copper fermenter?

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Massassi
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copper fermenter?

Post by Massassi » Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:46 am

what do you amazing people think about a copper fermenter?

a friend of mine is a plumber and he was telling me how often he removes old hot water tanks. one style of hot water tank that he sees on occasion has a copper tank that the water is heated in. of course my mind immediately went to brewing and stilling. these things are generally pretty massive though. we're talking 50-80gal. I’m going to assume they are talking US gal and round that out to approx. 200-320L. of course this is way more than i would be manageable if it were to be converted to a still, so the next step is looking at vessels. again - it seems like far too large to be using for a kettle. at least on its own.

i was thinking that if one cut a HWT in half, you could have two pretty skookum fermentation vessels. it wouldn't take much to build a lid and they already have fittings for pipes at both ends. you'd just have to add valves.

other than stands or mounting the only big problem I see is copper corrosion. wort/mash is generally fairly low in acidity - but do any of you know if the acidity in a wort/mash is an oxidizing acid? it seems that those are the ones that really do in copper. Since the yeast has already used up most of the oxygen in the batch I would suspect that it would be safe.

When I research this I find a lot of conflicting arguments both here and on homebrew forums. I guess my questions to you are:
1. Have you had copper involved in your fermentation that caused you concern in the past?
2. have you used a copper fermenter, and if so did you have a positive experience with it
3. considering the surface area, and the volumes we are talking about - do you think there is any way this would start reaching the dangerous concentrations required to cause health concerns?
4. would distillation not be the preferred method of removing Cu from H2O? and if this is the case, would not all dangerous levels of said Cu (*IF* the exist) be removed during the distillation process?

when i research this i find a lot of conflicting arguments both here and on homebrew forums. i guess my question to you is:
1. Have you had copper involved in your fermentation that caused you concern in the past?
2. have you used a copper fermenter, and if so did you have a positive experience with it
3. considering the surface area, and the volumes we are talking about - do you think there is any way this would start reaching the dangerous concentrations required to cause health concerns?
4. would distillation not be the preffered method of removing Cu from H2O? and if this is the case, would not all dangerous levels of said Cu (*IF* the exist) be removed durring the distilation process?

Massassi
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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by Massassi » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:56 pm

with a little further research i find this little gem:
http://tinyurl.com/z2owgdc" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
from the book "Brewing Yeast and Fermentation" by Christopher Boulton, David Quain, May 15 2006. which has some very good reviews. where it talks about traditional and historical use of copper fermenters for beer in the UK

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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by still_stirrin » Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:43 pm

Massassi wrote:...my questions to you are:
1. Have you had copper involved in your fermentation that caused you concern in the past?
No, the water pipes in my home are copper...I use that water to brew...no worries.
Massassi wrote:...
2. Have you used a copper fermenter, and if so did you have a positive experience with it?
Nope. It would be cost prohibitive for me. Scrap copper is very, very valuable and would bring a good price at the scrap yard. I would recycle the copper and buy other supplies at a much less inflated rate.
Massassi wrote:...
3. Considering the surface area, and the volumes we are talking about - do you think there is any way this would start reaching the dangerous concentrations required to cause health concerns?
Haven't thought about it really. There's plenty of copper in the still where alcohol vapor concentrations are much stronger. For a fermenter, I probably wouldn't worry about it. Incidentally, stainless steel is much easier to keep clean...and sanitize. Much more chemical resistant (and less expensive).
Massassi wrote:...
4. Would distillation not be the preferred method of removing Cu from H2O? and if this is the case, would not all dangerous levels of said Cu (*IF* the exist) be removed during the distillation process?
Can't answer this one...you've got to query the chemists and health department. I know some people wear copper bracelets for "health benefit", whatever they may be.

I say, "cash 'em in" and buy stainless conical fermenters with glycol cooling jackets instead.
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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by Bagasso » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:45 pm

A quick google search shows that copper can be toxic to yeast. Couldn't find how much is too much and whether those levels could be reached in a copper fermenter but I'm thinking why take the chance but, my opinion is biased by the local cost of copper and the potential for trouble.

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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by pythonshine » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:53 pm

why not modify it into a still or two?

