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Other than Brewing => The Pub => Topic started by: capozzoli on November 04, 2010, 12:30:16 AM

Title: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: capozzoli on November 04, 2010, 12:30:16 AM
I was thinking of these for fermenting buckets. 

(http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll294/capozzoli_2008/DSC08809.jpg)

Anyone know how to identify food grade plastic?

(http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll294/capozzoli_2008/DSC08812.jpg)
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: Mikey on November 04, 2010, 12:45:56 AM
What was in them?
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: capozzoli on November 04, 2010, 12:49:23 AM
Not a clue, the people selling them dont know either. They are in a pile of surplus.

The lids seal air tight though,so some kind of liquid.

Found this info.

<2>HDPE (high density polyethylene) is used in milk, juice and water containers in order to take advantage of its excellent protective barrier properties. Its chemical resistance properties also make it well suited for items such as containers for household chemicals and detergents. Most five gallon food buckets are made from HDPE. Examples: Milk bottles, shopping bags

Guess I should still worry what might have been in them?
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: BrewArk on November 04, 2010, 12:59:42 AM
Guess I should still worry what might have been in them?

I would.  We use HDPE for all kinds of different products.  Often we can smell the residue (mostly perfumes) in the plastic a week after dumping the product out.  To me that means that something could leach out.  It might be ok but for my beer "might be" wouldn't be good enough.

-sorry
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: capozzoli on November 04, 2010, 01:11:39 AM
No smell in them at all. I know that does not mean nothing is there.

Do you think the perfume was in residue on the surface or was perhaps in the plastic?

HDPE is supposed to be completely without porosity. Wish there was a way to test them, they look really cool, sturdy and they have those cool handles. 
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: BrewArk on November 04, 2010, 01:17:39 AM
It was definitely in the plastic.

I've never been able to say that I've had noticeable contamination of something that I've put into a bucket that had a different product in it, but I know that the boss doesn't blink at throwing away old ones to keep from having problems.

I don't know how to tell if they are food grade or not.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: bluesman on November 04, 2010, 01:19:34 AM
Here's the symbol chart for food grade plastics.  Hope this helps.

(http://www2.corecommerce.com/~packagingres744/uploads/image/TermSymbol.gif)

They are high density polyethylene.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: Mikey on November 04, 2010, 01:44:08 AM
I think the plastic is fine, but I'd still worry about the previous contents. However, it was bad there "should" be some labels on them.

They sure look like some nice buckets. I'd research them as much as I could.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: bluesman on November 04, 2010, 01:57:51 AM
One thing to consider is that not all HDPE plastic is food grade.

http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/plastics.html#hdpe

It depends on whether it is labeled "food safe".

Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: weazletoe on November 04, 2010, 02:22:16 AM
Would it be possible to let RO water sit in them for a few weeks, then have the water tested, to see what changed? This might give you some idea if it'll kill ya or not.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: MrNate on November 04, 2010, 02:24:11 AM
I'd be willing to risk it. Are they free?
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: majorvices on November 04, 2010, 02:53:54 AM
Would it be possible to let RO water sit in them for a few weeks, then have the water tested, to see what changed? This might give you some idea if it'll kill ya or not.

Yeah. That makes sense. Should only cost about $500. Way cheaper than new buckets.... errr, wait...  :P
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: punatic on November 04, 2010, 02:55:13 AM
Would it be possible to let RO water sit in them for a few weeks, then have the water tested, to see what changed? This might give you some idea if it'll kill ya or not.

What would you have them tested for?  As the owner of a lab I can tell you that it would not take long to run up an expensive analysis bill if you don't know where to begin, analysis-wise.

They are great looking containers, but without knowing what was in them previously, it would be pretty risky to use them for holding anything that will be consumed.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: capozzoli on November 04, 2010, 03:48:57 AM
Suppose I could get them to see if they can find out what was in them.

Nate,they are $6. per piece. They are at Joesph Fazzio's in Glassboro NJ. Maybe an hour south of you I think?

There are other ones too that are 10 and 20 gallons. They are clearly labeled "food grade" with the same HDPE/2.

The problem with the ones above for most are that they are only 4 gallons. I was thinking of using them for small batch fermenting.

Damn, Im bummed now.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: euge on November 04, 2010, 05:37:00 AM
Dude, snap up the 10 gallon buckets if they are labeled "food grade". If you do 5-6 gallon batches you'll never have to worry about a blowout or need a blow off tube.

Testing? Well, a start would be to split a batch in glass and one of the mystery buckets and send both samples in for analysis.  I guess you'd be looking for something "extra" in the plastic fermented.

