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infusion question and containers

geminigirl Jan 19, 2008 05:27 PM

Hi, i'm planning to put up a batch of pineapple vodka and limocello tomorrow and wondering the downside to using plastic containers. I just realized I have a huge plastic container that would be really good, but thinking it might affect the taste and that I should probably stick to glass...anyone have any experience with this? thanks

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  1. eatzalot RE: geminigirl Jan 24, 2008 09:53 PM

    I can't speak from experience with spirits, but here's the general story from the technical angle. Plastic containers vary in their interactions and solubility. For instance, lemon oil from fresh-squeezed lemons will etch foamed polystyrene cups and also some plastic drink containers -- first example caused anxiety 20-plus yrs ago in fast-food industry until it was explained, second caused annoyance in my kitchen when juicing lots of lemons recently off a tree. Some plastics are famously inert and used for storing violently reactive chemicals (HDPE, HDPP, PTFE -- dense polyethylene, polypropylene, and teflon) but it's best to check the specifics of the combination of container and contents. An online search should help. Glass is extremely inert especially to organic solvents (though even glasses dissolve very, very slightly in common liquids like water -- you can measure it). Glass is always safe, but I think I remember that industrial alcohol and even food-grade alcohol (which some wineries make, as a by-product from the pomace, and use for cleaning etc.) are packaged in carboys of high-density polyethylene and polypropylene, which could easily be what your huge plastic container is made of. Milk is shipped in half-gallon or gallon jugs of those plastics. The type of plastic should be embossed on the bottom, in shorthand, with a triangular recycling code. Avoid using polystyrene, polyvinyl, or polycarbonate containers, as a rule of thumb.

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