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Making wine in galvanized milk containers

(-----) 2007

Q. I think what everyone really wants to know: Is it ok to make moonshine [or wine] out of a galvanized milk container, since you are collecting the vapors, cooling it into a liquid and drinking it? Just say what's on your mind. Is this OK?

John Young
Driver - St. Pete, Florida


A. No, it's not, John. Zinc is not a food-safe surface; it is too easily soluble in too many things. Possibly including milk, but certainly including wine. -- but are you sure they are galvanized, not tinned? Copper pots, etc., have been tinned for a long time, and tin is food safe.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. In many countries, hot dip galvanized containers were used to collect milk from dairy farms, to transport it to milk processing bottling plants. Originally in horse drawn wagons. This practice of using these containers must have ceased more than 30-40 years ago in most countries though. Milk being fairly neutral probably picked up little if any zinc, but your wine will be acidic at times and acid will dissolve zinc readily and become zinc rich.
While humans cannot survive without zinc, excessive amounts are also not good, and to be avoided.
Many of these old milk containers (about a meter high- 39", and hold perhaps 75 liters - 15 gal) still exist and could be seen as a useful container. Today much milk is collected from farms in road tankers with stainless tanks. Wine too is sometimes made in stainless.

Geoff Crowley
Crithwood Ltd.
Westfield, Scotland, UK
crithwood logo


thumbs up signThanks for the education, Geoff :-)

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

June 7, 2013

Q. I have an old milk can that I had brass plated over 30 years ago.
I would like to return it to its previous finish.
Any suggestions?

Rolande Anderson
- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

June 19, 2013

A. Well if the brass plate is on the exterior, mechanical abrasion would probably be the best bet. You're not going to be able to remove that brass plate without stripping any galvanized coating underneath, regardless of chemical or mechanical stripping. Zinc is just too energetic about reacting with stuff.

Marc Banks
Blacksmith - Boone, North Carolina, USA

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