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Old 12-07-2011, 08:49 PM   #1
solo103
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Default cooler for mash tun

I see a lot of people using coolers for mlt/hlt and was thinking of making one myself but I was wondering is it safe (to drink) putting 170 degree water into a plastic vessel or will that heat extract some of the chemicals out of the plastic ?

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Old 12-07-2011, 09:08 PM   #2
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At the temps we're using, most people will agree that cooler plastic is fine. Just don't boil in it.

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Old 12-07-2011, 10:26 PM   #3
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I use a RubberMaid cooler and I'm still alive.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/rubb...ays-no-203227/

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/rubb...solved-204344/

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Old 12-07-2011, 10:31 PM   #4
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It's perfectly safe, you have nothing to worry about. If it wasn't safe you wouldn't have said "I see a lot of people using them".

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Old 12-07-2011, 10:39 PM   #5
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^^
What he said...

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Old 12-08-2011, 01:03 AM   #6
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Cool deafsmith in the link you posted it said don't go above 120 or it might start to melt but don't you want to mash around 152 and add the water around 160-165 to get to that desired temp with all the grains . I also seen somebody using pvc instead of stainless tubing,copper tubing , braided ss hose or cpvc and I know if you use a pvc in the bottom of the mash tun it should be cpvc because pvc is not safe to drink from but this dude didn't know that so that's why I was checking on the cooler. Thanks for the info CHEERS

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Old 12-08-2011, 01:13 AM   #7
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According to Northern Brewer, the interiors of the Igloo coolers are made of polypropylene. The MSDS for that type of plastic indicated that it is stable to 480 degrees. I found the MSDS for HDPE and it's melting point is 276.8F. Definitely lower, but still considerably higher than what people would ever use in mashing. So perhaps this does indicate that the issue is more one of safety from burns rather than safety from leaching.

Also this is from one of our members-

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Originally Posted by Brewtus
I am a materials engineer who has designed plastics formulations for almost twenty years. I have a BS degree in chemistry and did my MS thesis in the field of polymer science and engineering. I have experience in many different polymer systems (PE, PP, PVC, PUR, PA, EVA, PC, PS, ESBS, PET, EPDM, SBR, CSM, FEP, PTFE, PVDF, ECTFE, just to name a few).

Plastics are generally misunderstood. Plastic compounds are generally composed of the base polymer (i.e. PE, PP, PVC, etc.) and additional additives that further enhance the polymer's physical or chemical properties (i.e. impart flexibility, add flame retardancy, increase impact resistance, etc.). For example, white rigid PVC pipe that we buy in home improvement centers is the same polymer as garden hoses, namely PVC. yet these two items behave very differently in terms of flexibility. This is because an additive called a plasticizer (essentially an organic oil) has been added to the hose to impart flexibility. The plasticizer molecules essentially "fill in" between each of the long chain polymer molecules causing them to slide across each other. Think of a lube on a molecular level. It's important to remember the difference between polymers and compounds. (Note: the lead that is in garden hoses is from a lead salt (lead phthatale or lead sulfate) that is used as a heat stabilizer. It will leach out.)

As far as leaching goes, a food grade polypropylene will not typically contain anything harmful that will leach into the mash at an unacceptable level (true for HDPE as well). The company can not label it as food grade if this was the case (this isn't China where companies can put melamine into dog food without regulation, or lead based paints on toys). The only thing I can think of that might leach into the mash would be a mold release agent that's there to help separate the liner from the mold during it's initial manufacturing process. Probably a food grade mineral oil or paraffinic compound that's easily removed with soap and water. There may also be some type of antioxidant or UV inhibitor to stabilize the polymer from high manufacturing temperatures or sunlight exposure. Again, these would be food grade and not pose a risk at the levels added. Look at some food labels and see how often you find BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), yet you still eat this. Here's something else to think about: The residual component (terephthalic acid) used to make polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is in every plastic soda bottle because it leaches into the drink, especially the longer a bottle stays on the shelf. This is why a coke tastes different in plastic than glass or a can. Yet PET bottles are food safe.

Warping and cracking of the plastic is most likely due to temperature interactions. This is a physical event, not chemical. It has to do with the crystalinity of the polymer itself. Other things could be that the actual polymer itself could be oxidizing (which is a chemical reaction) over time at high temperatures if NO antioxidant is present. Also consider the melting points of LDPE, HDPE and PP (~100C, 130C and 160C respectively). LDPE softens at about 80C or so and HDPE softens at about 120C or so - meaning that at mashing temperatures, you're probably good with HDPE or PP. One has to remember that if you pour boiling water into a LDPE lined cooler, you could do some damage, but are fine in a HDPE or PP lined cooler.
He also did some experiments which he posted in THIS thread.

