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Stainless Steel vs "Food Safe" Stainless Steel

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surfin_mikeg:
Hi All,

I've been brewing for a while using a 48 quart cooler for mashing, but I can't get my temps quite right. To solve, I ordered a stainless steel kettle with a weldless thermometer & 304 stainless steel ball valve.  I'm on a budget & picked the cheapest 32 quart kettle I could find.  I'm wondering if this is a mistake and am asking for input.  Questions are:

1.  AFAIK, food safe means safe for storage for long periods of time, like a fermenting vessel.  Am I OK to use this for a mash tun?  Figuring, the longest I'd have grain in there for is 3 hours, more typically 1.5 hrs.

2.  Lead testing kits are available and lead should not be a problem, but what about copper or anything else that might leach?

I would not think any of this would be an issue, but my crafty blue-coller friends have questioned the quality of the steel and whether I should think otherwise.

Loving the AHA - thanks all.

realbeerguy:
First, wecome to the site!

Regarding the s/s question, you will not have a problem.  The kettle is at a minimum 18-8 or 303 s/s..No issue with the quality of stainless.  A bigger question is why did you have a problem with hitting your temps with the cooler?  Also, are you going to use a braid or false bottem for the kettle/mashtun?

surfin_mikeg:

--- Quote from: realbeerguy on February 09, 2011, 10:03:41 PM ---First, wecome to the site!

--- End quote ---

Thanks!  Much appreciate the welcome and feedback.

I've been winging it on equipment, and so purchase #2 is a digital and calibrating dial thermometer.  The strike temp is calculated well enough yet I'm thinking I could be a good 10 degrees off based on common yet different dial thermometers.  I'll add a false bottom based on whatever scrap stainless steel I can get a hold of.

What's happened is that as I give homebrew away, a person here or there can pick up on the less than full flavor across the tongue.  I see who gives me feedback (good or bad), and then I'll keep giving those people bottles when new batches are ready.  The surprise has been bumping into a BJCP Judge who was insistent that my "everyday" steamed pilsner would do well in competitions, hence signing up and checking out the upcoming schedule (it's 6%, Wyeast 2124, 39 ibu w/ saaz, dry-hopped w/ organic whole-hop cascade).   

I feel like AHA is a step up for me, but learning I don't necessarily need complex recipes to compete.  We'll see!  :-)

euge:
Could you describe your mash temp problem a bit more in detail? Anyway, I commend you on the equipment upgrade! Welcome to the AHA forum.

oscarvan:
I don't think a 90 minute mash or one hour boil is enough to release measurable amounts of anything from the metal..... I could be wrong.

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