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Old 04-27-2011, 04:30 PM   #1
DlALTONE
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Default Can i use copper valve on boiling kettle?

I am putting a copper ball valve on my brewing pot. I was told by a plumber that I do not want to use copper on this or my counter flow chiller. Is this true? Can I use a copper valve in my boiling pot?

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Old 04-27-2011, 04:50 PM   #2
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I am putting a copper ball valve on my brewing pot. I was told by a plumber that I do not want to use copper on this or my counter flow chiller. Is this true? Can I use a copper valve in my boiling pot?
The valve is likely brass, not copper. IMO, the plumber doesn't know what he's talking about. You can pickle the brass if you are concerned about the extremely tiny amount of lead that could possibly leach from the brass. Palmer tells you how to do the pickling in his "How to Brew" book IIRC. Copper isn't a problem either. I use a lot of brass valves & copper pipe in my system. I have not noticed any decrease in mental functions, but I never was that smart to begin with, so it's hard to say what effect the lead may have had. Your tap water has very likely passed through a lot of brass and copper on it's way to your house. PVC too.
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:14 PM   #3
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IMO, the plumber doesn't know what he's talking about.
this is most likely. tons of people use copper and brass on everything with no ill effects.
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:22 PM   #4
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I also dont think this guys knows what he's talking about. The only problem i could forsee would be electrolysis between the two dissimilar metals, but with the tiny amount of flow there shouldnt be any problems.

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Old 04-27-2011, 06:23 PM   #5
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As mentioned already, it's a non-issue. Here is Palmer's take.

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Old 04-27-2011, 06:27 PM   #6
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Lots of people put some copper in their brewery to get zinc for yeast health. The effectiveness of this strategy is highly debatable, but the point is... people do it intentionally.

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Old 04-27-2011, 06:37 PM   #7
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As a LICENSED plumber, I can tell you this guy doesn't know what he is talking about, or is a little confused on the application. The only issue would be electrolysis (as mentioned), but this requires some amount of electrical activity, and ALOT of time. The amount of time the kettle will be in use is not anywhere near enough to cause a problem from what I have seen in my experience.

The leaks I have encountered caused by electrolysis(normally found at the water heater) have taken ~ 12-15 years to develop. Many times I've replaced 15 year old heaters with dissimilar metal connections with no signs of wear. I think it has alot to do with how much electrical activity there is.

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Old 04-27-2011, 07:07 PM   #8
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you are talking about galvanic corrosion, and the speed of the corrosion has to do with how dissimilar the metals are from each other. look up "galvanic corrosion table" in google to see what i mean.

the closer the metals are to each other on the table, the slower the reaction. when you have two metals that are very dissimilar (s.steel and magnesium for instance) the reaction is much faster.

the reaction only occurs when both of the metals are electrically grounded together, and when they are immersed in an electrolyte (tap water, salt water, wort etc.). so if you leave the kegs dry and empty 99% of their lifetime, nothing is going to happen.

if you you left your kegs full of water for a while, you would see a green oxide buildup on the copper. more buildup then if the metals were the same type.

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Old 04-27-2011, 07:40 PM   #9
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The only problem you could encounter is the dissolution of lead from the BRASS valve from the acidic wort. Pickling will very much help reduce this extremely small amount to practically nothing.

Copper is not a problem due to the fact that any copper taken from the pipe due to the above condition will be metabolized by the yeast. Using copper POST FERMENTATION in an acidic solution is not recommended due to the toxicity of copper leaching into the liquid.

Copper and brass are fine for liquids whose pH is near water.

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