Author Topic: Test the Quality of your Stainless Steel cookware  (Read 2529 times)

Offline dean

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Test the Quality of your Stainless Steel cookware
« on: January 12, 2010, 01:30:25 PM »
This is a very simple test and it will give you a bit of insight into why the food you cook or beer you make tastes the way it does.  

1.) A pint of water, distilled would probably be best for all around but use your household water if you use it to cook or brew with.  Pour it into the pot or pan you want to test and begin heating it.  

2.) Add a small amount of baking soda (a single teaspoon is plenty) to the water just before or about the time the water begins to boil and stir it or slosh it around so its thoroughly mixed.

3.) Either cool the water in the pan or take a small amount (I would suggest no more than a teaspoon) out and cool it before tasting it.

If your cookware is of good quality, it will taste like the water you started with, perhaps a slight saltiness to it but thats all.  If the cookware is of low quality then you're going to want something to spit in because it tastes very Bad.  Have some candy ready to help get the taste out of your mouth... you'll thank me for reminding you to have the candy trust me, mints work well.

Come on... I DARE You to test your equipment, just don't blame me if you want to buy new pots and pans if your test shows your equipment has other minerals leaching into the water.  Its a Great test but it really shocks some people when they find out the truth about their equipment.

Post the results of your test here then.  
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 01:37:13 PM by dean »

Offline dean

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Re: Test the Quality of your Stainless Steel cookware
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2010, 01:42:18 PM »
I would really like to see how some of the brew kettles stack up in this test... like Boilermaker, Polarware, etc, etc.

I think it would and should make a huge difference to anyone that brews seriously, especially if they are entering contests.  The results will probably amaze everyone.


Offline dean

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Re: Test the Quality of your Stainless Steel cookware
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2010, 02:42:34 PM »
Any takers?  It only takes about 5 minutes or less to do it.  I would seriously like to know how the professionally made brew kettles compare in this test.

FWIW... I bet the stainless steel used in beer kegs is high in aluminum content and if tested this way will taste like crap but I haven't tried it "yet".   :-\  Not saying brewing with aluminum is wrong, just that it imparts a flavor to the end product.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 02:55:08 PM by dean »

Offline mikeypedersen

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Re: Test the Quality of your Stainless Steel cookware
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2010, 02:52:41 PM »
Have you done this with SS converted kegs?  That is all that I have used in quite a long time.....

Offline dean

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Re: Test the Quality of your Stainless Steel cookware
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2010, 03:00:15 PM »
I was modifying my last post when you posted... no I haven't tried kegs yet but I'm going to on my next batch.  I think they won't pass the test honestly.  The reason I say that is because I know the older kegs were made of aluminum, I doubt the big breweries would spend that much more money in their packaging.  All stainless steel has some aluminum in it as I understand it but the quantities of the various minerals used is what makes the difference... and thickness if the bottoms are clad or layered.

Offline mikeypedersen

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Re: Test the Quality of your Stainless Steel cookware
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2010, 04:08:29 PM »
I'll try it this weekend when I have everything out and report back to you with my results!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Test the Quality of your Stainless Steel cookware
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2010, 04:27:49 PM »
Dean, I am not a metalurgist, but I am an engineer.  At one time there were Aluminum kegs, but those have been phased out.

Kegs are 304 Stainless Steel.  304 is 18% Chromium and 8% Nickel, IIRC, the rest being steel (iron and carbon).  No alumininum in SS.

304 is what is used in most cookware and kitchens.  If you want it to hold an edge or be tougher some molybdenum is added, and then it is surgical grade SS.  (I even spelled molybdenum right for once!)

A quick search found a referrence.
http://www.lenntech.com/stainless-steel-304.htm

EDIT - One other thing that comes to mind is that SS can be passivated.  Usually air is enough to accomplish this.  This is the laver of chromium oxide that is impervious, and makes stainless stainless.  John Palmer has some words in his book (I think) on how to do this with vinegar and peroxide.  John is a metalurgist.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 04:40:25 PM by hopfenundmalz »
Jeff Rankert
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Offline dean

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Re: Test the Quality of your Stainless Steel cookware
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2010, 03:52:25 AM »
You are mostly right, but there are different types of stainless steel.  To be honest I did think they all had aluminum but its ferritic stainless that contains aluminum.

Copied from wiki:

Ferritic stainless steels generally have better engineering properties than austenitic grades, but have reduced corrosion resistance, due to the lower Chromium and nickel content. They are also usually less expensive. They contain between 10.5% and 27% chromium and very little nickel, if any, but some types can contain lead. Most compositions include molybdenum; some, aluminium or titanium. Common ferritic grades include 18Cr-2Mo, 26Cr-1Mo, 29Cr-4Mo, and 29Cr-4Mo-2Ni. These alloys can be degraded by the presence of σ chromium, an intermetallic phase which can precipitate upon welding.

The type of stainless most commonly used for cookware is austenitic stainless, again copied from wiki:

Austenitic, or 300 series, stainless steels make up over 70% of total stainless steel production. They contain a maximum of 0.15% carbon, a minimum of 16% chromium and sufficient nickel and/or manganese to retain an austenitic structure at all temperatures from the cryogenic region to the melting point of the alloy. A typical composition of 18% chromium and 10% nickel, commonly known as 18/10 stainless, is often used in flatware. Similarly, 18/0 and 18/8 are also available. Superaustenitic stainless steels, such as alloy AL-6XN and 254SMO, exhibit great resistance to chloride pitting and crevice corrosion due to high molybdenum content (>6%) and nitrogen additions, and the higher nickel content ensures better resistance to stress-corrosion cracking versus the 300 series. The higher alloy content of superaustenitic steels makes them more expensive. Other steels can offer similar performance at lower cost and are preferred in certain applications.[citation needed]
« Last Edit: January 13, 2010, 04:04:22 AM by dean »

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Test the Quality of your Stainless Steel cookware
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2010, 09:45:39 AM »
OK, those would be some cheap SS pot and pans if they used ferritic.  Some AL in some SS, not all SS.

As I said Kegs are 304.  In another thread you linked to the brand of cookware you used to sell.  Those are 304, also, as the link states..

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Offline dean

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Re: Test the Quality of your Stainless Steel cookware
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2010, 07:28:44 AM »
I don't know what it would be with lower grade pots and pans unless perhaps when they are formed the stainless is thinner at the radius with some cookware and it allows any aluminum in contact with it (clad bottoms/multiply etc.) to leach through.  I do know the test does work in showing the presense of aluminum and if aluminum is present it does effects the taste of anything cooked in it.  It may not make any real difference unless a person is using the cookware for baking etc... something requiring baking soda or anything that reacts to aluminum.  The point of the post was to show the difference in the quality of the pots or pans.  So... brewing "probably" has no bearing on it, I don't know if it would make any difference in flavor unless doing mineral additions and it may only be certain ones if any?

Again taken from Wiki:

Baking soda is a chemical, sodium bicarbonate, also known as bicarbonate of soda or NaHCO3. It reacts with acid to produce carbon dioxide gas; this reaction is the reason for its usefulness in baking as a leavening agent. The reaction causes little bubbles of carbon dioxide gas to form throughout a food, expanding the mass. Baking soda is used as a leavening agent in many cakes, cookies, pancakes, some breads, and other foods.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 07:48:15 AM by dean »