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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Soda Making > Why would my regular Beer Faucets cause Soda to be toxic
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:47 AM   #1
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Default Why would my regular Beer Faucets cause Soda to be toxic

I have a Beer Faucet that I have been using to dispense Rootbeer for some time now. Recently I read somewhere that the carbonation in soda can cause a Toxic experiance for drinkers of my rootbeer as my faucets are Chrome plated. the difference from beer to soda is only about at most 2.5 Vol. of CO2 so what's the big deal Soda is 4.0 Vol. of CO2 and Beer can be even higher than the nominal 1.5 Vol. of CO2.

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Old 09-29-2011, 02:58 AM   #2
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It's not exactly that it would be toxic. Due to the higher acidity of soda from a) the ingredients, which usually includes a form of acid such as phosphoric or citric and b) the carbonic acid, the chrome will start to dissolve away (or dissolve at a higher rate than it would in beer.) After the chrome dissolves, then it starts to dissolve the copper out of the brass. Copper tends to not be a healthy element, sure, trace amounts are required, but not a lot. An overabundance can cause copper toxicity: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_toxicity Even a low frequent dose may cause liver and kidney damage for example. And couple that with alcohol putting extra stress means a bad thing.

Overall, I doubt it'd be a major issue, since the liquid is not in constant contact with the brass (emptying the first 2 oz for example) but this also does mean that your nice shiny faucets are damaged and actually dissolving from the liquid. And knowing that you're drinking copper is just an ick factor.

Ever remember cleaning a penny with baking soda & vinegar, or cleaning off car battery posts with coca-cola?

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Old 09-30-2011, 05:51 AM   #3
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Would using stainless steel shanks and faucets avoid this issue?

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Old 09-30-2011, 07:08 AM   #4
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the general consensus of the forums says YES. you may also purchase plastic taps that are commonly used with wine too!

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Old 10-01-2011, 12:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
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the general consensus of the forums says YES. you may also purchase plastic taps that are commonly used with wine too!
I use all stainless. Most soda fountains are a mix of stainless and plastic. The chrome plating shouldn't really be a problem, but the brass under it would be (as far as I know). Other metals like copper are also not good for carbonated water... the instructions on the carbonator I have said to ensure EVERYTHING the seltzer touches is either plastic or stainless.
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Old 10-01-2011, 02:11 AM   #6
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Exactly. I have ss faucets, but chrome shanks right now, but thatll change. However, im still using them in the meantime and i do not expect there to be a copper problem. If I use them for more tjan a year and continue to use them for 5 or 10 more, then, I could have a problem. I have my plastic taps to use too.

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Old 10-01-2011, 11:28 AM   #7
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Exactly. I have ss faucets, but chrome shanks right now, but thatll change. However, im still using them in the meantime and i do not expect there to be a copper problem. If I use them for more tjan a year and continue to use them for 5 or 10 more, then, I could have a problem. I have my plastic taps to use too.
The copper generally wouldn't be an issue for a homebrewer. The reason they list it on the carbonators is because they are usually plumbed (since you need a water supply). They don't want you plumbing the soda out line with copper pipe (I am assuming it has happened from the warning), but most homebrewer supplies are ether chrome plated brass or stainless. The chrome plating protects the brass, and the stainless doesn't really care.
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Old 10-01-2011, 01:40 PM   #8
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Not exactly. Chrome will be eaten away by acidic fluids, then it'll work on the brass. This includes soda, wine and high IBU beers.

See: http://www.micromatic.com/beer-quest...se-aid-97.html
They mostly mention the addition of a metallic flavor, and I just doubt that long term exposure is a good thing. This is why stainless steel is recommended as a non-reactive metal.

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Old 10-01-2011, 01:45 PM   #9
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Not exactly. Chrome will be eaten away by acidic fluids, then it'll work on the brass. This includes soda, wine and high IBU beers.

See: http://www.micromatic.com/beer-quest...se-aid-97.html
They mostly mention the addition of a metallic flavor, and I just doubt that long term exposure is a good thing. This is why stainless steel is recommended as a non-reactive metal.
Sorry, I wasn't entirely clear. Yes... the chrome isn't as good as the stainless. Over time the chrome plating will be removed leaving exposed brass which won't hold up well at all. The purpose of the plating is to protect the brass, but it isn't as good long term as stainless.

Summary:... Chrome Plating will work, but it is likely not good long term. If you have the cash Stainless is the way to go.

Personally I decided to just spend the money and go all stainless. Cu poisoning isn't pleasant.
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Old 10-01-2011, 02:12 PM   #10
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Yeah, that's my take on it too.
Like I said before, I'd have gone for stainless steel shanks originally, but I got my faucet kits on (accidental I believe & massive) discount, so I wasn't about to complain, or even ask to trade them out. Besides, when I originally found them, I thought they were just refurb'd being 1/3rd the normal price, and I'd still have gotten them. Buying SS shanks later would still cost me less than if I bought new faucets&shanks vs refurbd&new shanks.
Since in the past few months, I've managed to spend a few hundred dollars that I shouldn't really be spending to get the beer/soda/wine fridge going, I'm satisfied with chrome plated brass and will be taking my time upgrading in a year or two. If you're going to buy faucets without any special discount, just go for SS for both on the first purchase. (Seriously, you really wouldn't think that you keep needing stuff. The ball locks for bev and gas, hoses, clamps, gas lines, manifolds, and dual regulator)

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