I’m a big fan of the site. You have very smart contributors. I learn a lot. What I’d like to add to the “1,000 Bottles of Water on the Roof, by James C.” post is a simple suggestion:. If you are concerned about water purification, storage, etc. and you’ve fiddled with the thought of brewing your own beer, I would humbly suggest that there are many ways that this hobby can kill two birds with one stone.
If you are set up to brew your own beer you will also have the following advantages:
1. You can store your own glass and PET carboys – these are a necessity for home brewing and usually come in 5-gallon sizes (though 1, 3 and 6 gallon are available). You can also buy 6 gallon sealable food grade buckets. All of these are relatively inexpensive and give you good storage capacity.
2. If you brew at home, you will quickly learn that sanitizing your gear is the most important thing you can do. To achieve this, you can buy Idophor solution and add a capful to your filled-up carboy or bucket to completely sanitize the surface in less than five minutes. You can reuse the solution if need be, just be sure not to consume any portion of it. Dump it out before you put your potable water in.
3. To make sure your brew doesn’t boil over – you would likely have a 5 gallon stock pot. This is also good for boiling water before storage. One recommendation is, if you begin to homebrew, get a dedicated 5 gallon pot. Don’t cook your meals in it and then brew your beer in it.
4. Unless you rack your beer into a keg, you will have to bottle it – this involves the bottles themselves, caps or corks and a capper or corker device. All good for storing, moving and giving away water. Since even beer in brown bottles can go bad from the sunlight (“skunking”), it would likely let enough UV rays in to perform James’ SODIS (brilliant idea by the way – simple and just brilliant). Just be sure to sanitize both bottles and caps with the Idophor solution mentioned above.
5. The beer itself is not without value – and not just for getting loaded while the world ends! Think “Middle Ages” – water quality was so poor back then that turning water into beer or wine was often the only way you could safely drink it. I’m not trying to offend anyone’s sensibilities toward alcohol consumption, and I’m not suggesting giving your four year old a beer to drink in hard times. But if it gets bad enough, really bad enough, will you spurn that case of PBR or wine in your cellar?
I didn’t set out to combine home brewing and water prepping, but I realized after the fact how much easier I sleep having all of this great equipment. It doesn’t even cost that much money and there are a ton of local and online homebrew stores (Northerbrewer.com is my favorite). You can also get propane burners, plastic tubing, small and large siphons; all very useful stuff.
“Brew. Ferment. Drink. Repeat!”
Best, – John in Pennsylvania