Quote:
Warning: Science below!

This is concerning the white portion only. It would have been ideal situation to determine melting points and glass transition temperatures to get a better ID, but a differential scanning calorimeter is required for that, and mine happens to be broken. So I just used infrared spectroscopy to ID the plastic. I needed to get the plastic into a thin film for analysis, so that required melting it and pressing it out. I started at 100C, and it softened but did not melt all the way. Mission accomplished at 110C. If this were PP, it would have melted at 160C (or perhaps 130C if it were syndiotactic). So I knew it wasn't PP. Then I actually took the sample to the spectrometer, and the results showed a infrared spectrum matching PP. But wait, there was also the indication of some PE present. I then realized that this had to be a PE modified PP copolymer. This makes sense since the PE portion lowers the crystallinity of the PP giving better low temperature properties (this is supposed to be a cooler after all). HDPE would not be ideal at below freezing temps, and LDPE is too elastomeric. A modified PP copolymer gives a rigid material with better low temp properties.
Basically we know that we're safe AT LEAST putting 180 degree water in there....

Since most of us put in 170 degree water in there, or even if we do add more, like step mashing, we're still keeping the internal temps usually withing the safety range.

And anyway, millions of gallons of beer have been brewed this way over the last decade or so that this has become an accepted method of brewing, and since I already have man-boobs, I ain't gonna worry about it. I'm more worried about a zombipocolypse occuring in the next 3 months or so than about supposed leaching, which no one can actually prove does happen, but plenty of information shows it is unlikely to happen anyway.
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solo103 View Post
Cool deafsmith in the link you posted it said don't go above 120 or it might start to melt but don't you want to mash around 152 and add the water around 160-165 to get to that desired temp with all the grains . I also seen somebody using pvc instead of stainless tubing,copper tubing , braided ss hose or cpvc and I know if you use a pvc in the bottom of the mash tun it should be cpvc because pvc is not safe to drink from but this dude didn't know that so that's why I was checking on the cooler. Thanks for the info CHEERS
I'm pretty sure that's just RubberMaid's lawyer speaking in CYA mode - just in case anyone got burned from the hot water. I've had water up to 185ºF in my Igloo HLT and up to at least 170ºF in my RubberMaid MLT and haven't been able to detect any off flavors or chemical odors or damage to the linings. I feel pretty comfortable relying on the info in the second thread I posted and what Revvy posted.
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeafSmith View Post
I'm pretty sure that's just RubberMaid's lawyer speaking in CYA mode -
+1,000,000

And did you know that the senior technical advisor for the National Propane Gas Association, had no idea that people made beer in propane turkey fryers until he was interviewed on Basic Brewing?

And pretty much spoke the party line of propane usage, which most of us pretty much ignore anyway.

Propane Safety and Tips on Basic Brewing Podcast.

And iirc neither did the makers of said Turkey Fryers know how we've coopted their product for our hobby. And said something similar.

Did you ever read the warning labels on a bottle of starsan? And did you also know that the required labelling about contact time is longer than it actually is, that it kills much faster than that but 5-star is required to have that info, but if you listen to the podcast here, he goes into the more effective way to use it. And talks about the FDA rules.

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March 29, 2007 - Sanitizing with Bleach and Star San
Charlie Talley from Five Star Chemicals tells us best practices in using household bleach and Star San in sanitizing equipment.

Click to listen
It's called "cover your a$$." And it's usually done by lawyers. Warning labels, usage "policies" are often written with oversight by lawyers to cover their a$$e$, or is it a$$et$? People are essentially stupid...and Lawyers are smart enough to cover their clients ass with warnings.....like warning on cruise controls in campers, not to engage them, and get up and go to the bathroom...or other fun things like these...The Darwin Awards.

Also Has anyone EVER called a customer service number, and EVER got anything that was more than a canned answer? You don't get much out of the box thinking when calling a 1-800 number, especially if you're going to be connected to someone in India. They are going to read whatever they've been told to read, say whatever they've been told to say.

And NOT DARE to ever think beyond that.

Bottom line, we've been using them for quite awhile now. And some folks choose not to and mash in kettles....So it's ultimately up to you.
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Old 12-08-2011, 02:36 AM   #10
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Damn that was one hell of a answer. Lol. I'm gonna go for it and build one this weekend. Thanks for putting that question to bed for me that had to be one of the most in depth answers I have seen
CHEERS

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