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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * Archive through May 06, 2004 * Safe metals < Previous Next >

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Keeping the mash temp upJOHN K. LEE04-23-04  05:44 pm
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Ben Schy (12.220.135.52)
Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 05:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Generally speaking, what metals are safe for hot and cold side plumbing within an AG system? I know copper and stainless are sure-fire winners, but what about others? Brass? Aluminum? Etc.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.129.137)
Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 05:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ben, read the appropriate chapter (Appendix B) on the subject in John Palmer's How to Brew. Palmer is a metallurgist.
 

Bill R (198.81.26.14)
Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 03:59 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Short answer, SS best, brass good. Copper good, Aluminum NO! Plain steel NO! (rusts) Beer wort is to acidic for Aluminum, even using Aluminum say for a HLT & plumbing will soon corrode & look nasty. Thats why Aluminum pots are cheap, while SS is more expensive. Pay now or pay later.
 

Streb (24.0.181.83)
Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 04:11 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Actually, Bill R has stated one side of the Aluminum argument. However, Aluminum does not corrode, it oxidizes. This is not a bad thing as long as you treat it properly and don't scrub the oxidation off. If taken care of, the Aluminum pot will last as long as you need it to. It doesn't look as nice as SS, requires more care when cleaning, but hey, it's a lot cheaper and does the job. It also transfers heat much better than SS.

If Aluminum was a horrible cooking vessel then restaraunts wouldn't use them.
 

Denny Conn (140.211.82.4)
Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 04:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, I gotta disagree with your assessment of AL, based on my own usage.
 

Hedgie Bartol (65.1.175.236)
Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 06:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You know, this is a question I have always had! I bought a propane burner that came with the whole turkey frying equipment. It of course came with an aluminum pot. I thought there may be something to using or not using aluminum, but never thought to ask.

What is the real deal here?

Hedgehog
 

Denny Conn (140.211.82.4)
Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2004 - 06:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There is a persistent "old wive's tale" about AL being unsuitable for brewing due to the low pH of the wort leeching AL into your brew. And of course, the Alzheimer's myth. Both of thise have been disproven to the satisfaction of myself and many others, although there are some peole who disagree. Palmer (a metallurgisT) seems to think AL is fine. There was a test done a few years back (by BT, I belive) that tested AL levels in water and wort, before and after the boil, for worts done in both SS and AL pots. None of them showed higher levels of AL in an AL boiled wort than in a SS boiled wort...in fact, in one case, the SS boiled wort had higher levels of AL, although that was attributed to residual AL in the water. In short, study the evidence and draw your own conclusions.
 

Brewzz (65.88.98.1)
Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 12:00 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I was told years ago to boil epsom salts and water
in your AL pot first.It creates a layer of oxidation that supposedly helps somehow....who knows.I did it when I first started brewing before I got my first enamled steel pot.As Denny said,draw your own conclusions.

Brewzz
 

Bill R (198.81.26.14)
Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 05:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey guys, I am not a metalurgist, but I once had a sight gage with an aluminum body in my HLT. It lasted about 2 years. I since changed to one made of brass, & Its on its 13th year!

My only other main experience with aluminum came from 40 years of fixing aircaft fuselages & wing structures built of aluminum. Even the best alloys, 2024T3, 6061T6, 7075, will succom to water, acids & salts. Call it corrision or oxydation or whatever, Aluminum degrades, pits, flakes off, whereas SS for the most part survives harsh inviroments.

The US Coast Guard runs all their overseawater patrol aircraft through a wash facility after over water missions, reason, protect the Aluminum that these airplanes are made of. Consider why pump manufactureres have recomendations for the pH of solutions to be used, you will find no aluminum pumps recomended for low pH applications So If Aluminum is not recomended for pumps & storage, then how to you get to its ok for the kettle? Whatever you beleive in, why construct a fine brewing machine that you want to last for many years & use Aluminum? & why does everyone else use SS. Must be a reason.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.129.137)
Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 11:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, I know of no one who argues that aluminum is superior to stainless for brewing applications. Sometimes it's merely a case of perfect being the enemy of good enough. My brewing system is primarily stainless (with some copper, glass and plastic). However, the large thick aluminum pot I use for boiling decoctions is older than I am (56) and shows no signs of wearing out.
 

Bill R (198.81.26.14)
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 01:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I guess as long as as you can get to the surface to clean it & keep it up then it would be Okay? I have read many views on using aluminum, If You testify its good for a boiling vessle then maybe I have past up some great deals on Aluminum vessels, But I always worry can they take the heat, The ones I have came across are pretty thin & make me wonder. I use converted Sanke kegs, They are rugged, heavy, & can be picked up for the cost of their weight at metal recycling yards. Do you know of any detrimental effects to taste? Not to say Im going to convert to aluminum tommorrow, just to satisfy my courious mind.

Bill R
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.129.137)
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 01:11 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Converted stainless kegs make excellent brewing vessels. My HERMS is based on three of them. I'm merely saying that a good thick aluminum pot will last a long time as well.

By the way, both stainless and aluminum are neutral in terms of their effect on flavor.
 

Denny Conn (140.211.82.4)
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 05:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"If You testify its good for a boiling vessle then maybe I have past up some great deals on Aluminum vessels"...well, all I can tell is that the first few ribbons I won were for beers boiled in an AL pot. That's proof enough for me!
 

Ken Anderson (24.55.255.75)
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 06:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

And just as importantly, Denny is able to REMEMBER those first few ribbons.
 

Denny Conn (140.211.82.4)
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 06:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, I've got 'em on a wall to remind me...;)
 

Ken Anderson (24.55.255.75)
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 07:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I was trying to debunk that aluminum/Alzheimers myth. Now you've got me wondering!
 

Denny Conn (140.211.82.4)
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 07:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ah, well, it's old age, not the AL!