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Old 10-30-2009, 12:31 AM   #1
ILOVEBEER
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Sep 2009
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I know there is a way to "delead" the brass with peroxide and vinegar and I know alot of you use brass in your systems....but do you guys really feel safe doing so?

I'm not trying to start a debate or anything or sound like a pompous ass...not the case.

For the last two months I have been buying little by little all the pieces for my RIMS that were mocked up with brass (valves, nipples, flared pipe ends etc) and replacing them with SS pieces. It is pricey, but in my opinion worth my sanity (and health). Stainless is by far a superior material to brass....and a little harder than copper, which is also used for fermentors, transfer piping etc by brewers.

The way I look at it....if it was really safe to do so, then why don't all the high end brewing rigs you can buy or the big brewers use BRASS?

Just an opinion and interested to hear what you all think

 
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:55 AM   #2
Catt22
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I have no fear of brass at all. There's really no question that stainless is better, but how much better will forever be an endless debate. The bling value of SS is relatively high and that is important to many. Regarding the high end rigs; marketing is a major influence. You know, curb appeal and all that which is similar to the bling factor. The concern other than appearance usually has to do with the minuscule amount of lead that the brass contains. I have no way of testing for possible lead contamination in my beer or even my tap water for that matter. There is a lot of brass used in most home plumbing and I'm sure there's a bunch used at the water treatment plants and in the distribution lines. I'm not aware of any health issues directly related to those. Lead soldered connections on copper pipe and brass fittings was a much bigger concern. Lead solder is no longer used, but there is still a lot of old piping that did use it when originally installed. I really think that relative to the exposure we have due to contaminants in the air we breathe, the food we eat and probably the clothes we wear that the tiny exposure of anything harmful in brass is negligible. As I said, I have no way of testing and I am no expert on this stuff by any stretch, so it's just my personal opinion. I do use some brass and I don't worry about it at all. I would go with all SS if cost were not an issue, which it is at the moment. Someday I will probably make the switch, but I'm in no hurry. Global warming or the flu plague will probably get us before the lead does. Ya know, it's always somethin'.

 
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:40 AM   #3
ILOVEBEER
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"Ya know, it's always somethin'."

Hahaha ain't that the truth. I went that route just for the piece of mind. Granted I could have bought 5 brass ball valves for 30.00 instead of the five 3 piece SS valves for 125.00 or brass QD's instead of morebeers SS QD's etc etc. One thing is for sure, if I get something it isn't going to be from making beer! As it stands now, I have alot of copper and alot of stainless and an empty pocket!!!!!!!!!!!

Take Care

 
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Old 10-30-2009, 02:01 AM   #4
JKoravos
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I trust John Palmer's metallurgy knowledge. His opinion is that it isn't even worth the effort to pickle the brass parts.

 
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Old 10-30-2009, 02:44 AM   #5
jds
 
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Another metallurgist here. I don't pickle brass fittings either. The total quantity of lead that could potentially leach out of a brass fitting into beer is miniscule.

If I were selecting materials for a start-up brewery, the reason I'd avoid brass is that it doesn't stand up well to strong acids, like you see used in brewery cleaning processes. For homebrew-scale use, where we only occasionally (if at all) use strong acids as part of the cleaning process, I don't see it as a problem.

 
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Old 10-30-2009, 02:53 AM   #6
The Pol
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Good stuff...

I love brass, I just tell people it is gold plating, wayyy cooler than SS.

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Old 10-30-2009, 03:03 AM   #7
ILOVEBEER
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Got it! At this point there is no turning back. The damage is done

Two more flared to pipe threaded fittings and all of the stuff that touches my sweet beer will be SS.


 
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:11 AM   #8
shek
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Lead is heavy right? I'll just start using a long secondary....

 
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:17 AM   #9
waldoar15
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I'm sure I got more poison over the years welding up all those Tri-Clover and Ladish fittings to stainless pipe when I worked in a food processing plant than I'd ever get out of some brass fittings with a little beer running through them.

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Old 10-30-2009, 03:22 AM   #10
ILOVEBEER
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The ones that I was really concerned with were the ones that would boil along with the wort...not that it matters but.....

 
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