Copper chiller clean?

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Whysomalty

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I’ve brewed a few batches of beer with this coil chiller, and lately noticed these marks on it. I typically soak it in OneStep in the kettle after brewing. Anyone know what this is? Anything to worry about? Should I dump what I’ve already brewed?
 

ancientmariner52

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I'm not a chemist, but I know that copper corrosion products come in a rainbow of colors. As I understand it, the only ones to be afraid of are green or blue.

It looks to me as if very slightly impure (as in tap water) evaporated, leaving something behind that reacted with the copper, causing very slight discoloration. It'll go away the next time you use it.

Copper was the gold standard for brewing kettles, from the discovery of copper until the invention of stainless steel. I wouldn't even clean it, just rinse the dust off before you use it. If it still worries you, try wiping it down with lemon juice.
 

MaxStout

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Yep, looks like water spots. Won't hurt anything. Next time you drop that in hot wort, it will be clean and shiny again.
 
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Whysomalty

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Thanks for your reply, ancientmariner. I noticed them a couple of times now and even post-boil, they remain on the coil. I’ll dispose of it and go with stainless if it’s a concern, but I wanted to see what the ‘community’ thought first.
Thanks again
 
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Whysomalty

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Thanks MaxStout - regarding the spots, even with Starsan they seem to remain. Even post-boil, they remain. I’ve seen other threads suggesting a longer soak in Starsan, so perhaps I’ll try that.
 

Dog House Brew

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I’m still trying to figure out the. Eat way to brighten copper before brewing. I’d love to be able to pump something through my CFC during the mash.
 

MaxStout

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Thanks MaxStout - regarding the spots, even with Starsan they seem to remain. Even post-boil, they remain. I’ve seen other threads suggesting a longer soak in Starsan, so perhaps I’ll try that.
Something probably etched into the copper, in which case pickling in Starsan won't remove it. Still, it's just cosmetic and shouldn't be a problem.
 

triethylborane

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You might try a commercial copper cleaner compound.
Make sure the copper "cleaner" has benzotriazole, this molecule will form a complex with copper ions causing a passivation layer.

Citric acid is another option, though it does not form the passivation layer but is a chelating agent with copper.

I dont bother with either of those two options, I simply immerse my rinsed copper chiller in the wort and rinse it off when chilling is complete.
 

brandonlovesbeer

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Instead of trying to sanitize the wort chiller prior to brewing, just immerse the chiller in the boiling wort for the final 15 mins of brewing to sanitize it. Then just rinse it off when you’re finished with Brew day.

This will not only sanitize the chiller, it will also shine the copper right up.

Fyi. Be careful because there is always a little water trapped inside. After you immerse, it may start spitting out on you. Or worse, into your beer.
 
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MrBJones

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Instead of trying to sanitize the wort chiller prior to brewing, just immerse the chiller in the boiling wort for the final 15 mins of brewing to sanitize it. Then just rinse it off when you’re finished with Bree day.

This will not only sanitize the chiller, it will also shine the copper right up.

Fyi. Be careful because there is always a little water trapped inside. After you immerse, it may start spitting out on you. Or worse, into your beer.
^^^ This

Just rinse before and after. There should rarely - if ever - be any need to do much more than that.

(Another FYI: If the chiller has clamps, check them for tightness before each and every use. Repeated heating and cooling can loosen them...meaning that old/stale/moldy water can leak into your wort)
 

Calder

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Don't worry about it. I've wondered what the stains are also, but never done anything about it. I think it is permanent etching from the acidity of the wort.

I rinse my chiller in clean water after use, and hang it up in the garage to dry. Next time I use it, I just add it to the wort after I take the wort off the boil, which will sanitize it, set up the hoses and go.

I used to add it to the pot at 15 minutes, but that stopped the boil .... not sure to count the time returning to boil or not ..... wasted time anyway. Now I just add it after the boil; it sanitizes it and also takes a little heat away.

It is really minimal maintenance. I made mine over 20 years ago, and still works fine. I gave up brewing for 7 years, but it has probably been used on 200+ batches and is doing fine. I did replace the hoses after my hiatus from brewing.
 
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