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Old 01-02-2013, 12:33 AM   #1
wyant20
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Default Stainless or brass?

I'm buying a 10 gallon water cooler to make a mash tun. What's a better valve stainless or brass? Brass is about $15 cheaper and was wondering if they both work the same or if ones better.

http://www.amazon.com/Weld-Homebrew-...d_sbs_indust_8

That's the brass valve. Will that work along with a bazooka screen? Also is there anything else I will need?


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Old 01-02-2013, 02:51 AM   #2
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Your LHBS probably sells a product called the kettle valve and a bazooka screen that goes with it. The price is very reasonable. I have two on mash tuns and one on my hlt kettle.

If you want something more high quality/customizable try brewhardware.com


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Old 01-02-2013, 02:54 AM   #3
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I believe that brass contains a small amount of lead. Probably not going to kill you, but why add more risk.

You can find a lot of stainless at bargainfittings.com
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:00 AM   #4
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FYI, I just returned a whole brass system I spent quite some time planning and putting together. This is because I learned that the fittings were made with more Lead than allowable for drinking water systems. I had no idea!
Also after reading about the oxidation of brass and up keep, I have decided to spend the extra coin and get Stainless Steel fittings. They will last longer than brass and no worries about poisoning down the road.
Just my paranoid/cautious opinion.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:12 AM   #5
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Forgot to mention, you can buy "lead free" brass fittings. If you can find them. However, they contain minimal amount of lead in some cases.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:27 AM   #6
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Check out the kits, for cooler conversions (you had linked to a kettle conversion which has a small chance of working in a kettle), on Bargain Fitting's web site. Also, with the round coolers, you'll need something that won't stick out too far. IMO, the Bazooka 'T' screen will work out better. I've installed one into a 10 gallon round cooler before and it works really well. Just use a 1/2" barb nipple on the end of the valve assembly and a short piece of silicone tubing to connect it up. You can also turn the screen ends so that the ends of the screens lay flat on the cooler bottom (instead of being perpendicular).

I would also go with the 3 piece stainless ball valve. You can take it apart to clean without removing it form what it's installed in. You can also call Bargain Fittings up and get advice on what to buy so you don't have to do another return.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:25 PM   #7
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Stainless is no doubt a better product but of course comes at a price. Personally IMHO the threat of lead due to using brass is highly exaggerated and it would be far better to give up alcohol if one is concerned with leading a healthy lifestyle. 3 piece valves that can be disassembled are wonderful, but are much more needed for fermentation when sanitation is a concern, not critical for MT, or perhaps a kettle if the valve gets heat sanitized during the boil.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:56 PM   #8
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I would (and did) spend the extra on stainless for the reasons listed above.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:18 PM   #9
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Unless you happen to live in California which recently passed a 100% no lead deal.....all the brass fixtures in your home contain trace amounts of Lead....most times its up to 6 or 8%....the difference is domestic hot water is usually below 140*F and they don't recommend drinking the hot water side either...but that's more to the mineral fall out in the hot water tank i believe. For our brass castings we spec them out for no more then 5% lead content. Its supplied to us by a major mfg of residential fixtures. We do have an alternate supplier thats spec'd at 7% (just for full disclosure )
Now the question for home brewing would be "Is there a bigger risk of lead leaching at boiling temps?" since you are running the system at 212*F
I have never really looked or seen a good answer to that yet online...
And if it were me...for $15 extra i would just go stainless just for peace of mind
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:44 PM   #10
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IMO, stainless is worry-free. For me, not needing to have any thoughts about anything leeching out at any temp is well worth the extra cost. Besides, you can get 3-piece stainless ball valves (shop around) for under $20 all day long and sometimes even closer to $15 each. Price delta to the brass ones (if you compare the same style) is rather small. I just like to have all the same valves whenever possible. Makes it easier to work on them and such. Hell, I even make sure I have at least one 'spare' in stock at all times (have at least two right now). Never know when a friend will need to 'borrow' one from you.


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