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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > copper vs. stainless
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:12 PM   #1
dubicus360
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Default copper vs. stainless

Just looking for a few more opinions in regards to wort chillers. Possible off flavors, durability of the material, etc...? What do you guys know?

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Old 08-29-2008, 06:33 PM   #2
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I think most are using copper. You won't get any flavors unless your copper has that greenish/blue corrosion on it and you dump that in your wort. Just keep it fairly clean and forget about it.

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Old 08-29-2008, 06:39 PM   #3
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I think the heat transfer differences are negligible but others will argue that point. I like stainless so that's what I use but it is definitely overkill. Will anyone on earth be able to tell that your beer was chilled with copper or stainless... nope.

Here is my justification for my stainless addiction:
If you are spending the money to have stainless ball valves, fittings, or anything else, why dump a huge piece of copper into the mix. If I am going to be using copper or brass anywhere in my system, I would just use it all over.

In the end, just decide if the money is worth a shiny piece of equipment. If not, get the copper.

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Old 08-29-2008, 06:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boerderij Kabouter View Post
In the end, just decide if the money is worth a shiny piece of equipment. If not, get the copper.
But these days, stainless is often cheaper than copper!

Personally I prefer stainless, as I always hated putting a dark colored copper coil into my wort and pulling out a shiny clean one 20 minutes later. I can't say I've noticed any difference in the final product.

I've not noticed any performance issues, it seems comparable to my copper chiller. If there is a difference, it's negligible.
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Old 09-01-2008, 06:35 PM   #5
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Thanks guys for the info.

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Old 09-01-2008, 08:08 PM   #6
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Copper is a much better conductor of heat than stainless steel. 28.6 times better, in fact. The only metal that beats copper is silver, and it doesn't beat copper by much.

Copper is an excellent brewery metal. It's also mildly germicidal. You shouldn't fear it.

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Old 09-01-2008, 08:12 PM   #7
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yep. the Aztecs used copper for surgical tools. Clean copper oxide is pretty sterile.

If you're concerned about a dirty IC, dip it in some warm vinegar before your beer (rinse of course)

either that or just clean and dry your copper immediately after use.

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Old 09-01-2008, 10:47 PM   #8
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If you're concerned about a dirty IC, dip it in some warm vinegar before your beer (rinse of course)
Not the most convenient routine, eh? Unless you happen to keep a bucket of vinegar around the house.

StarSan would work, and a brewer is more likely to have a bucket full handy. Or just use stainless.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:53 AM   #9
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50 feet of 1/2" stainless at Mcmaster is $70 which is only about 50% more than the copper. It's listed as "bend with bending tool" and not by hand so I wonder if I could possibly muscle it around a corny.

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Old 09-02-2008, 01:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billtzk View Post
Copper is a much better conductor of heat than stainless steel. 28.6 times better, in fact. The only metal that beats copper is silver, and it doesn't beat copper by much.

Copper is an excellent brewery metal. It's also mildly germicidal. You shouldn't fear it.

Unless the stainless falls off a truck, easy decision here.

Mike
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