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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Metallic taste and my brew pot
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Old 10-15-2006, 02:59 AM   #1
iloman
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Default Metallic taste and my brew pot

I've completed four extract brews now, and I've noticed the last two have a metallic aftertaste to them (the latest being stronger than the previous). After doing some research I believe this may be related to my brew pot. Since I'm brewing on electric there's a small ring at the very bottom of the pot that looks like some of the malt extract, or the wort itself, burned just a enough to make an impression of the coils. When that happened the pot got a good scrubbing. My fear is it got scrubbed too much and may be causing the metallic taste.

I've read that some people do an acid bath by putting a double strength solution of Star San into the pot and letting it sit for 60 minutes. My issue is I have no clue if this pot is aluminum or stainless steel (I don't cook much and there aren't any markings at all on the thing to tell me one way or the other). Is an acid bath safe to do on either aluminum or stainless steel? If so I think it would be an easy step to help eliminate it as the possible cause.

Thanks,
Jason

ps. I also read water could be the issue, and I've been using bottled spring water. I plan on checking the next batch of water bottles to make sure iron isn't listed in the ingredients.

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Old 10-15-2006, 03:46 AM   #2
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Some good info here:
http://www.howtobrew.com/appendices/appendixB.html
http://www.howtobrew.com/section4/chapter21-2.html

From above:

Metallic
Metallic flavors are usually caused by unprotected metals dissolving into the wort but can also be caused by the hydrolysis of lipids in poorly stored malts. Iron and aluminum can cause metallic flavors leaching into the wort during the boil. The small amount could be considered to be nutritional if it weren't for the bad taste. Nicks and cracks ceramic coated steel pots are a common cause as are high iron levels in well water. Stainless steel pots will not contribute any metallic flavors. Aluminum pots usually won't cause metallic flavors unless the brewing water is alkaline with a pH level greater than 9. Shiny new aluminum pots will sometimes turn black when boiling water due to chlorine and carbonates in the water.

The protective (grayish) oxides of aluminum can be enhanced by heating the clean pot in a dry oven at 250°F for about 6 hours.

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Old 10-15-2006, 06:04 AM   #3
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If you want to determine the metal your pot is made from, here are a few hints.

Stainless steel is much harder than aluminum. If it's aluminum, you should be able to easily put a deep scratch in the pot (try an unsuspecting spot on the outside) with a butterknife.

If you have stainless steel utensils or another pot for which you can confirm the metal, compare colors. Stainless steel is a bit more blue with a hint of gold or yellow coloring. Aluminum is more white/gray.

Also, aluminum is much lighter in weight than stainless, but I don't have a good way of describing exactly how heavy your pot should feel one way or the other.

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Old 10-15-2006, 04:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iloman
...My issue is I have no clue if this pot is aluminum or stainless steel ...
You can try a magnet, it will not stick to aluminum but probably will on a typical stainless one
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Old 10-15-2006, 04:23 PM   #5
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I Bought A Stainless Steel Pot From Sports Authority And A Magnet Wont Stick To It....sorry For The Caps

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Old 10-15-2006, 04:42 PM   #6
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Are you trying a larger heavier one, there might not be enough magnetic properties to hold its weight. Try one of the thin refrigerator ones, they are easier to see if there is some attraction going on.

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Old 10-15-2006, 05:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whodwho
You can try a magnet, it will not stick to aluminum but probably will on a typical stainless one
Because of the high nickel content, stainless typically doesn't have very magnetic properties.
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Old 10-15-2006, 06:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
Because of the high nickel content, stainless typically doesn't have very magnetic properties.
Correct but aluminum has none so if a fridge magnet slightly attracts then would be SS and not aluminum. It is a quick easy non destructive test.

I tried a few SS pots and pans and although it may not have "stuck" to it, most had at least a slight attraction. And oddly enough more at the top then the bottom.
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Old 10-15-2006, 06:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whodwho
Correct but aluminum has none so if a fridge magnet slightly attracts then would be SS and not aluminum. It is a quick easy non destructive test.

I tried a few SS pots and pans and although it may not have "stuck" to it, most had at least a slight attraction. And oddly enough more at the top then the bottom.
I just took a couple of small rare earth magnets (the kind you can barely pull apart) and tried intently to feel an attraction against several pieces of stainless brew equipment from several manufacturers. I felt no magnetic attraction whatsoever. Some stainless alloys (303/304) may slightly retain the ferrous/magnetic properties of their parent steel, but high nickel/chrome/manganese alloys (316) will lose those properties completely.

EDIT: I just proved this with an accurate (+/- 0.1 oz) digital scale and some welding rod. I put 309 rod on the scale and waved the magnet above it. The reading got lighter by 0.2 oz, proving magnetic attraction. With 316 rod, there was no change in the scale reading. FYI, 309 is the most ferrous of the common stainless alloys and can be used to join mild steel and stainless.

FURTHER EDIT: whodwho, not trying to prove you wrong (as you are partially correct!), just amplifying the information you gave. The magnet test is definitive if it shows some attraction, but inconclusive if it shows none.
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Old 10-16-2006, 03:11 AM   #10
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Geez, I feel bad that I kinda hijacked your thread with the metallurgy discussion. To get back to the point, the Star San bath should do the trick whether it's stainless or aluminum. I'm guessing that it's an aluminum pot, as stainless shouldn't leave a metallic flavor like that, even after being scrubbed bare.

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