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Old crocks for wimemaking

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beano

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I have never used one myself, but I'm sure it would work just fine as long as it's in in good shape. Cleaned and sanitized of course. It looks heavy though and that could problem if you need to lift or move it. Hopefully somebody will chime in that has used them.
 

NoQuarter

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My wife uses the very old large crocks year round for fermenting a lot of our harvest.
Several years ago she learned about the possibility of lead so we now purchase lead testing swabs on amazon. Very cheap and they can test paint, ceramic as well as other materials. We get "lead test swabs' but there are several others available. As winemaker said, I would not use it until your sure you are not poisoning yourself.
Other than that they should be fine for primary fermenter.
 

Scooter68

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Yup - Does the bottom have a company label? I've seen in the last 5 years ceramic glazed toothbrush cups that stated on the bottom Do Not Drink from this container. So even now there are glazes used that are not food safe. No telling about an old, albeit very nice looking crock. Safer to go to Lowe's Home Depot Menard etc and get a food safe bucket and then shop for 3, 5, 6.5 gallon carboy for aging.
 

NoQuarter

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None of her regular crocks. She has mostly the early 1900s robinson I think. ( Blue crown). But yes on other stoneware like cookie jar shapes and one made with a spout for lemonade or ginger beer . Those swabs do work but you do need a very small ( chip) of the coating Most of the blue crown stuff was a salt fired glaze. They are heavy but she loves them for pickles and krout.
 

Scooter68

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Let's not forget how far we have come in the last 75 years. We have gone through scares about cranberries. We watched the dairy industry flip-flop around on Wax Paper containers, then Plastic, then back to "New Wax free paper" now Non BPA plastic. Aluminum was a cause of Alzheimer's, now it's not. As kids we played with Mercury in our hands and coated coins with it - Now the shut down schools and call in hazmat teams if a forbidden mercury thermometer is broken or even found in the the school sometimes.
In the present day they say that Aluminum has not been connected to Alzheimer's but they say that you can detect a metallic taste if some high acid foods are cooking in aluminum cookware.
Lead - well that seems to remain on the bad boy list but the crazy thing is that it seems like every year we find out that China has shipped us yet another product with lead the leaches out into our food/beverage.

All that to say, sometimes when we try to save money we end up potentially endangering ourselves because sometimes we don't know what we don't know.
 

Ivywoods

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I made a quick search and found this page. My take from reading is unless you are 100% positive what is in the glaze, it's safer to not use it. I recommend using a product that you know is safe.
It makes sense. Since this one is a very old antique (actually was an old butter churn) I think I will avoid using it. I'm sure I will find something reasonably priced that will do the job.
 

Scooter68

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If you are just looking for something to ferment the wine in, not age it in, then a food grade plastic bucket would be very inexpensive. Is it a matter of not wanting to use Plastic? For aging of course you can use a Glass carboy. If you are making a small batch you can normally find 4 liter (135 oz) glass carboys at recycling centers if there are any near you. Carlo Rossi is popular inexpensive wine that comes in 4 liter glass carboys and a number of folks on here use them. I've collected about 10 of them so far and actually had more but thinned the herd once I started making larger batches of wine.
 

JBP

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Let's not forget how far we have come in the last 75 years. We have gone through scares about cranberries. We watched the dairy industry flip-flop around on Wax Paper containers, then Plastic, then back to "New Wax free paper" now Non BPA plastic. Aluminum was a cause of Alzheimer's, now it's not. As kids we played with Mercury in our hands and coated coins with it - Now the shut down schools and call in hazmat teams if a forbidden mercury thermometer is broken or even found in the the school sometimes.
In the present day they say that Aluminum has not been connected to Alzheimer's but they say that you can detect a metallic taste if some high acid foods are cooking in aluminum cookware.
Lead - well that seems to remain on the bad boy list but the crazy thing is that it seems like every year we find out that China has shipped us yet another product with lead the leaches out into our food/beverage.

