testing facility. If it comes back good then go for it!

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Well to me I think that you should test the water first making sure its alright to drink but then again you are boiling it anyways its worth a shot its your beer basically

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It will be safe as far as I know. After all that's why people drank so much beer back in the day. Nothing pathogenic will grow in it and you'll boil it. Now, will it taste good, I don't know. But I'd do it. Maybe taste it first (boiling first if that concerns you). Good luck and keep us posted if you do it.

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Agree with Pepe, as long as you are sure it's not contaminated with PCBs or heavy metals or other nasty chemicals that boiling won't get rid of. Those things wern't an issue to our ancestor-brewers.

In some documentary (maybe Beer saved the World?) they brewed up a batch of beer using scummy pond water, and it tested totally pathogen free (no surprise), and they gave it to people to drink and they liked it (perhaps a surprise).

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mashani wrote:

Agree with Pepe, as long as you are sure it's not contaminated with PCBs or heavy metals or other nasty chemicals that boiling won't get rid of. Those things wern't an issue to our ancestor-brewers.

Very good point.

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I agree. as long as it is not mercury laced, it should not hurt you. But, every waterway in N. America has traces of Mercury so.. there you have it.

LC

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Guest System Admin

Thanks to all for the input.

For some silly reason, I had never thought to test the water first! I have looked into it online and don't have any real good ideas where to send a sample (nor do I want to spend an arm and a leg on this), but I might buy one of those cheap test-at-home kits and at least get a general sense of the water quality before doing anything else.

If I do use it in a brew, I'll post my results.

If anyone else has an opinion or past experience with anything similar, feel free to chime in!

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You could try Ward Labs...seems to be the go-to for homebrew water analysis. Not sure if it would pick up whatever toxins you should be most worried about.

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Crazy Climber wrote:

Thanks to all for the input.

For some silly reason, I had never thought to test the water first! I have looked into it online and don't have any real good ideas where to send a sample (nor do I want to spend an arm and a leg on this), but I might buy one of those cheap test-at-home kits and at least get a general sense of the water quality before doing anything else.

If I do use it in a brew, I'll post my results.

If anyone else has an opinion or past experience with anything similar, feel free to chime in!

You *might* be able to find out detailed information about the stream from your city or county or even EPA if they have done environmental assessments, IE tested for farm runoff, whatnot. If they have done it, it should be public record.

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Just wanted to provide an update on this.

After going through a few deparments at Town Hall, I got a brief response from someone on the Board of Health.

Basically: "stream water is NOT potable -- stick to tap water or bottled water."

Even though I mentioned that it would be boiled, I'm not sure he noticed that. But regardless, boiling would only take care of any living microscopic bad-guys. I'm also concerned about farm run-off and such, so I think I'm gonna stick to more conventional sources for my water.

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Crazy Climber wrote:

Just wanted to provide an update on this.

After going through a few deparments at Town Hall, I got a brief response from someone on the Board of Health.

Basically: "stream water is NOT potable -- stick to tap water or bottled water."

Even though I mentioned that it would be boiled, I'm not sure he noticed that. But regardless, boiling would only take care of any living microscopic bad-guys. I'm also concerned about farm run-off and such, so I think I'm gonna stick to more conventional sources for my water.

I think that's a wise choice.

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Crazy Climber wrote:

Just wanted to provide an update on this.

After going through a few deparments at Town Hall, I got a brief response from someone on the Board of Health.

Basically: "stream water is NOT potable -- stick to tap water or bottled water."

Even though I mentioned that it would be boiled, I'm not sure he noticed that. But regardless, boiling would only take care of any living microscopic bad-guys. I'm also concerned about farm run-off and such, so I think I'm gonna stick to more conventional sources for my water.

Good idea. I have an artesian well, we run it through 5 different filter systems before it gets to the faucet. We drink it, after rev. osmosis filtering. We have it tested every 6 months. But we live so far out there we don't have city or rural water available. I would not drink from the river going through my place, so much farm chem. runoff it's not funny.... fish have 3 eyes.

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FrozenInTime wrote:

Crazy Climber wrote:

Just wanted to provide an update on this.

After going through a few deparments at Town Hall, I got a brief response from someone on the Board of Health.

Basically: "stream water is NOT potable -- stick to tap water or bottled water."

Even though I mentioned that it would be boiled, I'm not sure he noticed that. But regardless, boiling would only take care of any living microscopic bad-guys. I'm also concerned about farm run-off and such, so I think I'm gonna stick to more conventional sources for my water.

Good idea. I have an artesian well, we run it through 5 different filter systems before it gets to the faucet. We drink it, after rev. osmosis filtering. We have it tested every 6 months. But we live so far out there we don't have city or rural water available. I would not drink from the river going through my place, so much farm chem. runoff it's not funny.... fish have 3 eyes.

3_eyed_fish.jpg

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