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I made a homebrew today using tap water, and to my horror I realized I forgot to add the campden tablets to neutralize the chloramine. About 5 years back I made the same stupid mistake, and fermentation never started up, rendering my homebrew a total loss. Can the chloramine levels be great enough that it actually prevents yeast from taking off?

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I'd brewed dozens of batches before finding out about chloramine and Campden tablets. My beer is better now that I treat my brewing water to remove chloramine, but has always been drinkable.

I think the failure of your previous batch was due of something other than chloramine.

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It's probably possible, but considering how much yeast is generally pitched, it would probably be unsafe to drink at that level. I think it's more likely that you'll wind up with off-flavors from chlorine contamination (chlorophenols... think burned plastic).

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mmmm...burned plastic... – mdma Feb 20 '12 at 11:36
right up there with band-aid. – Dustin Rasener Feb 20 '12 at 16:57

Not likely. The presence of chloramine should not impact the reliability or speed of fermentation. The primary reason you want to avoid chloramine is if you are mashing or steeping grains (not just using extract) it will react with compounds present in the grain and produce precursors that will yield harsh band-aid or medicinal flavors in the fermented beer.

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