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stainless steel barrels


delaware_phoenix

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Anyone have an idea whether there's advantages to 316 stainless steel barrels over 304 SS especially for high proof spirits. I know the latter have higher corrosion resistance, but I don't know if that applies to alcohol. I'm currently under the impression that 304 SS would be fine, but I want to make sure.

Thanks.

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We use 316 for longer stays but occasionally use 304 for only short stays. I have not seen the info on it but I take the word of a few experts that this is the way to go. I certainly feel better about and the distillate is happy too!-Brandymanjoe

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Since you're talking about high proof spirits there should be no problem... The Cole Parmer chemical compatibility database indicates that that 304 has excellent ("A") compatibility with ethanol, they even list "Whiskey & Wine" and it also scores an excellent ("A") rating. We use 304 in some containers and have had no problems...

A handy reference... http://www.coleparmer.com/techinfo/chemcomp.asp

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  • 2 months later...

I know it's a little late in coming, but just as a followup if it makes any difference:

The difference between 304 and 316 stainless is negligible with regards to beverage/alcohol purposes...both are effectively inert. It's just a factor of a miniscule alloy ratio difference and oodles of cost. It does better in an acidic environment than caustic, but not really noticeably. Chlorine is its kryptonite, though, so avoid cleaning any stainless with bleach at all costs. Harsh caustics, no problem. Acids? Loves it. Chlorine = rapid destruction.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I would have a hard time believing that either 304 or 316 would turn anything green. All stainless cookware is 18-8/304 and I would definitely be up to the challenge of storing some brown spirits in a commercially available piece of stainless cookware to put it to the test.

More realistic (to me) would be that the container may have had brass fittings somewhere and previously held something alkaline.

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Among cider geeks, there's a stated preference for 316 over 304 due to it's higher corrosion resistance. Corrosion pits = bacteria hiding places.

(I ingnore the advice, btw - 316 is too expensive for me)

I was curious, so I asked the metallurgist down the hall. (I'm a chemist during the week - my office is in front of one of the metallurgy labs.)

I described the types of contacts for beverage use as citric acid solutions (about pH 3), sodium carbonate caustics (about pH 9), SO2 at up to hundreds of ppm, possibly Cl at a few hundred ppm, steam, alcohol, light (low carbon number) acid and aldehydes.

He noted that 316 is more corrosion resistant over all - but especially more resistant to attack by SO2 and SO3. The Mo in the alloy does that trick. Neither handle Cl well, but 316 is slightly better - up to about 400ppm. Apparantly the important thing with Cl is to not let it dry on the steel. The green color is most likely from Chromium being leached from spots where corrosion pits have started (may be microscopic).

He noted that citric washes are good for stainless. It removes a lot of metal oxides and leaves chromium oxide - which is the fundamental protective 'scale' on stainless steel.

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  • 1 month later...
Anyone have an idea whether there's advantages to 316 stainless steel barrels over 304 SS especially for high proof spirits. I know the latter have higher corrosion resistance, but I don't know if that applies to alcohol. I'm currently under the impression that 304 SS would be fine, but I want to make sure.

Thanks.

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My company has been manufacturing stainless steel drums and barrels for 30 years and from my experince there were only two instances that were brought to my attention regarding degredation of the steel. We use primarily T304 SS due to it's availabilty and being more cost effective.

Type 304 SS is a great all around material. Going back to the two situations brought to my attention, I have no idea of what was put in those drums, I wasn't told by either customer, but have to assume it had to be something very acidic, it was very aggreesive and actually made pock marks like a BB gun shot the bottom of the drum.

I know with from all of the positive testimony and repeat orders from indutries ranging from beverages, chemical to wines the success of my product is proven it's self over and over again.

Alchol should have no issue in T304 SS. I have distillers usong my product, one was processing flavored vodka as well as concentrated primary products used in the product from the number one soft drink manufacture in the world.

Yes to the other factor of pricing with T304 SS being much more cost effective.

I hope this is somewhat helpful.

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Type 304 SS is a great all around material. Going back to the two situations brought to my attention, I have no idea of what was put in those drums, I wasn't told by either customer, but have to assume it had to be something very acidic, it was very aggreesive and actually made pock marks like a BB gun shot the bottom of the drum.

Odds are really good that they used some form of chlorinated detergent combined with heat. Compared to acids and bases, chlorine really is 300-series stainless' kryptonite. Even more so when heat is involved.

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