Brass has a little lead in it to make it more easily machineable, but all we really care about is the surface lead which we can easily remove. Firstly, we have to remove the price tag and the glue that held it on. "Goo Gone" works great for this. It's important to remove all the glue because the lead can hide under it. Next, we have to remove the Goo Gone. A 10 min soak in hot diswashing machine detergent (not soap!) makes the disassembled fittings squeaky-clean. Finally, to remove the lead, soak the disassembled fittings in a solution of two parts vinegar to one part household hydrogen peroxide for 10 minutes. The fittings on the left are post-dishwashing detergent. The ones on the right are post-vinegar/hydrgen peroxide. Notice how the vinegar/hydrogen peroxide solution has turned a brilliant blue. Actually, this is a bit too long. You want to soak them only until they begin to turn that bright gold colour. If the solution turns blue, you should start over with fresh solution. Don't leave the fittings in there too long or they will turn black. If they do turn black, scrub off the oxide with something like a kitchen scrubber (don't forget about the insides!) and start over with fresh solution.
Here's the kettle assembly in a loose-fit state. I designed the assembly so that the screens sit along the outside edge of the kettle. This is so that the screens and copper tubing are not in the way during stirring. It also would act somewhat like a whirlpool, drawing wort off from the sides after swirling the wort. The purpose is to draw the wort away from the pile of break and hop pellets (whirlpools are used by many commercial breweries that use hop pellets). I have not tried using pellets yet (to date, I've only used loose whole hops), but others have reported nearly instant clogging when using pellet hops with similar screens. Therefore, I may have to remove the screens when using pellets.
Note the teflon tape which was later used on the brass fittings before
final assembly into the stainless steel tee. The brass fittings are 3/8"
compression to 3/8" male NPT. The tubing is 3/8" OD soft copper.
The 3/8" ball valve, brass fittings, copper tubing, hose clamps, teflon
tape, and stainless steel washers (believe it or not!) were purchased
at Ace Hardware. The SureScreensTM
at the ends of the copper are available at many homebrew supply shops or
from Sheaf & Vine.
I bought the stainless steel 3/8" NPT tee and 3/8"
close nipple from McMaster-Carr.
If you are interested in building a smaller system, with a single-screen unit, you can't do better than going with what inspired me to develop the SureScreenTM, namely the EasyMasherTM !
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