Aluminum Kegs??

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Aluminum Kegs??

Postby andytv » Fri Nov 02, 2001 1:51 pm

Most beers nowadays are stored in aluminum kegs. I have a draft system installed in my bar and would like to toss some homebrew from it....

Will the fact that the beer conditions in aluminum contribute off tastes etc??

Aluminum kegs (only $10) are easy to "debung" and scrub, and I have found inexpensive plugs to replace the factory wooden bungs. Has anyone else been down this path??
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Aluminium Kegs ?

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Sun Nov 04, 2001 1:57 pm

I don't know where you live, but nowadays in North America beer is stored in stainless steel kegs and in 5 & 15 gallon increments. If you actually do have aluminimum kegs, NEVER "SCRUB" them as you will create scratches in the surface that will be difficult to clean and the acids in beer will begin to break the metal down and taint flavor. Unlike steel products, aluminum does not oxidize sufficiently to form a protective layer. Aluminum can also be pitted by a range of acidic and bleach containing cleansers which also will cause problems. You need to avoid aluminum for storing any beverage that has a low pH (aidic). Put orange juice in an aluminum vessel overnight and you will taste the metal 24 hours later. The aluminum cans that are used to store foods, beer and juices that are commercially available have a liner that is fused to the wall of the can which prevents the transfer of off flavors.
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Can't Find SS Kegs

Postby andytv » Sun Nov 04, 2001 4:51 pm

Thanks for the reply. You have talked me out of using the aluminum kegs.
I live in the Pittsburgh area and have not been able to find any stainless kegs. I checked all of the local beer distributors on several occasions with no luck. It may be worth my while to travel a bit and pick up a few of the stainless kegs.
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Really ?

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Mon Nov 05, 2001 4:06 am

Hey again...

I live about 2 hours south of you on I79. I have bought beer in Point Marion, Washington and Uniontown as well as in Pittsburgh and all were in 15 gallon stainless kegs ! Did you mean they said they don't have SS kegs or did you mean they won't give them up? Example: Yuengling, Iron City, Sierra Nevada, Samuel Adams, Rolling Rock... I'm 100% certain these are stainless. If you can't find any, I can hook you up with some if you can get to Morgantown, WV. (1.5 hrs. South on I-79. They are common as WVU is located here and they are known for mass consumption !
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Really!!

Postby andytv » Sat Nov 10, 2001 7:04 pm

All the kegs we have here are definitely aluminum. The beer store guys allowed me to check out all of their kegs. Using a file and I magnet ( and good common visual sense) I was unable to find any SS kegs. I keep Yuengling on tap in my bar, but alas the kegs are AL. I did notice that several kegs (i.e rolling rock) featured an aluminum body with a SS cap. I may make a trip south soon, and will check out the empty kegs avaiable, but for some reason, they are unavailable here.
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Well.. better let the brewers know...

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Wed Nov 21, 2001 2:17 pm

Just to make sure I was correct, I e-mailed both Yuengling and Latrobe and asked if they had any aluminum kegs in circulation... both answered NO. By the by... the grade of stainless steel used in kegs will never be attracted to a magnet. The dull appearance that may be misleading you is a result of oxidation as the kegs are not coated or sealed like other stainless vessels. The bright surface you are seeing is a polished flange used to properly mate with a coupler. These surfaces are prepared this way to make for a better connection and since they see constant use, they stay shiny. The only instance I have seen of aluminium kegs was of the clad variety that was alum. on the outside, but the inner layer was SS, but these have been gone for a long time. The last fully aluminum "keg" I saw was not a keg at all, but a firkin for real ales. I assure you, what you see ARE SS !

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OK OK !!!

Postby andytv » Wed Nov 28, 2001 3:33 pm

You are correct; I placed my trust in our metalshop fellows at my plant. They told me that the keg that I brought in for them to fix up for me was definitely aluminum, and gave me instructions on detecting SS kegs.

I took a real good look at a few of the barrels I had laying around the other day and was delighted to see "Firestone Stainless Steel" barely legible on the side of the keg. This is good news for me. In addition, I informed the panel of "experts" at work as well as the local beer retailers that the kegs were indeed SS. They were surprised.

The SS used is so soft that it fooled the lot of us. Do you know what grade it is??
By the way, I checked again and verified that some of the kegs at my beer distributor were slightly magnetic. Some SS still has enough ferrous mat'l to be mildly magnetic.

Good job holding your ground.
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