Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > Are Brass fittings suitable or not?
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:26 PM   #1
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Default Are Brass fittings suitable or not?

I have access to a brass ball valve and fittings I need to install on my current 5 gallon MLT and was concerned about the use of Brass instead of SS or copper.

I have a 1/2" brass ball valve (threaded), 1/2" threaded nipples of various length, silicone o-rings and what apears to be Brass washers and the nut for inside the MLT. I currrently use a pre-drilled bung with 3/8" copper pipe and tubing with a valve to control flow. This set-up has not leaked, but I would like to have something a bit more sturdy to work with.

So, is the Brass ok to use, or should I wait to get the SS weldless set-up from somewhere?

Thanks for the input.

Salute!


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Old 08-15-2009, 05:04 PM   #2
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I used a brass ball valve, hose barb, etc on my MLT, have brewed a few hundred gallons of great beer with it and have no problems to report.


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Old 08-15-2009, 07:09 PM   #3
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If you search around, you will see many discussions on this. Long story short, brass contains small amounts of lead. Lead can leach from brass in acidic environments. Whether or not (or how much) lead leaches into wort is up for debate. Brass fittings should not impact the flavor of your beer.

Some people pickle their brass parts using vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, which when done properly removes surface lead. I however, don't even feel safe doing this, as your acidic could eventually expose lead again.

I didn't feel like messing with guesswork nor re-pickling. Lead accumulates in your body and, if it causes a problem, it certainly won't be immediate. I bit the bullet and switched to all stainless fittings.
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Old 08-16-2009, 02:16 PM   #4
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The amount of lead is so minuscule you really should not get worked up about it. If you want to be safe, pickle the brass parts.

Look around the plumbing in your house, I'm willing to bet you have brass parts in several areas, be it faucet parts, the connectors in pex tubing, the shut off valve, etc.

If you want to pay 10x as much for a SS valve, go for it. Some of our Member vendors sell the bulkhead parts pretty cheap and it is handy to have all the parts without having to shop around 10 different hardware stores to get the correct parts.
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Old 08-16-2009, 02:31 PM   #5
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You probably are exposed to more lead by common pollution in your daily life.
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Old 08-16-2009, 02:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenbirds View Post
If you search around, you will see many discussions on this. Long story short, brass contains tiny, minuscule, almost unmeasurable (i.e., < 2 parts per billion) amounts of lead.
There, fixed that for you...Enjoy the low cost and convenience of your brass fittings.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:28 PM   #7
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You are going to "hurt" yourself more by consuming the product you are making over that of whatever the stainless or brass fittings will contribute.

Now, maybe if you powdered the fittings in lead and used galvanized steel....
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:46 PM   #8
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Ok then.... Since the ball valve and fittings are free and SS is going to cost me some $$$, I have made the decision to use the brass. WOW! that was easy.

Thanks.

Salute!
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Old 11-13-2014, 07:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenbirds View Post
If you search around, you will see many discussions on this. Long story short, brass contains small amounts of lead. Lead can leach from brass in acidic environments. Whether or not (or how much) lead leaches into wort is up for debate. Brass fittings should not impact the flavor of your beer.

Some people pickle their brass parts using vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, which when done properly removes surface lead. I however, don't even feel safe doing this, as your acidic could eventually expose lead again.

I didn't feel like messing with guesswork nor re-pickling. Lead accumulates in your body and, if it causes a problem, it certainly won't be immediate. I bit the bullet and switched to all stainless fittings.
Aren't bullets made of lead?
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Old 11-13-2014, 08:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlfA01 View Post
Aren't bullets made of lead?
That might depend on which state you live in and what your usin e'm fer'.

But ya, I'm with everyone just use the brass.


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