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Old 12-11-2009, 04:07 AM   #1
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Default Lead from brass fittings..

So I was thinking tonight about the debate between brass and SS. Obviously SS is nice if you wish to pony up the extra $$$ but what disadvantages does brass really have. Yes they mix in a percentage of lead to improve the machining properties but what does that really matter to brewers.

1) You can pickle the brass which helps remove surface lead.
2) How much lead can you really expect to extract off the surface of small fittings during a 1hr mash and boil.
3) Lead is a very dense metal leading me to believe nearly 100% of any lead that would leach into the wort/beer would precipitate into the trub/yeast in the primary fermenter which isn't consumed.

So does anyone have any info that I'm not seeing? Sure SS is pretty but for a lot more $$ that could be spent on other brew stuff.

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Old 12-11-2009, 11:47 AM   #2
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I think you answered the main concern. Contact time is important for leaching. I personally don't have an issue using brass in certain areas of my system.

The only other concern is its durability with certain cleaning materials like caustics. Its not as durable as stainless, but in the home setting it is fine to use it.

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Old 12-11-2009, 02:19 PM   #3
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I am usually very cautious about the materials I use in brewing. I avoid using PVC products, refuse to use Homer Buckets etc. but after pickling I think there is very little danger in using brass.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:05 PM   #4
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I work with lead .. I used to do body work many moons ago when lead was still used on body seems on new cars from the factory. We would just grind it off with a regular dust mask and it would be all over us. I still use it to this day on custom motorcycles as the vibes tend to destroy bondo. I have had several blood test and have asked to have the lead test done also and the lead in my system is well below the unsafe threshold.Just a little above the normal that would be found in the average adult my age.I wouldn't worry about the amount in brass

here is a fender thats tinned and the lead is just being applied. The white stuff in the tin is wax to keep the lead from sticking to the paddle

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