Brass Fittings For Mash Tun & Boiler

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As you must brew, so you must drink
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I am finally getting around to putting a tap in my converted keg boiler, and was just wonding how safe was it to use brass fittings?
Also when i bought my burner i did not get a H.P. type so i need to do a test boil first to see how long it will take to boil up 25 litres of water. So if all goes to plan and i can boil the water without using 9Kg's of gas i want to put a tap in my keg and was just wondering how safe it was to use all brass fittings or should i try and find S/S?
And just to make this the question from hell,
If it does not work out with this burner & keg what are the implications (if any) of doing a 15 litre boil with my old brew pot and just topping up with water? At least chilling the wort will be quicker!
Don't worry about using brass fittings, they are fine. If you want to be really pedantic you can soak the pieces in a mix of 2 parts vinegar 1 part hydrogen peroxide. Leave for a few minutes, they will bubble a bit then take out and rinse with water. They take on a clean but soapy appearance but all surface lead will be removed.

Stainless is very dear, so the choice is yours.

What sort of burner is it? If it's a three ring or better you'll have no trouble with a low pressure reg. Don't worry about the 15L boil, your burner should do it fine. Remember after your sparge the temp of the liqour is already around 60-70C anyway so it wont take that long. Hint: Start putting some heat into the liqour in the kettle before your sparge is done, that way it wont take as long to come to the boil.

Cheers. Justin
Does it really make that much diff. doing full volume (23 litre) boils, compared with a 15 litre + top up?
As i am doing big part mash's now (up to 4kg) i dont think it will be a big deal going to All Grainers, just a bit concerned about the extra hassle of making wort chillers & messing around with cut kegs & taps when a simple 15 litre boil + top up could be as good. I'm not sure.
I've never done it myself, it will change your hop utilisation and probably lower your efficiency due to the small sparge but I guess these problems could be worked out.

N.B. A full volume boil will be more than 23L, try more like 28-30L depending on your evapouration rate/length of boil. I aim for a final batch size of 25L just because I can (ie. mash tun capacity, fermenter capacity etc.). No real reason to aim for 23L.
SJW said:
Does it really make that much diff. doing full volume (23 litre) boils, compared with a 15 litre + top up?
I believe it affects your hop utilisation among other things.

Also, starting a boil with 25 litres would leave me with about 17 litres into the fermenter due to boiloff and stuff left in the bottom of the brew pot.

As for using brass - I do in my brewpot and HLT. I did the vinegar and peroxide thing though.
YEP! The 25 litre thing was a final amount, i guess, but you know what i ment. Anyway i took a pic of my new burner. I will do a test boil tomorrow night and if all goes swell i will go and get the BRASS fittings and start to make a wort type imersion chiller.
I have also had quite a few Southwark Stouts tonight under the advisment of one of you bad boys, and it is quite a neat drop. Also had a Southwark Lager too :eek:
Anyway this is my burner :D


I saw that exact model burner in the camping store 50 metres down the road from The Country Brewer in Thornleigh, Sydney yesterday.
I think they had $45 on it.
Let me know how it goes when you fire it up.

OK Doc, the test boil will be on tonight but i can say i paid $30 from the Newcastle HBS. But it does pay to be a regular customer as i am sure i get a little discount here & there.
I did do a test boil when i first got it with 15 litres in my boil pot and it got 15 litres of 50 deg C water boiling in 15 min's. (from memory)
But i will try the keg tonight.
As I have voted for stainless, I had better tell the tale, as I really use a mixture of brass and stainless.
I have a Stainless Mash Tun and Boiler. I got a mate to weld a stainless 1/2" socket into these, and i use stainless ball valves, but I still use Brass nipples at this stage. I will convert to stainless when I get around to tracking down the stuff at the right price - ie free. My HLT is an old copper urn, which has a chrome plating on the outside, so it looks like the rest of the gear. i would prefer that it looked like copper, if anyone has any ideas how to strip the chrome off, please let me know.

dreamboat said:
if anyone has any ideas how to strip the chrome off, please let me know.
Hydrochloric (muriatic) acid will readily strip the chrome
OK DOC, The test boil is finished and the results were as follows:
30 litres of water @ 60 deg C took about 45mins to get boiling. Not that great i thought but it was a very cold night and i guess 30 litres is a bit more than normal.
Maybe if i start the heat as soon as i start sparging that would save a bit of time or just boil 20 litres and top up the rest <_< i dont know.
But does this time sound about right to all u non H.P. Burner guys?

Also it took a bit of guess work to work out what flame was going to be the hottest

This is the keg/boil pot in action. This photo also reminds me i need to make some handles :unsure:

Thanks for the info SJW.
Sounds like about the same as mine except with a nice little stand.
I'm brewing tonight and it is about 10 deg C outside and it took about 30 mins to get to the boil. That was with a lid on the boiler and I started one ring (mine is a three ring burner) when it was about 1/3 through the sparge.

hi sjw
2 points i would is too late though looking at the photo.
lower your kettle to the flame.with this burner i reckon it would be an advantage to have the flame closer to the kettle base.

point 2 but too late is when opening up a keg for a kettle dont hack the top clean off.maybe consider a 12" hole at the top as it lets less heat out and a cover over the top eg pot lid will keep the heat in and hopefully the boil will be achieved quicker at which point the cover can be removed and the flame adjusted to achieve a nice rolling boil.

hope this helps

big d
Gee, looks like you robbed yourself of some valuable capacity in your boiler, or was it only a 30L keg to begin with?

Looking at the level of that liquid and guessing it's around 27-28L means your going to be a pretty nervous lad when the wort is coming to the boil. I would have cut just the top of the keg out to make use of the full capacity and ability to put a lid on.

Yeah, looks like there is not a lot of action from your burner. You could try a hp reg, which may work or you could buy a three ring cast iron burner for about the same price or less. My boiler would take a fair bit less than 45mins from 60C. I just use a three ring with lp reg.

Cheers, Justin
OK Boys, the 2kg/hr std. regulator i was using in the above test boil just did not cut it. So my local HBS Bloke put me on to a local gas supply mob who will sell me a adjustable regulator form 2kg/hr to 10kg/hr with a 1.5m hose for $38.00. And i was told that lots of craft/home brewers have been buying these things up, and they really get a 50l keg jump'in. So i will pick one up today and if anyone else wants one i will post a photo and forward on the details

Sounds like you've just been through the same process as me, except I returned the original burner and bought a 3 ring. Even with the original reg my 3 ring does the job now just fine, but I've got an adjustable reg on order through Coast Camping to speed it up even further. They are taking their time supplying me though. Can you give me the name and details of this other mob as a back up? Planning to do my second AG this weekend SWMBO permitting... :rolleyes:


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