Take the 2-minute tour ×
Homebrewing Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for dedicated home brewers and serious enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have just put another beer in the fermentor and I seem to use huge amounts of water during the whole brewing process.

I don't have an exact estimate of my water use, but taking into account the washing of equipment, brewing water, wort chiller etc. it must run into many gallons. Besides the expense, this is not great for the environment. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to improve on water usage?

share|improve this question
    
Converting to a Community wiki, as the question can have a plethora of answers, and no single one that is more "correct" than the others. –  baka Dec 8 '11 at 13:00
    
lol I take it you just read my meta comment ;-) –  Poshpaws Dec 8 '11 at 13:04
add comment

3 Answers 3

You should be capturing hot water out of your chiller for cleaning so that water is dual purpose. Second I was really able to cut down on water usage with a more efficient chilling operation. For me I invested in a bigger immersion chiller (50ft with 1/2in tubing) and put a pump into operation. I recirc my wort while chilling creating a whirpool. This is nothing new but it works super well. My last session I went from 212F down to <75 in 8 minutes. Huge savings on water.
Other super efficient chill operations include plate chillers or counterflows. If you aren't moving your wort in the kettle with an IC it takes much longer than necessary and wastes water. Of course you need to invest some cash to get better water savings.

share|improve this answer
add comment

First of all, don't be so hard on yourself. Think of all the efficiencies made by brewing and drinking your own stuff. The beer in the store was driven there in a big, fossil fuel burning truck, with a whole lot of water used in the process. Home brewed beer comes in either re-used glass bottles, or re-purposed soda kegs, never in cans that end up in a landfill if not recycled. So the act of homebrewing in and of itself is probably better for the environment to begin with.

Having said that, if you want to decrease your water usage even more, then you can do things like: getting a more efficient chiller setup (recirculating with a pump is a must), keeping sanitizing solutions like StarSan around longer by sealing them off from the air so you can use them the next day, or my own personal favorite, giving up the chiller entirely and doing No Chill Brewing.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Cleaning: If you use PBW, one batch of PBW can be reused many many times. This may also be true of other cleaners, but I've only ever used PBW.

Sanitizing: As with PBW, one batch of StarSan can be reused many times. The key with StarSan is to make the batch with the cleanest water possible and then keep it in a sealed container.

Cooling: There are lots of ways to cut water usage during cooling. First, you can capture all the water you use to cool the beer and save it for later use as cleaning water. Second, you can build a recirculating cooler that will use far less water. In a recirculating cooler cold water is pumped through the immersion chiller, back into a bucket full of ice and then back into the immersion chiller.

As others have mentioned, you can also decrease the time it takes to chill your beer by using a whirlpool chiller. Faster chilling = less water.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.