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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by Swedish Pride » Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:55 am

one thing to keep in mind id that if they are very old the seams may not be done up with lead free solder.
Either way, you should get a couple of your mate, worst case you can cut sheets out of it where there is no solder.
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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by Danespirit » Wed Feb 03, 2016 3:47 am

Copper has been used for fermentationvessels for decades...the invention of stainless steel made them somewhat pointless.
With the horrendous pricetag on copper these days, i would probably sell them and buy stainless for the money.
Stainless is by far easier to clean (and keep clean).
Alternativly and assuming the soldering is ok, my mind envisions a gorgeous boiler... :idea:

Regarding yeast and fermenting in copper vessels, i found a article.
My apologies for not bringing the newest groundbreaking stuff, but it's interesting reading anyway (see the PDF below)
A interesting build of such a fermenter can be read about here: http://hbd.org/brewniversity/engineering/conical/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
It's much like what i would approach if i were to build such vessel, i would switch the valves/connections for stainless though.
Reproduction of yeast in copperfermenters.pdf
(1.46 MiB) Downloaded 140 times

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bearriver
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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by bearriver » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:27 am

50-80 gallons could fetch big bucks on fleaBay. I would sell them and buy shiny new gear.

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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by DAD300 » Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:33 am

"4. would distillation not be the preffered method of removing Cu from H2O? and if this is the case, would not all dangerous levels of said Cu (*IF* the exist) be removed durring the distilation process?"

Yes and no...but a copper vessel would be favorable to removing the precursors of ethyl carbamate from a ferment.

still_stirrin really hit a point for me. If you are after ferment tank, sell the copper and and buy a great HDPE conical or a used stainless tank.
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Ethyl Carbamate Docs viewtopic.php?f=6&t=55219&p=7309262&hil ... e#p7309262
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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by Tater » Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:39 am

Its old but I found it interesting MEETING HELD AT THE CRITERION RESTAURANT,
PICCADILLY, W., ON DECEMBER Hth, 1908.
The following paper was read by the Chairman (Mr. A. C. Chapman),
and during its reading and discussion the cbair was occupied by
Mr. T. F. Reeve:—
The Reproduction of Yeast in Copper Fermenting
Vessels.- = http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 2238.x/pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
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Massassi
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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by Massassi » Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:47 am

Danespirit: thats a wonderfully informative article. I believe it answers most of my concerns. As far as the age of ther paper is concerned however - I doubt that there is much research going into copper fermentation vessels these days as stainless steel has become the industry norm.

i do appreciate the suggestions to build a boiler from one. i just finished building myself an electric keg so i'm probably good for now. besides i have a tendancy to over build things - so that would probably turn into me having a 300L still. that would be a little outside the hobby range. can you imagine trying to have enough batched fermenting to keep a 300L still fed and happy? my Mrs would not be impressed with the time i would be spending in the garage!

PS i get the tenndancy and urge to turn everything you find into a still - but how many boilers do you really need? i'm partial to having a couple of different heads though

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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by Secale » Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:49 pm

Copper looks bad for live yeast. Read it.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2096605/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

Apoptosis is mentioned in article above in regards to copper and yeast.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apoptosis" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by rad14701 » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:07 am

Copper, silver, and gold have antibacterial/antimicrobial properties which can adversely effect yeast... :eugeek:

No copper, silver, or gold fermenters for me... :lolno:

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bearriver
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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by bearriver » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:12 am

But.... but, but, I reeeeeaaaallllly want it!!!!! :lolno:

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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by HDNB » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:54 am

check for lead, cut 'em in half and start making bain marie kettles. pretty sure you would have a line up of friends waiting on the next one!
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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by T-Pee » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:47 am

I know first hand that those old water heater liners make a pretty good boiler.
Copper 01.jpg
Btw, they're welded, not soldered.

tp

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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by Massassi » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:44 pm

T-Pee wrote:I know first hand that those old water heater liners make a pretty good boiler.
Copper 01.jpg
Btw, they're welded, not soldered.

tp

thats a sexy beast T-Pee.

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Re: copper fermenter?

Post by T-Pee » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:14 pm

Thankee.

The column has been modded since then but it gives you an idea what you can do with a water heater liner.

tp

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