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[show idea] Stainless Steel

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[show idea] Stainless Steel

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:34 am
by skybrew
Hey Guys,

I'm a huge fan of the BN! I've listened to every episode (some multiple times) but there is one topic I have yet to hear about. From what I have discovered, there is little known in the brewing community about the passivation of stainless steel. I am suggesting this topic as I am currently facing this dilemma. After doing tons of research online, I am getting mixed answers and mixed warnings.

I just had a 3bbl - 3 vessel brewhouse manufactured for me but I quickly learned that is not ready to use until I give the steel some TLC. When I first received it I felt like a giddy little kid and couldn't wait to test it out. After filling and draining the HLT, the next day there was a small amount of rust forming on the bottom weld seam. I discovered the rust is actually from minimal amounts of nickel and other metals remaining in the weld that needs to be scrubbed, removed and passivated. I used barkeepers friend to remove the rust and it did a great job.

Now I need to passivate the vessels but I have no idea what the best method is. I ordered 50 lbs of citric acid. Do you think I should dilute the acid with water, fill the tanks completely with this and leave them sitting over night? or can I use a spray ball to rinse the entire vessel ? I understand the vessels have to be hand dried and remain open to the air for about a week after passivation. Is this the most efficient way to go about it?

Also, what maintenance procedures would you recommend?
Thanks guys- cheers!


Re: [show idea] Stainless Steel

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:20 pm
by Bugeater
Well, John Palmer is a metallurgist and the resident expert on the passivation of stainless steel. Here is what he had to say about it in his book.

You are on the right track with the Barkeeper's Friend. That and a green scrubbing pad are all you need. Just scrub it all down with those two items, rinse good and you are ready to go.


Re: [show idea] Stainless Steel

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:14 pm
by BDawg
You won't go wrong listening to Palmer when it comes to metals.

As far as your poll-

1) Where's the "no pants" option?
2) Is this the initial batch for your 3bbl system or are you asking for what you would recommend as a first batch in general?

I answered "other", as in "no pants, brew the batch you are most familiar with so you can dial it in".

[edit - I'd consider a Best Bitter (or American Pale Ale hopped equivalent) to probably be the best bet.
1) If you miss your gravity low, you can call it an (American) Ordinary Bitter.
2) If you miss your gravity high, you can call it an ESB or American Pale or Amber Ale depending on hop/malt balance.
3) If your hop extraction goes through the roof, call it an IPA.
4) If your hop extraction sucks, dry hop the shit out of it.

Generally, the style is wide and its adjacent styles overlap a lot so whatever you end up with is still probably a decent beer.


Re: [show idea] Stainless Steel

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:35 pm
by dunleav1
On one of the brew strong episodes Palmer discusses Stainless Steel. I'm not sure which one, I just remember him discussing the process you are questioning.

Re: [show idea] Stainless Steel

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:41 pm
by Afterlab
To comment on your poll question. I would think the best recipe to test out a new system would be a very simple pale ale or some sort of beer that doesn't have a lot of complex flavors that will possibly mask any mistakes and off flavors that arise from using your new system.

Re: [show idea] Stainless Steel

Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:54 pm
by anday6
I'm not sure the depth they discussed this and I know it was talked about other times, but you should probably start with the Brew Strong episode 'Metals that Affect your Beer' from 9.29.2008.

Re: [show idea] Stainless Steel

Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:31 am
by skybrew
Thank you everyone for your quick and informative answers. I just read JP's article and I'm listening to the podcast right now. I appreciate all your help. Once again the BN Army pulls through!


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