From the HBD Archive
From: Steve Anthony <steveo@Think.COM>
Subject: Plastics in Brewing
Date: 1989-03-17 14:41:03 GMT

Date: Fri, 17 Mar 89 03:00:04 est
From: homebrew-request%hpfcmr@hp-sde.sde.hp.com (Are you SURE you want to send it HERE?)
Apparently-To: realhomebrew%hpfcmr@hp-sde.sde.hp.com

Date: Thu, 16 Mar 89 18:14 EST
From: Mike Fertsch <hplabs!uiucdcs!meccad.RAY.COM!FERTSCH>
Subject: Brewing in Plastic

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 believe that the FDA has what's called a Food-Service grade plastic; ie,
a plastic that is approved for storing foods in. They're not suppose to
leach any of the nasty chemicals into the food, although we'll probably
find out different in a few years! My brewing process is the veritable two
stage process. The first is in one of the 7 gallon food grade plastic
buckets and after the fermentation activity subsides, I rack to a glass
carboy for the remainer of the fermentation. I suppose that the entire
fermentation can be done in a food grade bucket with no adverse effects,
but there are doubtless other opinions.

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.

I would think that the acidic content would be more critical than the
alcoholic content, but I'm no chemist!

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