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Old 04-26-2006, 01:09 AM   #1
Sumta
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Default PVC Pipe -- Friendly or No?

Hello All,

This is my first post, and you should all be impressed, for in the text below I am courting the Resounding Raspberry, or perhaps even the Glorious Finger of Scorn.

For those who are not against plastic fermenters, is PVC pipe a reasonable material to use? I was at Lowe's on Sunday in the plumbing area. When my eyes fell upon the 8" PVC pipe, I began seeing 48" tall dancing fermenters to hold my 8+ gallon batches.

Is PVC pourous? Does it exude noxious poisons...or even worse bad tasting ones? How about HDPE?

Joe W

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Old 04-26-2006, 01:39 AM   #2
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Most people will advise you to use CPVC instead of PVC PVC is intended for cold water pipes CPVC for hot water. I personally think that 6the only thing wrong with PVC is that it softens up a little in boiling water. Since PVC amd CPVC cost about the same your probably better off going with CPVC

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Old 04-26-2006, 03:32 AM   #3
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I would have to say no. I don't think you will find cpvc in 8" diameters so you are looking at pvc. I also recall this pipe has not having the slickest finish on them so I would question how well it could be cleaned. Second, I think it would be proned to absorbing odor and flavors from batch to batch including the cleaning agents as this would not be an issue for its intended purpose. There is one way to find out for sure.

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Old 04-26-2006, 01:51 PM   #4
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Yeah, I don't think I would try it (for many of the reasons PT mentions), but it might work depending on how you set it up. Temperature shouldn't be an issue in this application, so PVC should be fine as opposed to going with C-PVC.

Edit...btw, HDPE should be fine if you can find that. However, I'm not sure about fermentation dynamics in a pipe. Traditional fermenters tend towards more shallow, open fermenters, while even the more modern conicals aren't super narrow. You might have cannon-like blowoff with a tube!

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Old 04-26-2006, 02:04 PM   #5
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For my very first mash tun, I used pvc as a manifold because I hadn't heard anything that suggested that this may be a bad thing. The first brew I made with it had a slightly "plastic" taste but not like bandaids. Unfortunately, I drank this up like a session beer because of the taste. Now, I have only about 8 of these left, and it tastes amazing - off flavor = gone! So, I think that the off-flavor was this beer's "green" flavor rather than a result of the pvc manifold. I also brewed another beer (a belgian wit) with this setup and this "plasticy" flavor is not present at all, so I don't believe that the pvc gave any off-flavors.

Regardless of this, I switched to cpvc because it is inexpensive and just as simple to use. From personal experience, I see nothing wrong with pvc, but why not use cpvc for the hot water application.

$.02

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Old 04-26-2006, 02:51 PM   #6
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I am kind of entertained, though, by the notion of having a "forest" of fermentation pipes. Maybe it wouldn't work for primary, but do you think it might do for secondary? What if we put in a spigot or something for racking?

I'm not technically-inclined, but I am space-challenged in the apartment, and the thought of being able to tuck those away somewhere, or tape some fake leaves on 'em to "camouflage" them in a room some where... well, it's damn appealing.

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Old 04-26-2006, 03:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonvolt
From personal experience, I see nothing wrong with pvc, but why not use cpvc for the hot water application.
If I understand what's being suggested, it's just making fermentors which means the temps would be well within bounds for PVC which is supposed to be safe at those temps (it's used for cold water applications). Unless I'm missing something.
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Old 04-26-2006, 06:32 PM   #8
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As a Packaging Engineer I'll tell you that PVC is not FDA approved for direct food contact. It emits off flavors.

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Old 04-26-2006, 06:40 PM   #9
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Then why is it used for drinking water?

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Old 04-26-2006, 08:37 PM   #10
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And what about ABS, the black plastic?

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