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Old 10-15-2008, 02:50 AM   #21
Jul 2008
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Copper is traditional not only in brewing, but in cheese-making. Traditional Mountain cheese including Gruyere, Emmentaler (aka Swiss cheese) and Parmesan were all traditionally made in large copper pots, and still are to this day in the Alpine parts of France, Italy, and Switzerland.

Hardcore traditionalists insist that copper creates a unique flavor that just cannot be replicated with stainless steel equipment. It is believed that a chemical reaction which takes place between the copper and the milk helps some of the ripening bacteria and creates certain flavors. I have also heard that copper oxides are a yeast nutrient in beer making.

All copper should be cleaned, however. Excessive copper is definitely poisonous, but in trace quantities is an essential mineral.

I also thought I'd respond to the comment that "if its on sale it must be safe!"

Originally Posted by yashicamat View Post
Does anyone have anything to add to Nerro's comments? I thought copper immersion chillers were sold by homebrew shops . . . . such things would surely need to be safe in order be on sale?
I couldn't disagree more strongly. There are scores of things onsale, for internal ingestion, which are clearly unsafe. To name a few: Aluminum pans for cooking, Beer in tin cans, MSG in food products, methanol in soft-drinks, etc...

There are also somethings on sale which are "not suggested for internal ingestion" by the FDA, but which will probably end up getting used for that purpose anyways and are probably harmless if not outright healthy in small quantities. For example, Sassafras root, Comfrey Leaf, Yarrow leaf, Wormwood, etc...

Did you know that Sage has a higher Thujone concentration than Wormwood? (Thujone is the neurotoxin which has been demonized as the culprit for absinthe's intoxicating ability)

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Old 10-15-2008, 01:05 PM   #22
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Dec 2005
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I never knew they made cheese in copper. Interesting....

I do have to take umbrage with your unsafe examples though. Aluminum pans are perfectly safe for cooking. If you're referring to the supposed link to Alzheimers that's been debunked many times. Tin cans are unsafe, that's why they use stainless steel and plastic lined aluminum cans nowadays. I haven't been able to find a neutral cite that talks about aspartame (additive in diet soft drinks) degrading into methanol, so I dunno about that.

Your point isn't lost on me though, there are many things that are unsafe yet sold as food safe(such as transfats, pesticides on produce, E. Coli scares) I happen to think those are poor examples.
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Old 10-15-2008, 05:23 PM   #23
May 2008
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Uh guys? Considering most household plumbing is copper tubing I think we're all fine.

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Old 10-15-2008, 05:54 PM   #24
Jan 2008
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For one thing household copper doesn't oxidise on the inside much and as far as it does it generally doesn't react because tap water is normally barely acidic whereas a wort cooler oxidises on the side that gets immersed and gets stripped of its oxidised copper every time you use it because wort ís acidic.

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Old 10-16-2008, 02:04 PM   #25
Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by Nerro View Post
For one thing household copper doesn't oxidise on the inside much and as far as it does it generally doesn't react because tap water is normally barely acidic whereas a wort cooler oxidises on the side that gets immersed and gets stripped of its oxidised copper every time you use it because wort ís acidic.
Copper piping doesn't oxidize on the inside because the water keeps free oxygen out. When the wort cleans off the oxides on your chiller it leaves a nice clean surface for oxygen to attack, but if you use it on a regular basis, new oxidation will be minimal.
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Old 10-16-2008, 02:20 PM   #26
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The Brewing - Brew Strong: Brew Strong: 09-29-08 Metals that Affect Your Beer

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Old 10-16-2008, 03:10 PM   #27
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Clean your chiller and you'll be fine. You really don't want the "dirt" from the chiller in your beer. It might provide off flavors and that would be about the worst thing you'll get from it.

The yeast will take up most of the copper oxide that gets in the wort and use that as yeast nutrient and take it out of solution and into the trub.

As to the previous "WORLD IS ENDING" comments, it's been found that one of the main causes of death is living.
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:04 PM   #28
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I haven't bothered to look it up again, but I was surprised to hear a long time back that although Sassasrass(sp) has been used for a long time in teas and such, too much of it is supposed to be pretty bad for you, and I don't know how much is too much, but I remember thinking that I can't believe people made tea and drank it very often without getting sick.

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Old 10-16-2008, 05:12 PM   #29
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Sassafras is a tree that people use the root of to make tea as mentioned. It has carcinogens in it, so I think people used it for a long time and some got cancer, some didn't. It is not extremely dangerous as far as I know, just not something good to have a cup of every day. It was used in root-beer as well.
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:12 PM   #30
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