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Old 11-24-2012, 07:18 PM   #1
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Default Brewed in a Non Food Grade Pail, Did I ruin my brew?

Hello. This is my very first post. I have been brewing on and off for a while. I got started with the Mr Beer kits. This is my first 5 gallon batch and I made my own pail with a valve for easy transfer into a glass secondary. I checked on my beer 10 days after I pitched. It had this really strong alcohol taste, so i panicked and siphoned into my secondary, because I thought I needed to get it away from the yeast so it could filter out all of the badness and clear up. After cleaning my pail, 2 days later the smell is still stuck onto the pail, and it almost has a smell of plastic-like toxins or something. I then found out that my pail is not Food Grade. I thought that all HDPE pails were Food Grade but I was mistaken. The FG was where I needed it to be. It did have a very vigorous fermentation. The fermentation temp got up to 75 degrees some days, so is it just fusel alcohol? I don't think I gave the wort enough oxygen before I pitched. Did the strong fermentation strip toxins from the pail and into my beer? Im going to let it chill in my secondary for a while at a lower temp, and hopefully it'll be ok. Is it just really green, or did I ruin my beer? I will end up throwing this pail and getting a new one, no sense in risking future batches. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 11-24-2012, 07:38 PM   #2
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I've never used a non-food grade bucket before, but you are probably right in that fermentation was too high at 75; what beer style and yeast did you use? 75 is a bit high for most yeast and could easily be the source of the alcohol aroma.

As for using a secondary, there's usually not a lot of yeast carried over that will clean up off flavors a beer; the secondary really only helps in clearing up a beer further by dropping that little yeast out of suspension again. I'd suggest letting it age in the primary a few weeks and the tasting it then. If doing that a few times doesn't help, bottle and forget about it for a few months. Extended bottle conditioning could help balance out some mistakes.

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Old 11-24-2012, 07:46 PM   #3
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Guy on here just posted a "ghetto" kettle being a HD 5 gallon pail...If hes still alive i think you should be fine.
Usually hot/alcohol off flavors are from to high of ferm temp.

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Old 11-24-2012, 09:42 PM   #4
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Ha! i just looked up that pail/kettle thing. ridiculous. my recipe is just a plain amber ale with some caraamber and crystal40L. california ale yeast. I just remembered that i did use some amber and light extract that i bought over a year ago and didnt really store. just put it in a box in the basement.

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:03 PM   #5
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I started brewing in England in the early 1970's. There was no such thing as Food Grade plastic in those days, and specialized plastic fermenters hadn't been invented. I fermented in a plastic trash bin. It was a new trash bin though and dedicated to brewing. So did most of the other homebrewers in that age, and I'm still around. So are all my brothers, who did the same thing. I must admit, I switched to glass carboys after about 3 years, so perhaps that saved me.

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Old 11-24-2012, 11:18 PM   #6
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Actually most of those basic plastic buckets are usually made of food grade plastics, they just aren't certified and stamped as such, because the company's selling them don't want to go through the extra hassle of going through that. Over the years we've had plastics people on here who were familiar with the buckets sold by most hardware stores and they were fine with them for brewing.

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Old 11-25-2012, 12:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy
Actually most of those basic plastic buckets are usually made of food grade plastics, they just aren't certified and stamped as such, because the company's selling them don't want to go through the extra hassle of going through that. Over the years we've had plastics people on here who were familiar with the buckets sold by most hardware stores and they were fine with them for brewing.
So from what you've read, would you feel comfortable using HD buckets for things like storing grains and as a bottling bucket? I still wouldn't consider them for fermentation, especially when an ale pail only runs $12 at the LHBS.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metanoia View Post
So from what you've read, would you feel comfortable using HD buckets for things like storing grains and as a bottling bucket? I still wouldn't consider them for fermentation, especially when an ale pail only runs $12 at the LHBS.
Yup. I would and I do.....
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:29 PM   #9
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That makes sense, seeing as how the LHBS (Adventures) stores their opened grains in those large plastic rubbermade containers. Thanks!

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