Subject: Brewing in plastic
Date: 1989-03-16 23:14:00 GMT
There has been some discussion recently regarding brewing in plastic
water-bottle carboys. I've heard that these plastic carboys contain
potentially toxic compounds (plastisizers and other nasty chemicals) which
can be released into fermenting beer. Apparently the acidity and the
alcohol in the wort cause the nasties to be released. The carboys are FDA
approved for water only - presumably water does not cause the plastic to
release solvents. The water-bottles here at work clearly state "Not to be
refilled with any other liquids - NSF approved for water only".
I'm not sure if the release of solvents into beer is a real effect, or if
these stories are just a way the water companies try to reduce bottle
losses. I'd play it safe, and not use them for fermenting beer. If I did
use them for beer, I'd stick to low-alcohol batches, not the Barley Wines.
On a similar topic, a collegue of mine has an interesting use for plastic
carboys. He does large batches (30 gallon) of all-grain brewing, and does
NOT use a wort chiller. He simply pours the boiling wort into plastic
carboys and puts foil over the neck. He lets the wort cool for two days in
the plastic, causing the trub to drop out. He then siphons the cooled,
trub-free wort into glass carboys, pitches his yeast, and starts
fermenting. He does not sanitize his plastic carboys - he counts on the
boiling, sterile wort to clean everything. All his fermentation is in
glass. This procedure is a bit unorthodox, but seems to work for him. He
has won several regional and national awards in competitions.
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