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Copper Kettles

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elmondo

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Hi all,Does anyone have experience with brewing using copper kettles?It seems to me that I can almost taste my stainless steel kettle in my finished beer. Would copper impart a different taste?
 

roller997

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If you think you can taste your stainless in your beer, I would suggest you are likely to be cleaning it with the wrong chemicals or treating it incorrectly in some other way.
To my knowledge most breweries run stainless steel kettles and fermenters as it can be cleaned with harsh chemicals which can't be done as aggressively with copper.

For example if you used bleach, that is the worst you can do for stainless as it pits the stainless and you could get to a stage where it corrodes.
Caustic soda is fine, as is PBW and other brewery cleaners.

Cheers

Roller
 

keifer33

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Unless you've scratched your pot cleaning it and it has lost it's oxidising then it shouldn't be the stainless. A metallic taste can also be from using Malts that haven't been stored well. It's something to do with hydrolysis if I remember rightly.
 

elmondo

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If you think you can taste your stainless in your beer, I would suggest you are likely to be cleaning it with the wrong chemicals or treating it incorrectly in some other way.
To my knowledge most breweries run stainless steel kettles and fermenters as it can be cleaned with harsh chemicals which can't be done as aggressively with copper.

For example if you used bleach, that is the worst you can do for stainless as it pits the stainless and you could get to a stage where it corrodes.
Caustic soda is fine, as is PBW and other brewery cleaners.

Cheers

Roller
Thanks for reply.I just use water and brewers detergent to clean kettle.Perhaps there is a different flavor I can taste. Maybe the malt is somewhat caramelised or crystallized in the steel. I read that copper is a better heat conductor so possibly less likely to burn or caramelise malts.Any thoughts?
 

QldKev

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Thanks for reply.I just use water and brewers detergent to clean kettle.Perhaps there is a different flavor I can taste. Maybe the malt is somewhat caramelised or crystallized in the steel. I read that copper is a better heat conductor so possibly less likely to burn or caramelise malts.Any thoughts?
Copper is a way better conductor, but unless your running a serious heat source stainless is no problem. Under my Ali pot I've ran 2 x 150,000 btu burners and never burned wort to the bottom of the pot.

QldKev
 

Wolfy

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Does the pack say what "brewers detergent" actually is?

I'd suggest it's highly unlikely that it's the stainless steel causing the almost-metalic-taste in your beer - it could well be caused by other equipment or cleaning/sanitation products used in other parts of your brewing process.

And as QldKev suggested, it's highly unlikely that you are burning the beer during the boil (you might get caramelisation if you boil for long periods), and since copper is more efficient to transfer heat, it may be that the risk of burning is worse because you'd get more localized hot-spots.

I presume buying a copper boiler would not be cheap, so - as a test - you could make a quick/cheap/easy 'bucket of death' by putting an electric element into a plastic bucket/fermentor and doing the boil in that to see if the metal taste remains.
 

roller997

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Another option is to ensure that your stainless kettle is all fine and then perform a brew with fresh malt.
To re-juvinate your kettle you could make up a weak caustic soda solution (be sure to read all the safety instructions as it has to be treated with care) to fill your stainless vessel with and leave it there for a few hours. It is a powerful degreaser which permits the stainless to passivate once you have emptied it and cleaned it out with water as the air reacts with the cleaned stainless surface.

I would check out John Palmer's site which shows a chapter from an older book on caring for stainless.
http://www.howtobrew.com/appendices/appendixB.html

Here is a bit of information on passivating stainless and what can treatment can cause issues. About 3 years ago I had issues where my fermenter had a nasty scratch on the inside and it started rusting. I used a stainless cleaner from Myers which had oxalic acid as its main active ingredient and polished the scratch out. I have not had any more recurrences of rust since treating it a few years ago and the fix was good enough along with my santizing procedures to stop any infections.
http://www.howtobrew.com/appendices/appendixB-1.html
 

Maheel

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one "issue" with copper is that if you dont brew for a while oxides build up

when you boil wort it will strip the oxides off into the brew (like when you put a copper immersion coil in)

i have got no idea if it effects a brew but it's another factor
 

punkin

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one "issue" with copper is that if you dont brew for a while oxides build up

when you boil wort it will strip the oxides off into the brew (like when you put a copper immersion coil in)

i have got no idea if it effects a brew but it's another factor
Good on you for posting the first response that addresses the question :icon_cheers:
 

Ducatiboy stu

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It would prob pay to pre boil a week vinegar solution it the kettle first before brewing to strip the oxide off and clean the surface
 

woodwormm

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a mate of mine uses a copper boiler (old school washing tub from Grandpa's shed)

another experienced brewer actually said to him at a tasting "you brewed this in copper yeah?"... apparantly some ppl can recognise the copper, I can't remember the exact details of it and I don't think it was a taste thing, more something to do with how the co2 bubbles formed in the liquid... but i could be tripping too. often hear these stories after a couple :p
 

sponge

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a mate of mine uses a copper boiler (old school washing tub from Grandpa's shed)

another experienced brewer actually said to him at a tasting "you brewed this in copper yeah?"... apparantly some ppl can recognise the copper, I can't remember the exact details of it and I don't think it was a taste thing, more something to do with how the co2 bubbles formed in the liquid... but i could be tripping too. often hear these stories after a couple :p
Tabs probably don't help


:D
 

wombil

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I use a copper boiler and everything comes out ok for me.
Maheel is quite right in His post but I don't notice any difference.
All piping in the house must be copper and it does leach into the water so you ger it anyway.
It is supposed to prevent arthritis,(copper rings,bangles etc. Maybe old wives tale but keep hoping.)
It won't kill ya,so why not use it if you have it.
 

CONNOR BREWARE

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Copper is supposed to help with yeast health, or so I was taught on the ecu sort course when Hugh was discussing tuns. Apparently some old breweries that have converted to SS leave a piece of copper dangling in the boil to still leech some copper.

We didn't get to bogged down on the conversation so I've just done a quick google and found this Copper effect on wort

Enjoy
 

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