HELP -- Wrong metal used to weigh down my dry hop bag in fermenter!

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agentEhrman

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Okay, so while this isn't the first time I have been scared that I ruined a beer, this is something that I HAVE to ask about.

I got some whole hops due to availability instead of my normal pellet purchase. I decided to use a hop bag for both the boil and dry hopping. I found a bunch of screws that were nice and shiny and clean, I thought they were stainless steel. I used these shiny screws (after sanitizing them, of course) to weigh the dry hop bag down. After a shorter than normal dry hop of 6 days, I pulled the bag out to find the screws had darkened a bit. I instantly worried about my beer being ruined from metal contamination. I tasted it and thought I could taste a hint of metal, so I called upon a friend to give it a taste and he thought that he could MAYBE taste metal as well. I forced carbed it and I still think I can taste metal in the finish. It's very slight, but I'm more worried about metal toxicity and health than the taste at this point.

Should I dump it? Can anyone with more expertise in the area of metals and beer give me their opinion? 9oz of simcoe down the drain sounds almost as terrible as metal poisoning, so I'm hoping to get an education before I do anything...

Thanks in advance for anyone who will take the time to give me an opinion here. :confused::confused::confused:
 

Golddiggie

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They were probably chrome plated screws. IMO, a little bit of chromium won't kill you. If you can drink the beer, and you don't feel wrong afterwards, then continue on.

I would hold off on dumping unless the flavor increases, or a biochemist comes along and says that it's harmful to drink it.
 

Doc_Trax

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I hope they weren't galvanized screws. The zinc would come off the screws and go into solution.
For a quick test, you could weigh all the screws that you removed from the beer, dry of course, then compare that weight to the same number of screws that weren't in the beer to see if there is much of a difference.
 

causeimthesquid

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My first thought was galvanized screws.

Galvanization is a zinc oxide coating. I don't know if it is harmful when dissolved into a liquid solution. Zinc does help yeast health, so it might even be good. However, I do know welders have to be careful for metal fume fever when dealing with that stuff around 700F but it might just be the temp/vaporization that makes that an issue.

Perhaps someone with more knowledge in galvanization can weigh in.
 

temple240

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Shiny screws that aren't stainless are likely zinc plated not galvanized. They both are zinc but galvanized is dipped and zinc plating is electroplated. Zinc plating uses less zinc than galvanizing.

Welding on top of a zinc surface does produce very harmful fumes but is not the same as the situation here.
 
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agentEhrman

agentEhrman

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After looking at some images, they could have been either galvanized or chrome. But chrome has more online images matching the screws I used than galvanized, so I'm leaning that way. Both look to be toxic, it really sucks but I'm getting a little worried about drinking this and giving it to friends to drink. Hopefully someone will comment a more definite answer.

The taste could definately be in my head, I was wondering that already since I noticed the issue before having my first taste..
 

Mojzis

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First find out what kind of screws. They could have been played as said before, or galvanized which I believe is tin or zinc.

Me, I would drink anyway. A little metal in your system once won't be too bad. IMO anyway!

Edit: too late. Also no definite answer. My bad!
 

Golddiggie

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I used a 1" chrome ball bearing to weigh down a bag of hops before. Drank the 3 gallon keg of it without knowing anything was up. Thought the balls were stainless steel until I checked after removing the discolored ball. While I won't do it again, I probably had more metal in there than you did. :D
 

BigRob

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Force carbing sometimes has a metallic twang at first, if you still experience this metallic taste after the beer has been carbing for 3 weeks then you know not to use these screws again.
 

seabass07

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If it's zinc, how is it worse than adding a zinc supplement for the yeast?
 

Golddiggie

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If it's zinc, how is it worse than adding a zinc supplement for the yeast?
It's probably not. Plus, with only 6 days of soak time, the chances of all that much being removed is minimal. I had the chrome ball in my keg for over a month. :eek: :D

No lasting side effects... twitch twitch twitch
 

Doc_Trax

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I myself would still drink the beer, a little zinc won't hurt you. Its in your vitamins as well.
 

watersr

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Just listened to an old episode of Brew Strong with jamil and John Palmer about this very topic. While zinc is not a good metal to use in brewing, short contact time will not produce enough zinc in solution to cause a problem. The toxic dose is quite high and yeast have quite an affinity for zinc and will usually absorb much more than your short contact would have released. The symptoms of heavy metal toxicity are flu like symptoms with no fever and sever stomach upset and vomiting. Unless you and your friend are puking I wouldn't sweat it. If your still not sure just rush that batch over to me and I will conduct some in depth testing for you. 😉
 

jbaysurfer

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I'm very very particular what I serve to other people. I wouldn't blame you a bit if you wanted to toss a product that has potential metal leaching in it. Everyone here is probably right, that it's no big deal...but I want you to know that at least one other interwebz brewer would be very concerned about relying on that advice.
 
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agentEhrman

agentEhrman

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The screws i used may actually be better described as small and medium sized bolts. They are from a TV mounting kit, they are the ones that go into the back of the TV. Since I used quite a few small ones, there's probably more contact area and more leaching. Can anyone that knows metal speak to what kind of metal (or coating/plating) they use on those screws? I actually have used just about every mounting bracket for TVs on the market, and they definately all use the same looking screws.

After a few more tastes, it does definately taste like metal on the finish. I did force carb it by shaking it with the pressure set to about 25psi, then dropped it to 12psi and left it over night last night. I will wait to see if the flavor starts dropping out over time I guess.

Anyone else
 

Mojzis

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Regular non weather resistant screws and bolts are usually made out of steel.
 

BigRob

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Especially with the force and rock method I've noticed a metallic tang in my beers, even with 30PSI for 36hrs I notice it. I've been doing my beers at 12psi over 2-3 weeks for the last 6 months, and I've not noticed it.
 

FuzzeWuzze

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In the future OP, goto a Dollar store and buy a bag of their glass decorative rock things that go into planters/vases...or just get some glass marbles.
 

jbaysurfer

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Ask yourself this:

Have I tasted this metallic flavor before when force carbing beer?
and given that answer...
Is it more likely force carbing giving me that metallic taste...or is it more likely the suspect metal that used in my dry hop bag?
 

watersr

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Since those are from a tv mounting kit there is very little chance they are zinc coated. More likely plain steel or cheap stainless, both of which could discolor in acidic wort but would not evolve any harmful products. I wouldn't worry too much. Give it some time and see what it tastes like. Worse case you've got a funny tasting beer but not much likelyhood that its dangerous.
 
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