Food Grade Plastic Liners For Fermentation

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rebusify

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So this year I hope to have 50 gallons of juice from my small vineyard. My dad built me a fermentation tank out of stainless steel. The issue now is that we're not 100% sure that the stainless steel tank is food grade. So to avoid throwing out the whole tank and all the work that went into it, the thought is to line it with a food grade plastic liner. That way I can still use the tank to ferment in. Has anyone had any issues with using food grade liners for wine fermentation?
 

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franc1969

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using food grade liners for wine fermentation?
I have looked at using food-grade liners for buckets or drums that are not food-grade, or are of questionable origin. Then I could throw out liner when fermentation is done, or when too used for my preference.
You could use such a drum liner for your stainless steel tank, but I don't know how to seal around the lower drain so it could be usable. What type of stainless steel is this that makes you think it isn't ok for food? What might make me wary as well is how smooth the welds are inside. Don't want any place for bacteria to hide.
 

rebusify

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We're not sure. He picked it up and it had some powder residue in it so at this point we're going to have to use a plastic liner if we want to use this for fermentation. I'm reading that people do it so think we'll give it a try. As for the lower drain I just won't use it. I'll just siphon out of the tank when fermentation is done. Just wasn't sure if anyone had ever tried this method.
 

Fencepost

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If you have a metal shop/fab shop near by it's a pretty easy test to determine what kind of SS it is made of... hand held device (Thermo Fisher) it only takes a couple of seconds for the device to scan the metal. From my understanding 316SS is ok... 304SS not. But I am not a metallurgist... just a chemical engineer. Only a suggestion, but I like your thought of using food grade bags... that could work for lots of applications.
 

hounddawg

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If you have a metal shop/fab shop near by it's a pretty easy test to determine what kind of SS it is made of... hand held device (Thermo Fisher) it only takes a couple of seconds for the device to scan the metal. From my understanding 316SS is ok... 304SS not. But I am not a metallurgist... just a chemical engineer. Only a suggestion, but I like your thought of using food grade bags... that could work for lots of applications.
been to long i forget. i have a lot of food grade stainless, prep table, tripe basin sink, bowels, trays, in my wine room is food grade stainless, food grade plastic ferment barrels and Italian glass carboys, 316 and 304 one wields good the other is food grade, if any of your stainless was not made in the USA, get a Geiger counter, the Chinese and a few other countries use spent fuel rod housing blended into the stainless they export, and yes this poor dumb hillbilly has a Geiger counter, but i think 316 is the food grade, some of these grey matter boys will tell you @Johnd or @sour_grapes for staters
Dawg
 

Rice_Guy

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* i have occasionally ordered a fiber drum which had an 8 mill food grade poly liner. They are readily available and used for rice enrichment, snack foods, some chemicals. If a little hunting did not turn up a gusseted bag you could accomplish the same thing with heavy gauge poly roll stock lining the tank. To look pretty corners could be taped to form gussets.
On occasion I had to produce 1000 lb bulk bags of product, larger sizes for 42 by 48 pallets are readily available in food plants.
* If i had a new stainless tank I would wash with the strongest detergent available to remove machine oil (well with driers we would burn the oils at 350 to 400F for a few hours). After degreasing I would take an alkali cleaner followed by an acid rinse. (Do you have a meat plant near you?) (milk or ice cream?) (university pilot plant?) (Klenzade distributor). If there was a pesticide in the metal I would wash more and possibly soak with an acetone or alcohol after degreasing.
* brass is in some valves which should not be used with wine. A good setup usually has a stainless NPT fitting welded in so valves or pipe can be changed out. Some have tri clamp Fittings. Brazing ports or fittings is to be avoided again for copper content. Silver solder is OK. Gas blanketed welding is standard (?TIG) as a food surface. Since your dad did the work what did he use?
* winemaker conference had a vendor in 2019 who was selling a pallet size metalized film, low oxygen transmission spouted bag liner. pallet size (plus others?). There should be a vendor list on the web for that meeting. Industry wise they are found in bulk tomatoes, tomato paste, aseptic pack fruit, aseptic pack juice, concentrates,,,,, so again what kind of food plants are nearby?
* used equipment dealers might do heavy duty cleaning as a standard process when they take possession (Rabin Brothers) and might be worth talking to/ have small cups of chemical.

Nice to have a dad to help on the toys!
,,,, edit after sleeping on this, heavyweight clear plastic poly liners are fairly common for lining 55 gallon drums for garbage at football, baseball, nascar, concerts. You don’t want a hundred count case but your high school and A to Z rental may have them on the shelf. They will not say food grade, but the resins for blowing films are clean. Polyethylene has a measurable oxygen transmission rate so this isn’t long term storage grade material.
 
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hounddawg

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Actually, I think @Rice_Guy is the subject-matter expert here. I will defer to him.

It is my understanding that 304 is fine EXCEPT for extreme saline environments. Then you want 316.
yup i checked all my stainless is American made 316. i trust what @Rice_Guy knows,,, but i have zero faith, in corporations, FDA, so on so forth, money rules them, same as them big boys & girls in silicone valley, their schools built for their children's allows no computers, on the school grounds, they don't want their kids dumbed down,,,, yet for all other children is of less value then their profit,
notice i did not say this for any of yawl, well that is unless you own or are on the board of directors ,
if so the same shoe fits. IMHO
Dawg
 

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