|12 Gauge Wire Coil Inserted To Prevent Collapsing The Braid|
Recently someone raised a question about using copper in the brewing process and the possibility of verdigris poisoning caused by wort coming into contact with copper. If you've ever seen copper roofs, drain pipes, statues or the water lines in some homes that have a green colored patina, well that is what's formally called verdigris. It's been documented that you should always wash your hands after touching any copper metals that have a coating of verdigris because in large enough amounts it has been reported to cause nausea and vomiting.
|Inspection Of Copper Inside Braid After More Than 2 Years|
"Copper is relatively inert to both wort and beer. With regular use, it will build up a stable oxide layer (dull copper color) that will protect it from any further interaction with the wort. Only minimal cleaning to remove surface grime, hop bits and wort protein is necessary. There is no need to clean copper shiny-bright after every use or before contact with your wort. It is better if the copper is allowed to form a dull copper finish with use. " ~ John Palmer November 2007
|After Hundreds Of Mashes Not A Hint Of Verdigris Anywhere|
I tore down my braided hose and inspected all the copper and brass parts and found no signs of verdigris at all, what I did find is just as John Palmer had pointed out, the parts all had the stable oxide layer and dull copper color that protects the wort from verdigris. The copper and brass parts are no longer bright and shiny as they once were when I first assembled them for use in the mash tun designs, but they are protected by the stable layer of oxide that continues to protect the wort from picking up any dangerous contaminants.
|Inspected, Reassembled And Ready To Go|
As for cleaning and maintaining the mash tuns all I've ever done is remove the spent grains and thoroughly rinse out the insides with clean water until there were no grains left inside. Then I just turned the tuns upside down with the top facing down on a towel and a small air space under one side so all the water drained out. Once most of the water was drained I turned them right side up so they just could air dry. I've read posts in some forums where white vinegar and salt, or StarSan was used to clean the copper parts and get them shining like new. After reading John Palmer's article I decided I'll just use clean water to remove and bits of grain and keep the protective oxide layers that have already built up on mine.