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Old 01-28-2011, 09:07 PM   #1
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Default Aluminum Pot/oxidation layer is myth?

Everywhere I read in this forum it seems to say that you should never use an abrasive like steel wool on an aluminum pot and that you need to have an oxidized layer on your pot before brewing with it? But, if you search google, and other cooking/cleaning boards steel wool seems to be recommended method for cleaning aluminum cookware. I know people claim that it will leave a metallic taste in your beer but I haven't experienced it. I scrubbed the hell out of my pot with steel wool, (this was before I had heard that I shouldn't) and it polished up really nice. Almost a mirror finish. I figured it would be easier to clean in the future this way. Anyway, I didn't do anything to "season" the pot before brewing other than a quick wash with dish soap to make sure there were no metal flakes left behind and I think the beer turned out fine. I don't taste any metallic flavors at all. In fact, it might be my best IPA yet.

So seriously, where did the idea come from?

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Old 01-28-2011, 09:47 PM   #2
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Aluminum has a protective oxidation layer, but it reforms as soon as it's removed. As in, almost instantly.

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Old 01-28-2011, 10:14 PM   #3
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And most people aren't cooking beer with an acidic pH, who post on cookware cleaning sites.

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Old 01-28-2011, 11:51 PM   #4
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Would you scrub an old cast iron pan with steel wool to remove the decades (or centuries) of carbon buildup?? Just to get it 'nice and shiny'?

I would also NOT use something like steel wool to clean an aluminum pot. For one thing, chances are you left some steel particles behind, no matter how well you rinsed and wiped it.

I would also trust the advise given on a home brewing site, about using an aluminum pot for brewing beer, long before some cooking/cleaning site. Would you trust advise given on an off-roading site when it came to selecting, installing, and using, high end home electronics?

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Old 01-28-2011, 11:53 PM   #5
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strongest thing i ever used when i brewed in aluminum was a green scrub pad and water, since i cleaned it right after use. when ready to brew again, i'd scrub it again, then iodophor it.

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Old 01-29-2011, 12:47 AM   #6
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This seems like a lot more of what has been posted many times before. Opinions with no real facts or data to back it up. I'm not saying I know everything because I read a couple other websites or anything. I'm far from an expert on cleaning or brewing. I'm just offering up the idea that it might not be that big of a deal.

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Old 01-29-2011, 12:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
I would also trust the advise given on a home brewing site, about using an aluminum pot for brewing beer, long before some cooking/cleaning site. Would you trust advise given on an off-roading site when it came to selecting, installing, and using, high end home electronics?
I absolutely agree, and do trust most of the advice I've gotten from this board. But technically what we are talking about here is not really brewing. It's the cleaning and care of an aluminum pot. And maybe there are other people out there who know more about that than we do.
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumpher View Post
strongest thing i ever used when i brewed in aluminum was a green scrub pad and water, since i cleaned it right after use. when ready to brew again, i'd scrub it again, then iodophor it.
Why would you iodophor it? You do boil your wort, correct?
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore View Post
And most people aren't cooking beer with an acidic pH, who post on cookware cleaning sites.
I would think cooking a large pot of chili or something like that would be pretty acidic.
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Old 01-29-2011, 01:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by de5m0mike View Post
I absolutely agree, and do trust most of the advice I've gotten from this board. But technically what we are talking about here is not really brewing. It's the cleaning and care of an aluminum pot. And maybe there are other people out there who know more about that than we do.
For as long as I can remember, it's always been best practice to NOT cook acidic foods in un-cured aluminum pots. Just like it's not a good idea to cover acidic foods in aluminum foil if you're going to bake them in the oven (people often add a layer of plastic wrap between the foil and food).

Think about this for a few moments... An aluminum oxide [protective] coating is formed on the inside of the pot by simply boiling water in it. Said protective coating removes the risk, potential, real, or imagined, of anything negative happening from the equation. It also makes it easier to clean. Cleaning off the coating takes much more effort, and time, than simply leaving it there.

You can clean your pots as you wish, saying you get great brews out of it all you like. I think you'll be a very lonely minority in this method. The way I see it, it would be like sand blasting your car every time you wanted to clean it, then getting it repainted. Sure, it will look great, but the cost (time and materials) make it a poor idea (being kind here)...

Also, for cleaning, since this does impact BREWING, this site has better advice. If a science site said to clean your dishes with hydrochloric acid, to get them REALLY clean, would you?
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