I am totally new to AG and plan to brew my first batch in a week. I equipped my 60 qt. cooler with a ball valve and stainless braided circle. Home Depot didn’t really have much for stainless and so my pipe fittings are brass. John Palmer mentions a concern for lead in brass and am curious if I should just keep it or if I should rebuild with stainless fittings? …this will be a costly mistake if that is the case. Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.
What type of brass? Chrome plated, plain brass?
Here is some info on removing surface lead from brass fittings.
[quote=“John Palmer”]Cleaning Brass
Some brewers use brass fittings in conjunction with their wort chillers or other brewing equipment and are concerned about the lead that is present in brass alloys. A solution of two parts white vinegar to one part hydrogen peroxide (common 3% solution) will remove tarnish and surface lead from brass parts when they are soaked for 5 minutes or less at room temperature. The brass will turn a buttery yellow color as it is cleaned. If the solution starts to turn green and the brass darkens, then the parts have been soaking too long and the copper in the brass is beginning to dissolve, exposing more lead. The solution has become contaminated and the part should be re-cleaned in a fresh solution.
I wouldn’t bother replacing them, you can do the vinegar and peroxide thing if you want. I just boiled mine in water mainly to get the oil off, after a couple batches they have a patina built up where the wort comes in contact with them. To me the lead on brass thing is way overblown. The big concern with lead is with small children, so don’t let any kids drink your first couple batches out of your new MT.
I remember reading the discussions of this in the HBD about 10 yrs ago. I recall that the main worry was that the lead was not in the brass but in the machining oil. Since the surface area of the the part that contacts the wort was so small that after soaking in an organic acid for 15 minutes there would be little lead left to get in the wort.
i use brass and copper for some of my stuff. i soaked in weak acid to get a patina. wouldn’t worry too much about it. also, once you get that patina you want to keep it. you probably don’t want to soak your copper/brass items in PBW or oxyclean for any length of time. i usually just rinse with IWC runoff water.