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Old 01-08-2013, 10:17 PM   #1
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Default HELP -- Wrong metal used to weigh down my dry hop bag in fermenter!

Okay, so while this isn't the first time I have been scared that I ruined a beer, this is something that I HAVE to ask about.

I got some whole hops due to availability instead of my normal pellet purchase. I decided to use a hop bag for both the boil and dry hopping. I found a bunch of screws that were nice and shiny and clean, I thought they were stainless steel. I used these shiny screws (after sanitizing them, of course) to weigh the dry hop bag down. After a shorter than normal dry hop of 6 days, I pulled the bag out to find the screws had darkened a bit. I instantly worried about my beer being ruined from metal contamination. I tasted it and thought I could taste a hint of metal, so I called upon a friend to give it a taste and he thought that he could MAYBE taste metal as well. I forced carbed it and I still think I can taste metal in the finish. It's very slight, but I'm more worried about metal toxicity and health than the taste at this point.

Should I dump it? Can anyone with more expertise in the area of metals and beer give me their opinion? 9oz of simcoe down the drain sounds almost as terrible as metal poisoning, so I'm hoping to get an education before I do anything...

Thanks in advance for anyone who will take the time to give me an opinion here.

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Well, I think that you meant "oz" not "lbs"
Did you brew this from the couch on your porch?

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:23 PM   #2
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They were probably chrome plated screws. IMO, a little bit of chromium won't kill you. If you can drink the beer, and you don't feel wrong afterwards, then continue on.

I would hold off on dumping unless the flavor increases, or a biochemist comes along and says that it's harmful to drink it.

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:26 PM   #3
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I hope they weren't galvanized screws. The zinc would come off the screws and go into solution.
For a quick test, you could weigh all the screws that you removed from the beer, dry of course, then compare that weight to the same number of screws that weren't in the beer to see if there is much of a difference.

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:30 PM   #4
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A couple of zinc plated screws in a 5 gal batch wouldn't worry me, the metal taste is probably in your head. Just don't do it again.

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:31 PM   #5
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My first thought was galvanized screws.

Galvanization is a zinc oxide coating. I don't know if it is harmful when dissolved into a liquid solution. Zinc does help yeast health, so it might even be good. However, I do know welders have to be careful for metal fume fever when dealing with that stuff around 700F but it might just be the temp/vaporization that makes that an issue.

Perhaps someone with more knowledge in galvanization can weigh in.

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:37 PM   #6
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Shiny screws that aren't stainless are likely zinc plated not galvanized. They both are zinc but galvanized is dipped and zinc plating is electroplated. Zinc plating uses less zinc than galvanizing.

Welding on top of a zinc surface does produce very harmful fumes but is not the same as the situation here.

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:38 PM   #7
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After looking at some images, they could have been either galvanized or chrome. But chrome has more online images matching the screws I used than galvanized, so I'm leaning that way. Both look to be toxic, it really sucks but I'm getting a little worried about drinking this and giving it to friends to drink. Hopefully someone will comment a more definite answer.

The taste could definately be in my head, I was wondering that already since I noticed the issue before having my first taste..

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Well, I think that you meant "oz" not "lbs"
Did you brew this from the couch on your porch?

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:40 PM   #8
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First find out what kind of screws. They could have been played as said before, or galvanized which I believe is tin or zinc.

Me, I would drink anyway. A little metal in your system once won't be too bad. IMO anyway!

Edit: too late. Also no definite answer. My bad!

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:46 PM   #9
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I used a 1" chrome ball bearing to weigh down a bag of hops before. Drank the 3 gallon keg of it without knowing anything was up. Thought the balls were stainless steel until I checked after removing the discolored ball. While I won't do it again, I probably had more metal in there than you did.

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:52 PM   #10
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Force carbing sometimes has a metallic twang at first, if you still experience this metallic taste after the beer has been carbing for 3 weeks then you know not to use these screws again.

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