I'm making a cooling beverage dispenser for carbonated drinks. The keg remains room temperature and the beverage rises through a pipe that's coiled up inside a cooling unit filled with water or alcohol.

My first choice would be copper tubing because of its conductive properties, but I remember reading somewhere that it could lead to some kind of chemical reaction that would be poisonous? As I usually prefer not to kill my guests, and avoid it whenever possible, I'd like to find a good alternative that's able to cool the liquid as quickly as possible. I don't actually know what they were referring to or whether or not they were even right, I'd like some input on the uses of copper or aluminium for the piping or whether I should go with stainless steel.

I'd also like to use this for carbonated water, which might be very carbonized and I want to be able to sanitize the system by running a sanitizer like Star San through it.

Suggestions? Thanks!

  • $\begingroup$ Stainless steel is the safe choice as it is known to survive harsh cleaning environments (like the inside of a dishwasher). While aluminium should be avoided. Copper might work (is is common in domestic plumbing but that doesn't involve sanitiser). And the heat conductivity won't be a critical factor if you design the system right. $\endgroup$ – matt_black Mar 29 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ Domestic plumbing altso doesn't involve CO2 and alcohol. Could you elaborate on why aluminium should be avoided? $\endgroup$ – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Mar 29 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ Copper and many of its compounds are relatively nontoxic when compared to lead. Copper pipes have traditionally been joined using lead-containing solders, which has resulted in poisoning alcoholproblemsandsolutions.org/… . A pure copper cooler might be safe if beverages did not stay in contact with the plumbing for more than a few minutes. $\endgroup$ – DrMoishe Pippik Mar 30 at 1:06

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