All that to say, sometimes when we try to save money we end up potentially endangering ourselves because sometimes we don't know what we don't know.
We have known since Roman times (thousands of years) that lead is toxic in biological systems. There is no known level of lead that does not have negative impact - about the only thing positive thing that could be said is that there should be no overlap in this situation (fermentatng wine) with the most vulnerable (young, developing neurological systems). As someone with a medical background and research bonafides, as well as years working with lead toxicity, I can tell you lead belongs squarely on the bad boy list. Some of these others are/were speculative or examples of science refining itself. The heavy metals (Pb, Hg), though, are well established. Worth checking instead of risking.

It is a good-looking crock, though.
 

BernardSmith

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Let's not forget how far we have come in the last 75 years. We have gone through scares about cranberries. We watched the dairy industry flip-flop around on Wax Paper containers, then Plastic, then back to "New Wax free paper" now Non BPA plastic. Aluminum was a cause of Alzheimer's, now it's not. As kids we played with Mercury in our hands and coated coins with it - Now the shut down schools and call in hazmat teams if a forbidden mercury thermometer is broken or even found in the the school sometimes.
In the present day they say that Aluminum has not been connected to Alzheimer's but they say that you can detect a metallic taste if some high acid foods are cooking in aluminum cookware.
Lead - well that seems to remain on the bad boy list but the crazy thing is that it seems like every year we find out that China has shipped us yet another product with lead the leaches out into our food/beverage.

All that to say, sometimes when we try to save money we end up potentially endangering ourselves because sometimes we don't know what we don't know.
But we do know that lead is a real health hazard and we do know that mercury is toxic. We also know that PBA leaches and that at certain levels it is also a health hazard. But here's the thing. Science is not religion and science works through observation and hypothesis generation and testing and not through truth claims and beliefs. What we think we know today, we know with some certainty that tomorrow we may need to take into account what we don't know today. So every claim that scientists make is provisional. But provisional truths don't sell advertising in the media (whether online or on paper or TV) so journalists - who are not engaged in science but in writing stories that sell - present the provisional accounts offered by scientists as eye -catching stories: drinking red wine makes you live longer; aluminum causes dementia. But that is not what scientists - those people doing the observing, creating and testing hypotheses, said. Ever. The answer then is to go to the source. And that is a challenge not least because often those papers are written so that only fellow members of the guilds understand the language spoken. And the solution to that is that we all need to learn those occult (hidden) languages used OR those scientists need to learn to speak to people in their own languages or science journalists need to write stories that don't use "click bait" as if their readers are fish.
 

JBP

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But that is not what scientists - those people doing the observing, creating and testing hypotheses, said. Ever. The answer then is to go to the source. And that is a challenge not least because often those papers are written so that only fellow members of the guilds understand the language spoken. And the solution to that is that we all need to learn those occult (hidden) languages used OR those scientists need to learn to speak to people in their own languages or science journalists need to write stories that don't use "click bait" as if their readers are fish.
Agreed. And an excellent case statement for why "communicating science" is mandatory training for my graduate and professional students.

Now, back to winemaking because - it is the weekend!
 

Scooter68

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As I go back to my bottling and ferment monitoring one last comment - Yes - And the media just LOVES to tell a juicy story about any new health threat. Even as Bernard said media reporters most likely have zero idea about what the report or study really says because the report is sometimes impossible for the lay person to understand. And the media doesn't look at who paid for the study/report which also provides insight to the veracity of those things
.
Again not to diminish the actual threats and dangers of these things but just to say that sometimes what is NOT in story is just as important as what is in the story.
I've learned over the years to ask the old "Who, What, Where, When, and Why" questions and if one of them isn't answered - check that out because that may put an entire story into question.

Have a great weekend one and all. I've got to check on my Blackberry wine batch started Wednesday and bottle up a couple of batches in the next couple of days.
 

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