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Old 12-17-2012, 03:40 AM   #1
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Default Turns out carbon steel is different from stainless steel: a cautionary tale

May have ruined a perfectly good Cascadian Dark Ale. I purchased ball bearings to weigh down hops bags for dry hopping. This was the maiden voyage. After a week in the beer @ 64 F the bearings had a gray-black patina and foul burned rubber smell (some of which was imparted to the beer, I'm afraid; see attached photo-the bearings were bright silver). At first, this made no sense b/c I though I purchased stainless steel bearings but on review of my receipt, they are carbon steel. And on review of carbon steel, turns out it's not corrosion resistant. Sh*t!!!

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Old 12-17-2012, 03:53 AM   #2
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You're probably ok. They're not rusty yet.

The 'foul burned rubber smell' sounds like a sulfur smell, which I'd guess is from the yeast. That should age out.

Have you tasted it yet? If not, I'd take a sample.

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Old 12-17-2012, 04:01 AM   #3
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Stainless steel has more chromium (the element that makes stainless steel "stainless steel") than carbon steel. That's about the only difference. I don't think carbon steel will hurt your brew, especially for that short period of time.

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Old 12-17-2012, 02:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsguitar View Post
You're probably ok. They're not rusty yet.

The 'foul burned rubber smell' sounds like a sulfur smell, which I'd guess is from the yeast. That should age out.

Have you tasted it yet? If not, I'd take a sample.
Tasted it. Not awful but we'll see.
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Old 12-17-2012, 05:20 PM   #5
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Looks like corrosion on the balls is minimal. Looks to me more of a chemical attach as to "rusting". When carbon steel blues its a thin layer of corrosion that ends up protecting it from further corrosion. I think your OK and lucky.

304/304L or 316/316L is best for food grade needs.

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Old 12-17-2012, 08:12 PM   #6
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This is why you heat iron skillets after washing....they rust and very quickly. But since O2 is low is beer...

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Old 12-17-2012, 08:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Looks like corrosion on the balls is minimal. Looks to me more of a chemical attach as to "rusting". When carbon steel blues its a thin layer of corrosion that ends up protecting it from further corrosion. I think your OK and lucky.

304/304L or 316/316L is best for food grade needs.
Yup. You got a few almost rusty blue balls.

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Old 12-17-2012, 08:38 PM   #8
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the issue i'd be more concerned about is they were probably shipped with a corrosion-resistant grease.

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Old 12-17-2012, 11:31 PM   #9
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You bought ball bearings for this purpose? Seems like a marginal idea. I'm sure in your kitchen you have plenty of SS or glass things you could have used; e.g. a spoon, shot glass, .... Just do the magnet test and yer good to go. Oh well, live & learn.

Hope the beer turns out ok. Not sure I'd be too interested in trying it though...

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Old 12-18-2012, 01:34 AM   #10
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This will be off the main topic but if there is a dollar tree store near you see if they carry glass beads in a bag for $1. I get 8-10 dry hop sessions from each bag w/o reusing the beeds. I boil these in water with the hop sack for 10 minutes prior to using them.

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