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Old 02-02-2007, 01:30 PM   #1
faber
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Default brass fittings in a converted cooler

I didn't even think of this till now, but...

Is there any reason not to use brass fittings/pipe in a mash tun? Inside the mash tun, that is. I know, I know: SS is better...but brass pipe fittings, both smooth and rough (cast), are used for potable water lines everywhere, and I read what Palmer had to say about brass.

But, when you handle it long enough, there is a noticeable metallic smell, and it lingers on your hands. Could this affect the mash?

I'm new to AG brewing, so it wouldn't surprise me if the response to my concerns is, RDWHAHB. But, is there any reason to be concerned?

You folks havn't steered me wrong yet as I am learning my way to (better) AG brewing. I appreciate all the help.

TIA.



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Old 02-02-2007, 01:43 PM   #2
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I've used a brass nipple on my lautering tun and haven't been able to detect any metallic flavors. I think this is more of an issue if brass is in contact with finished beer, maybe the PH is lower because of the carbonation? Anyway, if you're concerned you could try pickling the fittings before assembling the cooler and see if that makes a difference.



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Old 02-02-2007, 01:46 PM   #3
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I'm not sure.
It's used widely in the UK, usually nickel and chrome coated.
I use it.
Wort is more acidic than water.
I lot of these "Problems" are theoretical and don't seem to have and real world evidence to back them up.
If I had unlimited funds and resources then it'd be stainless and glass all the way but I don't so I haven't

Not that much help but it adds to the debate.

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Old 02-02-2007, 02:31 PM   #4
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I look at it this way, if they were bad, HBS wouldn't sell them. I don't think that the wort is in contact with the brass for long enough to cause off flavors.

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Old 02-02-2007, 05:19 PM   #5
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Thanks, all.

Orfy, I would feel much better with chrome- or nickel-plated brass. In fact, I'd really see no reason to go to stainless. I can see why such fittings are popular for homebrewing in the UK. In my diminutive hamlet, however, the local stores have a choice of (unplated) brass, black pipe, PVC, or galvanized. I'd have to order stainless, so cost + shipping.

2nd St, yeah, I though of that, too. My concern is that I have brass fittings *inside* the mash tun, i.e. not just the valve and tubing barb. I have a 3/4" T made of cast brass (rough surface) and a matching union piece and bushing, which are the three pieces I am particularly concerned about. When you say tht you think the wort is not in contact with brass long enough, are you referring to the wort simply passing through a brass ball valve and barb or mashing for ~150°F for 60 mins or so?

PBR, I've thought about pickeling the fittings in question, as I've read about it in Palmer. But, I wasn't sure if the root of my concern is in the trace amount of lead on the surface of brass (sufficiently small that it's safe for drinking water lines) or in something else altogether. But, even though brass is safe for potable water, I'm not sure about mashing temps, and not sure how to find out. I've asked at the hardware store, but they didn't know.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, folks.

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Old 02-02-2007, 05:28 PM   #6
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2nd St, yeah, I though of that, too. My concern is that I have brass fittings *inside* the mash tun, i.e. not just the valve and tubing barb. I have a 3/4" T made of cast brass (rough surface) and a matching union piece and bushing, which are the three pieces I am particularly concerned about. When you say tht you think the wort is not in contact with brass long enough, are you referring to the wort simply passing through a brass ball valve and barb or mashing for ~150°F for 60 mins or so


Is that stuff part of you're manifold? I made mine out of copper. When I posted I thought all you were refering to was the ball valve.

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Old 02-02-2007, 05:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2nd Street Brewery
Is that stuff part of you're manifold? I made mine out of copper. When I posted I thought all you were refering to was the ball valve.
Not a full and proper manifold, but the assembly connecting a large-bore SS screen filter.
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Old 02-02-2007, 06:38 PM   #8
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There's a little bit of lead in brass to help make it machine more easily. That's probably the smell your are getting on you hands.

You can wash the lead off by making a solution of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 hydrogen peroxide then letting your brass sit in it for hour or so. It makes the brass look bad but if you are concerned it will get rid of the lead on the surface.

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Old 02-02-2007, 07:00 PM   #9
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It's not the temp in the mash tun that will effect it, it's the PH.

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Old 02-02-2007, 09:36 PM   #10
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OK, folks. You've convinced me.

I called a friend just down the road from me (which means three hours down the road in Montana) who is a contrctor. He said he will hook me up with all stainless fittings for what I need for--get this-- a six-pack of homebrew.

I wouldn't have callled him without being compelled to source some SS.

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.



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