Ss V Brass V Copper

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ntboozer

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G'day all,
Went to the local plumbing supplier to buy some copper tube and fittings to make the manifold for the mash tun. Printed one of the many images on this site so they knew what I was trying to achieve and all was going well until I explained what it was for and how it all worked.

'Old mate' was horrified that I was thinking of using copper or brass in something that would have heated liquid through it. Went on for a while.......blah blah.....hygein with food products.....blah.......unsafe.....blah....always use stainless (no they don't sell SS gear)....blah.
I left 5 minutes later without anything.

Is SS the way to go with everything and the only reason copper & brass is used is because of the cost?

Over to the floor.

nt
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Fingerlickin_B

Mo Bitta, Mo Betta!
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This subject has been my personal nightmare for the last week or so :ph34r:

Jump to my profile and skim through the last weeks postsin a couple of different threads.

My profile will be your personal guide into a world of sh*thahaha :lol:

PZ.
 

PeterS

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Whilst I would agree that Stainless Steel material is ideal for our use, I have no problems is using Brass and Copper fittings etc. John Palmer the author of How to Brew is a Metalurgist and he thinks it is safe to do so than it is good enough for me.

On the other hand, it would be nice to use all SS as it looks nice and easy to clean.

Cheers
PeterS....
 

Ross

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I have not seen evidence anywhere that using copper or brass in your manifold will have a detrimental effect on your health. A lot of the old brewery's still use copper for their vessels - If it was a danger, they would have all been shut down...
If it worries you - use stainless or a food grade plastic - but seriously, I don't believe there are any health issues with what you want to do...

Next we'll be throwing our copper chillers away & buy S/S ones :) ....
 

nonicman

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ntboozer said:
Is SS the way to go with everything and the only reason copper & brass is used is because of the cost?

Over to the floor.

nt
:beer:
[post="88565"][/post]​
Whilst I would agree that Stainless Steel material is ideal for our use, I have no problems is using Brass and Copper fittings etc. John Palmer the author of How to Brew is a Metalurgist and he thinks it is safe to do so than it is good enough for me.
I've read (note, have no expertise in this field) that because the brass and copper is used on the hot side, HLT, mash tun, kettle that the contact is not long enough to leech enough metal to be a worry. If the copper or brass were in the fermenter that might be questionable. John Palmer suggests cleaning the brass (works for the copper as well) with a weak vingar/water solution to remove any surface oxide and this is what I do at the start of the brew day for peace of mind.

As PeterS said, SS would be ideal. However nothing wrong with the copper and brass on brewday IMHO.
 

sosman

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From what I have heard/read:

copper: fine except for fermentation. Lots of copper manifolds in mashtuns and I think some commercial breweries boil in copper. Easy to get. Some copper compounds can be toxic, so, for example, if your copper has turned green then you probably should clean it.

brass: has around 1% lead depending on grade. How much of that gets into your body is anyone's guess but less is better. I have and still use brass in my mashtun and kettle however when I replace stuff I try to replace it with stainless steel. Brass is easy to get at your local hardware. John Palmer at howtobrew.com describes how to pickle brass (2 vinegar : 1 hydrogen peroxide) to dissolve surface lead. I have done this to my brass parts. Nickel plated brass comes in different grades and is not inert to all cleaning solutions.

stainless steel: still be corroded with certain cleaning solutions (eg bleach) if left in contact for long enough. Almost universally used in the food and beverage industry. Costs a little more (lots more if you don't shop around) and typically not found at your local bunnings. Stainless steel indicated for food applications has no lead (http://www.hghouston.com/ss_comp.html).

My personal philosphy is, if I can get the right stainless steel parts, I am willing to pay a little more. For example, my CPF started out with nickel plated brass ball valves. I found it got corroded easily due to constant moisture and acidic cleaning solutions. I have since moved to stainless.
 

ntboozer

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Thanks all for the info.

I'll head back to the plumbing outlet in the next few days. If they don't want my money I'll go elsewhere.

Having said that I may be able to get my hands on some 1/2" SS tube (make a call tomorrow). I'd only have to buy the butt weld fittings and call in a favour of a mate who has access to a TIG. Any down side of having a manifold that can't be pulled apart (cleaning etc)?

Thanks again
nt
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ntboozer

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OK.
I can get hold of a enough 1/2" SS tube and butt weld fittings at the right price to make my manifold.
Are there any dramas / problems (cleaning etc) with having a manifold that is fully welded.
nt
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big d

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you could always try weld less style set up which allows you the oppurtunity to strip down and clean the bits same as a 3-piece ball valve.
as for the set up you mention i can see no problems provided you can get your hand around it for the occasional scour and clean thingy.

cheers
big d
 

ntboozer

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Thanks big d.
I was thinking more along the lines of having to clean the inside of the manifold tube (with high pressure water or something) more than anything else. If all the cleaning that has to be done is on the outside then I guess I could remove the whole manifold from the esky every 1/2 dozen brews or so for a real good once over clean. I have no plans on sealing manifold / esky with silicone. After each brew maybe water forced back through the manifold via the outlet (which would then become the inlet :D ) would do the trick?
If all this is ok to do I think I'll stick to the plan of butt weld fittings as these are a lot cheaper (and less bulky) than other style fittings.
Thanks again to all those that responded.
Each day (and each new shiny toy) is a step closer to my first AG :beerbang:
nt
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Uncle Fester

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Copper should be fine. If it wasn't then all hot water services, and household plumbing would have to be stainless steel, and copper based cookware would be a thing of the past.

Just be very careful to use a lead free solder to join pipes etc... If you dont want to use silver solder because of the greater heat that is needed to get it to flow, then if your plumber is any good, he should have several lead free, low temperature solders available.

Either way, low temp or silver solder can be used with a standard butane torch.


Also, ensure that you clean all flux away after soldering.


The guys whom have made stills (in countries where it is legal to do so) make the reflux chambers out of copper. No problems there.

M
 

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