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automotive anti-freeze instead of glycol

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  • automotive anti-freeze instead of glycol

    I need to know about the risks of running automotive anti-freeze in a glycol system. Is their a real risk of a cooling jacket leaking internally in a fermenter? What is the likelihood of a contamination of the beer. Are there any other issues with the use of anti-freeze in the cooling of fermentation and serving vessels or in paralell cooling systems for beer lines?

    A hypothetical scenario:
    Say a brewer takes over as head-brewer at a small mom and pop type brewpub and discovers that anti-freeze is being run to cool beer lines and the fermentation and serving tank jackets. Assuming that the anti-freeze is problematic as a coolant, what would remediation entail? Will the process disrupt the cooling of beer and fermentation? How expensive is the remediation and change-over to food grade-glycol?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  • #2
    if you have to use the Low Tox anti freeze you can get it at your local auto store.




    • #3
      Ask A Lawyer

      The brewing part of your question is easy. Tear out all of your beer lines and replace them. Don't use any thing that is potetialy posions. Read the plastic bottle this stuff came in. Flush every thing that you know is non-porous as many times as you can, before you use food grade glycol. Remove all porous materials and have them disposed of. If this was a true senario you better be calling a lawyer, because this has huge ramifications.



      • #4
        what kind of ramifications?

        It is my gut feeling that this is a very bad idea, and it seems like problems could result.

        I need to know what problems could develop? Can serving tank jackets leak into the product?


        • #5
          saving lines

          Instead of ripping out lines, couldn´t one just completely drain the existing lines, then flush and rinse completely with water, then refill with glycol??


          • #6
            Can cooling jackets leak into the beer? My, oh my, Oh Hell yes!


            • #7
              Great Beer

              Originally posted by shiva
              if you have to use the Low Tox anti freeze you can get it at your local auto store.



              I'll be sure never to drink the beer from both Revolutionary Brewing Co and Ascheville Pizza and Brewing Co.


              • #8
                Automotive anti-freeze is glycol but ethylene glycol which is toxic. Food grade glycol is normally propylene glycol which is “non”-toxic. ( btw,ethylene is better at heat transfer) Both in there natural state are colour-less, but Industry standards may add colouring, green for ethylene and pink for propylene. Check to make sure!

                I’m sure local, state and any other regulatory require “food grade” glycol and if found to be other wise, is a problem.

                Yes, there is a risk of leakage of glycol into the fermentor. The glycol is separate by a single stainless steel wall as thin as 4mm. (depending on the manufacturer) Due to damage, wear or other factors leaks can occur. As far as beer lines go, they may be a corrosive/degradation effect on the beer line using ethylene glycol. (Check with the supplier)

                Remedial action:
                I would drain the system(disposing properly the ethylene mix) and flush with fresh water several times, making sure the water is going though all the tanks and lines. When you’re sure the system is clean, refill with a water/propylene mix between 35-50% propylene.

                From my experience Food-grade propylene glycol cost has been about twice that of ethylene.(maybe a reason why people might try and use ethylene!)


                • #9
                  USP Grade Propylene Glycol

                  There are propylene glycol based antifreeze products that market themselves as "safe", although they could be classified as "food grade" this glycol is very low grade and you will not find many chiller manufacturers that will endorse using this product. Not only will it breakdown quickly but could also gum up your system.

                  We specify that USP Grade Propylene Glycol is utilized with all of our chiller systems. Although the upfront cost is higher, it is minor compared with using a low grade propylene, or the safety risks of using an ethylene based product.

                  I am unsure what the best method would be to clean your lines and vessel jackets after exposure to ethylene glycol? I would consult with your chemical supplier to see what products or process they might recommend.

                  Good luck,

                  Pro Refrigeration Inc.


                  • #10
                    "I am unsure what the best method would be to clean your lines and vessel jackets after exposure to ethylene glycol? I would consult with your chemical supplier to see what products or process they might recommend."

                    Agree 200%. also, you have to test the coolent after flushing. I do not now of any cleaning solution to clean cooling system for a brewery for your hypothetical questions since I never come across it.

                    Sorry, but better safe then sorry!....customers and you.
                    Last edited by matt; 03-04-2007, 02:06 PM.


                    • #11
                      Thank you to all!

                      I needed some professional opinions to be able to justify the remediation of the, real problem.

                      Thank you for your input. I needed scientific, brewery standard information so that I can remediate appropriately.

                      Don't worry. I will clean this situation up. I will not tarnish the name of my company, any more than I have done it here...apparently.

                      Please know, this was not my doing. I inherited the problem and I am now doing due diligence before demanding a change; I don't want to be the guy that cries wolf.

                      Thanks again.



                      • #12
                        not that i recemend using auto anti freeze but if you do use the low tox but we have a chemical company in our town that has food grade glycol on hand.




                        • #13
                          Don't use automotive grade glycol, ethylene or propylene (Sierra antifreeze).

                          There are additives in it for scouring the inside of your engine, I think they are essentially REALLY small glass beads. They WILL ruin your pumps seals. They score the seal faces and the pumps will leak.
                          Johnson Thermal Systems


                          • #14
                            Thanks again

                            The hypothetical owner is completing the hypothetical flush of the hypothetically automotive anti-freeze cooling system and replacing it with hypothetical food-grade glycol.



                            • #15
                              He didn't know

                              the hypothetical owner had no idea of the significance of this issue.