How hot - Plastic Buckets

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Nickeldeposit

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How much (liquid temp) heat can our plastic buckets take? I'm planning my first all-grain batch (lacking all the nice equipment) and will need to cycle the hot wort through my bottling bucket when I rinse my grain.
 
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Nickeldeposit

Nickeldeposit

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Anyone care to give me a run down of how you do it, as to give me some confidence/ hope? PM me if you want, thanks.
 

brewdogskip

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I mash out/ batch sparge directly into an old ale pale to get around 6 gallons of wort. Then I use a spigot on the bottom of the bucket to transfer the wort to the kettle. Boil as usual.

I'm not sure what the buckets are rated to, but they have not let me down w/ 20 plus brews with my cheap and easy method. I wish I had the cash for another kettle and burner so I could avoid the transfer and start boiling directly from sparging...
 

david_42

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People have mashed and sparged in pails for years. You can fill the bottom with drainage holes without anything more than a drill, bit and a little work. You set the drilled pail in a second pail, dump in your mashed grain and sparge.
 

Hammy71

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That's the way I have my ghetto system set up. Buckets and a strong back. For 5 gallon batches I end up using 2 ale pails and for 10 gallon batches 3. Collect the runnings in one and collect the sparge water with the other. Not a problem.
 

boogyman

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When I bought some food grade buckets from usplastics a month or 2 ago, the buckets were rated for something like 180F. It might be worth checking out if you need some more buckets..
 

Revvy

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I often run 170 degree water into a bucket or 150 degree wort into it when transferring from mash tun to boil kettle, I use my bottling bucket since it has accurate calibrated graduated measurements on the side.
 

whatisitgoodfor

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GNBrews

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A pail probably won't retain it's food-safe attributes if kept at high temperature for an extended period (ie. 60-90min boil). While you might make beer, it probably won't taste as good as it could have.
 

whatisitgoodfor

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That was my thought as well, which is why I haven't done it yet.

For the life of me I can't find a reference for it though. Do you happen to have one that will list the breakdown temperature where HDPE stops being food safe?
 

northernlad

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The failure temperature of buckets is 340-350 degrees. Don't ask how I know and don't try it at home.
 

GNBrews

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That was my thought as well, which is why I haven't done it yet.

For the life of me I can't find a reference for it though. Do you happen to have one that will list the breakdown temperature where HDPE stops being food safe?

I really don't. This plastic food packaging guide says HDPE has a maximum continuous service temperature of 160F, but starts to distort at 140F (pg. 9). http://web.aces.uiuc.edu/vista/pdf_pubs/FOODPACK.PDF

A quick & dirty test would be to put a gallon of boiling water into your bucket, let it cool passively, then do a taste test compared to that same water boiled in a normal pot on the stove.
 

whatisitgoodfor

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Ok, just finished the quick and dirty test.

Boiled two gallons of water in a SS pot, and dumped it in my bottling bucket. Then boiled another gallon in the same SS pot and then turned off the heat.

The HDPE bucket is cooling a lot slower than the SS pot did, so that water is still warm, while the pot water is at room temperature (more or less.)

The only difference I can taste is that the water from the pot tastes flat. No aroma or extra taste associated with the water from the bucket.

In an afternoon of research, I've also found out that a lot of people doing no-chill brewing will put their wort in an HDPE bucket while it slowly cools.

The boil-in-bag rice that you can buy comes in patented MDPE+HDPE bags (two layers of plastic, one of each. I couldn't find documentation on which side touches the grains.)
 

kaiser423

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HDPE has a working temperature of 212 degrees F - 220 degrees F under low load conditions and it may be autoclaved at sterilizable temperatures.

I was looking at that the other day wondering if there would be any problems with using a plastic bucket as a brew kettle (with either a couple of heat sticks or some bulkheaded elements.)

You should have lots of clearance when using at mash temperatures.

That's right. I believe that HDPE is rated for containing boiling liquids (aka, you could pour your wort directly into a fermentation bucket, ala no-chill). But I don't think that you're supposed to keep it at those temperatures for extended periods of time (mainly due to distortion, and the risk of adding heat causing hot spots above the failure temp).
 

Dynachrome

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Cool. I think Ill try this. It would take out the chance of contamination I get when I've been pouring my cooled wort into the HDPE fermentors.

Thank you all for putting this thread together.

(I found it out on Google, not internally FWIW)

I really need to go to the next level and get some carboys.



Nice video.
 
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stamandster

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Although the video is interesting it's not conclusive evidence of color leaching. Just because you can't see it with your eyes doesn't mean it's not there ;)

I'd be more worried about other things than the dyes in the red buckets.

Here's some technical documentation from HDPE manufacturers
http://plasticpipe.org/pdf/high_density_polyethylene_pipe_systems.pdf

"High-density polyethylene pipe (HDPE) can
carry potable water, wastewater, slur ries,
chemicals, hazardeous wastes, and compressed
gases. In fact, polyethylene pipe has a long and
distinguished history of ser vice to the gas, oil,
mining and other industries."

Safety information http://www.pprc.org/research/rapidresDocs/PPRC_HDPE_Water_Pipe_Safety_FINAL.pdf

"Those anticipating the use of HDPE, especially in hot water applications should ask vendors for data and
certifications regarding chemical migration, taste and odor, and high-temperature performance."

"All plastics contain some residual of the chemicals required for their manufacture. These may include one
or more catalysts that assist the polymerization reaction, as well as traces of unreacted raw material. A
number of additives are typically compounded along with polymer resin prior to forming the final product.
These may including stabilizers, UV-blockers, plasticizers, antioxidants, colorants, etc., to enhance both
processing and performance characteristics (2). These additives may not be disclosed, so the risk of chemical
migration must be evaluated for any material that comes into contact with potable water, food, or beverages.
Chemical contamination, when it occurs, is usually due to migration of these non-polymer additives."

Another
http://plasticpipe.org/pdf/tn-27-faq-hdpe-water-transmission.pdf

"Q. 20 What is the max-min temperature range across which HDPE pipe for water pressure applications may be used? HDPE pipe’s typical operating temperature range is from -40 F (-40 C) to 140 F (60 C) although some products may be pressure rated for service as high as 180 F (82 C). Since water freezes below 32 F (0 C) the practical lower temperature limit for water is 32 F (0 C). Consult with
the pipe producer for information on applications."

Says melting point is 149f continuous, could just be theirs though
http://www.plasticmoulding.ca/polymers/polyethylene.htm

My buckets from usplastics.com state 190F. I guess it depends on the manfucturer.
 

CrystalShip

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bringing up an old thread here.... does anyone know if the commonly used bottling spigots are also made of HDPE?

I have been dunk sparging BIAB in a bottling bucket with ~170F water, then draining into the kettle.... never really thought about how safe it may or may not be...
 

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Revvy

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I posted some info from a Plastic Engineer on here awhile ago that may be helpful in answering anyone's fears or concerned. He's talking about coolers being used for Mash Tuns, but I think it might fit here as well. Go here.
 
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