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Corrosion in wine / vinegar stopper - is this safe?


Smithy
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One of my sister's friends makes decorative wine stoppers, and gave one as a gift to my sister.  My sister put the stopper into a partly-empty bottle of blackberry-infused balsamic vinegar, and left it in place for some weeks. There was no contact between the stopper and the vinegar, based on the level of the vinegar in the bottle and the fact that the stopper wasn't wet when my sister removed the stopper next.  When she removed the stopper, she saw a layer of crystals growing on the stopper.  There didn't appear to be any corrosion.  I don't have photos of its appearance then, but she packed it along on a road trip in a bag, and this is its appearance now:

 

20160316_095930-1.thumb.jpg.5df99996c2f5

 

20160316_100039.thumb.jpg.4ac9fb7a0d26fa

 

 

 

Questions:

  • What is that corroded layer made of?
  • Assuming that the atmosphere in the bottle caused that corrosion, is the vinegar still safe?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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to decide if its corrosion, scrape it with the back side ( non cutting ) side of a knife or the equivalent.   to get back to the bare metal.

 

if the metal is smooth, its not corrosion.

 

it might be a precipitate , from the vinegar , on the metal etc.  maybe the acid environment did indeed interact with the

 

metal, that may or may not have been that ' stainless '

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I'd do a scrape test and see if it's precipitate or corrosion. If it's corrosion, your sister's friend might want to see this and change suppliers. (and possibly get a refund from her current supplier) if I were buying parts that the manufacturer said were stainless and they weren't, I'd make some changes, fast.

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Thanks for the responses, everyone.  I scraped, and then rinsed and rubbed.  Here are two photos of the result:

 

56ea01f59ff77_stoppercleaned.thumb.jpg.f

 

I think the stopper's shiny surface (see the portion between the handles and the rubber rings) was a simple surface coating to make it look pretty, and that the surface coat was loosened or corroded by the atmosphere in the bottle.  My sister says that before she put the stopper into a plastic bag with some damp items it had rather pretty-looking crystals on the outside.  We have no photos of that stage.  

 

She certainly doesn't plan to use the stopper again for a food substance.  The question is whether the remainder of her expensive blackberry-infused balsamic vinegar is safe.  She'll probably pitch it away (oh, woe).  What would you do?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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10 hours ago, Smithy said:

One of my sister's friends makes decorative wine stoppers, and gave one as a gift to my sister.  My sister put the stopper into a partly-empty bottle of blackberry-infused balsamic vinegar, and left it in place for some weeks. There was no contact between the stopper and the vinegar, based on the level of the vinegar in the bottle and the fact that the stopper wasn't wet when my sister removed the stopper next.  When she removed the stopper, she saw a layer of crystals growing on the stopper.  There didn't appear to be any corrosion.  I don't have photos of its appearance then, but she packed it along on a road trip in a bag, and this is its appearance now:

 

20160316_095930-1.thumb.jpg.5df99996c2f5

 

20160316_100039.thumb.jpg.4ac9fb7a0d26fa

 

 

 

Questions:

  • What is that corroded layer made of?
  • Assuming that the atmosphere in the bottle caused that corrosion, is the vinegar still safe?

Toss it.  Sorry.  Salts from copper or brass are toxic.  If it's zinc, it will make you sick and induce copper deficiency.  Nothing good can come of this, except maybe a bag of real corks for next time.

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