Does foodgrade plastic mean made fresh or recycled from plastic that hasn't previously held anything toxic? This would be my main concern.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: tschmidlin on November 04, 2010, 07:20:26 AM
I'd give them a pass.  Unknown provenance = unknown risk.  Not acceptable for my beer or my health.

But that's me.  :)
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: alikocho on November 04, 2010, 07:36:35 AM
It's your call, but I wouldn't risk it unless I was certain what was in them before. I've run accross blue barrels that look remarkably like those, are food grade, and have been used to hold fertilizers.

I'd check out local restaurants if you're after cheap buckets. They generally know what's been in them, and I have some great buckets from the local falafel place that used to hold tahini.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: weazletoe on November 04, 2010, 11:11:39 AM

Yeah. That makes sense. Should only cost about $500. Way cheaper than new buckets.... errr, wait...  :P

Dude, he runs his own welding business. Cappo farts money. It's really no object to him, I'm sure.  ;D
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: punatic on November 04, 2010, 11:53:19 AM
Dude, he runs his own welding business.

In that case he could fabricate his own fermenters.  Heck, he could fabricate an entire brewery - grain silos and all!

Cappo farts money.

Hey, a fart with a lump in it!
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: capozzoli on November 04, 2010, 12:25:04 PM

Yeah. That makes sense. Should only cost about $500. Way cheaper than new buckets.... errr, wait...  :P

Dude, he runs his own welding business. Cappo farts money. It's really no object to him, I'm sure.  ;D

More like bleeds money, or maybe hemorrhage is a better description.  ::)

Buckets are not problem. I can get them for free.These just look so cool and they are stackable.

Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: Mikey on November 04, 2010, 12:34:20 PM
Since they're free, keep looking into it. Not worth a health issue, but they could very well be okay for fermenting.

As clean as they look in the pictures, they may have never held anything.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: punatic on November 04, 2010, 12:45:25 PM
Buckets are not problem. I can get them for free.These just look so cool and they are stackable.

So are caskets...
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: bluesman on November 04, 2010, 12:45:58 PM

Yeah. That makes sense. Should only cost about $500. Way cheaper than new buckets.... errr, wait...  :P

Dude, he runs his own welding business. Cappo farts money. It's really no object to him, I'm sure.  ;D

Yea...and he fabricates really cool brewstands.  ;)

Hey Cap...they would make nice grain storage containers as well.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: ryang on November 04, 2010, 02:01:02 PM
no porosity.

clean it well and use them.  I would have no reservations getting a few of those.  hdpe is pretty dang inert
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: Steve on November 04, 2010, 03:17:16 PM
Those buckets are sexy... maybe used for Kimchee or Sauerkraut! 

The food grade plastic fermenters I have, which were purchased from the LHBS have a 2 (in the triangle) HDPE on the bottom just like your photo.  The 2 refers to how it is to be recycled. No?  There is no "Food Grade" stamped on the bottom with the other codes.  Need less to say, if you don't know what was in them before, I'd avoid them no matter how sexy they look or how mega dense the plastic is.  If they were virgin HDPE containers, I'd go for them.

So how do you prove that the HDPE bucket you buy at the LHBS is food grade then?  Is there a Plastics Engineer in the house?
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: blatz on November 04, 2010, 03:21:47 PM
If you do get them, just be sure to mark which ones are for fish and which ones are for beer.  ;)
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 04, 2010, 03:29:25 PM
Not a plastics engineer, but have looked into this.  The werber virtual bullet site has good informatiion.  Even virgin HDPE would not be food grade if it had been processed wrong.   The wrong die release compound would make it not food grade.  Exposure to other things in the production process, like lead,  would make it not food grade.

If the container has a NSF in a cirlcle logo, it is food grade, as long as the stuff in it was not toxic.
http://www.nsf.org/business/about_NSF/nsf_marks.asp

Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: tschmidlin on November 04, 2010, 03:48:02 PM
Buckets are not problem. I can get them for free.These just look so cool and they are stackable.

So are caskets...
Caskets are free?   ;D
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: glitterbug on November 04, 2010, 03:58:17 PM
I'd give them a pass.  Unknown provenance = unknown risk.  Not acceptable for my beer or my health.

But that's me.  :)

I am in the (slow) process of converting all my plastic equipment to stainless steel. It is safe, durable, and easy to clean. The only downside is the cost  :'(

Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: bluesman on November 04, 2010, 04:23:24 PM
I'd give them a pass.  Unknown provenance = unknown risk.  Not acceptable for my beer or my health.

