Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Brass compression fittings, ok to use in the boil?
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:33 PM   #1
wbyrd01
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Default Brass compression fittings, ok to use in the boil?

I initially posted this in the DIY forum this morning but no one has even looked at it so I thought maybe I should move it over here.


I built an immersion chiller using 1/2" copper tubing but wasn't able to find a tubing bender for 1/2" (other than the crappy spring one that just smashed the tubing). So I decided to use some 3/8" tubing and brass compression 1/2" to 3/8" reducers so I could get the bends I needed. My question is, is it safe to use brass in the boil? I searched and couldn't find anything that specifically said brass was being used in the boil, just want to be safe.

Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:39 PM   #2
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IMHO gleaned from past experience in different varied applications, compression fittings are not a great choice for critical applications as the compression nuts can crack and fail if overly tightened. The brass itself is not so much of a problem.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:52 PM   #3
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i have some compression nuts in my keggle, no problems in the many many boils i've had in them.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:57 PM   #4
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Yup, like I said, they can crack when overtightened. They may not ever fail, it just is a potential failure point. Be aware of it is all.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:24 PM   #5
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Well they're already leaking, I just figured I didn't tighten them enough. I've used them on my misting system in the back yard without issue but if something leaks out there it's no big deal, if it leaks in my beer I'd be a little upset! Maybe I'll just return all the compression fittings and learn how to sweat fittings on to the copper, then I wouldn't have to use the 3/8" tubing.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:49 PM   #6
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If you can use a propane torch you can sweat a copper joint. Just make sure you have a lead-free solder and use plumber's flux.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:37 PM   #7
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I. Use flare fittings for wort chillers. You will need a flare tool. Home Depot sells the fittings, flar tool, and a lever tubing. Bender. If course by the time that you buy all that you could have just bought a pre add wort chiller.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krackin View Post
IMHO gleaned from past experience in different varied applications, compression fittings are not a great choice for critical applications as the compression nuts can crack and fail if overly tightened. The brass itself is not so much of a problem.
Compression fittings (mostly Swagelok) are used in pretty much every R+D lab, I use them for hydrogen electrolyzers and fuel cells on a daily basis. They work great and are incredibly quick and easy to use, and very reliable as long as you know how to use them. Yes they can fail if overtightened, but most things in this world don't work if they're used improperly. They're good to very high pressure (1000 psi for the lower end I think), and much quicker and easier to work with than alternatives (say, NPT).
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:47 PM   #9
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Brass is ok in a boil, but the surface may release trace amounts of lead. If this concerns you, it can be "cleaned"

From Palmer,

"Some brewers use brass fittings in conjunction with their wort chillers or other brewing equipment and are concerned about the lead that is present in brass alloys. A solution of two parts white vinegar to one part hydrogen peroxide (common 3% solution) will remove tarnish and surface lead from brass parts when they are soaked for 5 minutes or less at room temperature. The brass will turn a buttery yellow color as it is cleaned. If the solution starts to turn green and the brass darkens, then the parts have been soaking too long and the copper in the brass is beginning to dissolve, exposing more lead. The solution has become contaminated and the part should be re-cleaned in a fresh solution."
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:48 PM   #10
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All of this would be so much easier if I could just find a 1/2" tubing bender!
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