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Old 09-24-2010, 02:08 AM   #1
Sep 2010
Posts: 9

First post!!

I've done some searching on the forums on this subject and haven't found any conclusive evidence either way so I'll just pose my question for those of you much more experienced folks to answer.

I'm making the jump to all grain and am (like everyone and their grandmother) building an MLT out of a cooler. I've been reading arguments from both sides on the merits of stainless steel pipe fittings vs. brass.

I'm leaning towards stainless steel since I'm not a big fan of the idea of lead in my beer. Metal poisoning doesn't sound fun at all. I've read that "pickling" the brass actual brings out more lead than it gets rid of.

Any ideas/suggestions? Am I cheating myself out of anything by going with stainless?

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Old 09-24-2010, 02:19 AM   #2
jasonsbeer's Avatar
Jul 2009
Central Iowa
Posts: 390
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Originally Posted by tubz View Post
Am I cheating myself out of anything by going with stainless?
WARNING: totally biased response here:

I think you would be cheating yourself out of lots of money.

I use brass whenever possible because I'm not made of money and the fittings are available locally. I think its a bunch of hot air saying that I'm in danger of lead poisoning because I'm risking a few molecules of lead in a five gallon batch of beer. I expect I'm exposed to more than that every time I go outside. I would probably need to drink 35,000 beers from my equipment to equal one can of tuna.

I just don't think that argument holds any water. Maybe someone can follow up and actually show us the clinical study that says brass fittings, for potable water I might add, are dangerous to our health? There are tons of old wives tales related to home brewing that are debunked here all the time. For example: the requirement to use a secondary, scorched wort in a RIMS system, etc. Brass fittings will be one of the next to be debunked.

Sorry for the rant, I just think dangerous lead levels is one of those things that somebody heard from somebody else who heard it from a friend. While there may be lead in the fittings, it is not at a level to be of concern.
There are a terrible lot of lies going around the world, and the worst of it is half of them are true.

Winston Churchill

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Old 09-24-2010, 02:40 AM   #3
Dec 2009
North Pole, Alaska
Posts: 1,809
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I challenge anyone to produce evidence of a case of lead poisoning from using brass fittings in a home brewery. I've never heard anything but people repeating what other people heard from other people.
10 gallon electric system
Stovetop 110v single vessel 5 gallon system

Primary: saison
Secondary: nada
Conditioning: macaroon stout
Drinking: store bought

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Old 09-24-2010, 02:44 AM   #4
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IrregularPulse's Avatar
Nov 2007
Posts: 52,107
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Stainless is a nice piece of mind.....and it's a nice bling factor. When building the big rigs, what's a little more to make it look great. That said, I have a brass ball valve in my mash tun I've been using the past 2 years. Everything is being changed to stainless in my new build though. For cool factor and I want my brewery to look nice when it's done.
Tap Room Hobo

I should have stuck to four fingers in Vegas.

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Old 09-24-2010, 03:15 AM   #5
BIAB Expert Tailor
wilserbrewer's Avatar
May 2007
Jersey Shore, New Jersey
Posts: 9,905
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Your kitchen faucet is likely brass, gonna change that too? If you are truly concerned about using brass fittings, you will likely be in for other changes in your everyday environment.

Make an informed decision, that's all.

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Old 09-24-2010, 03:22 AM   #6
Mar 2007
Posts: 48
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Brass is 3% lead. The idea that 3% of the surface area of a brass fitting could affect the taste of your beer (much less your health) is nonsense.

Last week a wasp land in my boil kettle while I was brewing. I didn't worry about that and it don't worry about the tiny bit of brass in my MLT fittings.

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Old 09-24-2010, 04:28 AM   #7
JonW's Avatar
Dec 2009
Huntington Beach ☼
Posts: 2,042
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I have the brass QD's from McMaster and would like to swap them out for SS ones. I don't worry about the lead, but every time I pull my equipment out, I have one or two QD's that have partially turned green - that bothers me. I clean and sanitize all my equipment before putting it away and don't understand why some discolor. SS fittings won't do this. However, my setup has 16 sets of QD's on it and it is currently cost prohibitive to change them to SS, so I have to live with the green brass!

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Old 09-24-2010, 04:40 AM   #8
Nov 2009
Portland,Or, Clackamas, Oregon
Posts: 97
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? is my answer..... it tarnishes and can corrode with acids I don't believe brass is UL approved for brewing is it going to kill you not likely

i spend the few extra dollars and went stainless

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Old 09-24-2010, 05:02 AM   #9
arturo7's Avatar
Apr 2007
Huntington Beach
Posts: 10,056
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take the price difference between brass and stainless

divide that by the total gallons you will brew in the next one/two years

the cost difference is negligible
Hey, knock that shvt off. We're drinkin' here.

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Old 09-24-2010, 05:05 AM   #10
JonW's Avatar
Dec 2009
Huntington Beach ☼
Posts: 2,042
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MoreBeer SS QD's for my build is around $450. Is that negligible?

If you're just starting out and piecing together a system, I agree, get the SS ones as you're probably not needing that many pieces.

I'll swap mine over at some point, but I'll at least wait until they come up on one of the sales.

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