But that's me.  :)

I am in the (slow) process of converting all my plastic equipment to stainless steel. It is safe, durable, and easy to clean. The only downside is the cost  :'(



This is my plan as well.  Plastic has it's advantages but I would like to go all SS in the future.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: glitterbug on November 04, 2010, 05:14:16 PM
I'd give them a pass.  Unknown provenance = unknown risk.  Not acceptable for my beer or my health.

But that's me.  :)

I am in the (slow) process of converting all my plastic equipment to stainless steel. It is safe, durable, and easy to clean. The only downside is the cost  :'(



This is my plan as well.  Plastic has it's advantages but I would like to go all SS in the future.


I have heard of people using "milk cans" for fermentation vessels. They are ss, have handles and come in a variety of sizes. If you have any dairy farms near, you may want to see if they have any old ones for sale.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: Steve on November 04, 2010, 05:25:25 PM
Get a 5 gallon pickle bucket from a deli and brew something Bavarian in it utilizing the existing intrinsic pickle qualities.  Afterward dunk a pretzel in it... use the pickley beer to braise a pork roast... drink it with warm potato salad... the uses are endless.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: Steve on November 04, 2010, 05:34:28 PM
Not a plastics engineer, but have looked into this.  The werber virtual bullet site has good informatiion.  Even virgin HDPE would not be food grade if it had been processed wrong.   The wrong die release compound would make it not food grade.  Exposure to other things in the production process, like lead,  would make it not food grade.

If the container has a NSF in a cirlcle logo, it is food grade, as long as the stuff in it was not toxic.
http://www.nsf.org/business/about_NSF/nsf_marks.asp

I don't see that NSF laminated "foil" mark on any of my supposed food grade buckets. There is NRC - .075 and LIN PAC (each letter is circled and PAC is below the LIN) stamped on the bottom of the Ale Pail.  Ropak is the manufacturer of the bucket
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: Mikey on November 04, 2010, 05:37:08 PM
A bleach solution and then a day in the sun will get rid of pickle smell.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: Steve on November 04, 2010, 05:55:27 PM
I don't see that NSF laminated "foil" mark on any of my supposed food grade buckets. There is NRC - .075 and LIN PAC (each letter is circled and PAC is below the LIN) stamped on the bottom of the Ale Pail.  Ropak is the manufacturer of the bucket

I googled ROPAK and LIN PAC is the division. in the food service section i found the 6 gal. 75 mil bucket which is my Ale Pail.  http://www.linpac.com/en/Products/Rigid-plastic-containers/6-Gallon-or-227-L-Round-Container--75-mil-Wall-Thickness--/?Family=Food+service&SubFamily=Round+Packaging (http://www.linpac.com/en/Products/Rigid-plastic-containers/6-Gallon-or-227-L-Round-Container--75-mil-Wall-Thickness--/?Family=Food+service&SubFamily=Round+Packaging) There's not much about "food grade" in the description. Only in the menu to the left.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 04, 2010, 06:06:20 PM
Not a plastics engineer, but have looked into this.  The werber virtual bullet site has good informatiion.  Even virgin HDPE would not be food grade if it had been processed wrong.   The wrong die release compound would make it not food grade.  Exposure to other things in the production process, like lead,  would make it not food grade.

If the container has a NSF in a cirlcle logo, it is food grade, as long as the stuff in it was not toxic.
http://www.nsf.org/business/about_NSF/nsf_marks.asp

I don't see that NSF laminated "foil" mark on any of my supposed food grade buckets. There is NRC - .075 and LIN PAC (each letter is circled and PAC is below the LIN) stamped on the bottom of the Ale Pail.  Ropak is the manufacturer of the bucket
The NSF is a certification that it is food grade, if it has that, it is good.  Can be food grade without, like most containers.  My wording was not clear.


The NRC may be for National Research Council since Ropak is from Canada.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: punatic on November 04, 2010, 06:55:54 PM
Buckets are not problem. I can get them for free.These just look so cool and they are stackable.

So are caskets...
Caskets are free?   ;D

The stackable kind are.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: rabid_dingo on November 04, 2010, 11:12:45 PM
You never mentioned that they were used...Are we sure that they were used. Could be unused surplus. Dry grain storage, maybe?

EDIT: Damn, missed two pages worth...Ne'er mind.
Title: Re: Possible Fermenting Buckets?
Post by: capozzoli on November 04, 2010, 11:40:54 PM
The people working the yard didnt have the history on this surplus item but I am sure the management does. I will ask them to pull the documentation. They are usually pretty good at recording history of stuff.

Very likely that they are unused surplus, much stuff there is, but I guess that would be the question and for sure a matter of trust. They look unused. Brand new in fact, not a scratch. Still doesn't mean that they were not used as job site toilets somwhere along the way.