View Full Version : silver sanitization

07-28-2005, 06:17 PM
Ok well in light of the discussion in the equipment forum I started regarding the use of UV light for sanitization, I came up with yet another idea for sanitization that seems at first glance to be more efficacious and less likely to damage the flavor: silver. Silver is a classic bacteriacide and from my research also kills yeast (or at least the3 ones that cause yeast infections;)). Now from a post I put up on another site regarding the use of colloidal silver, which would work quicker, the general concensus was that silver, though non-toxic, can cause an irreparable condition called agyria, characterized by a graying or even silvering of the skin. While not lethal, I dont' think ANYONE wants to walk around looking like the tin-man for the rest of their life.
So instead of colloidal silver, what about larger silver pieces, around 2 or 3 mm in diameter, or better yet what about just leaving a piece of pure silver wire in the mead? When the yeast crash out, so will the silver that has bonded to them. The fragements could easily be filtered out, and since silver is less reactive than hydrogen it won't react with the acid in the mead.
So does this sound like a good idea or just another biohazard spawned from palecricket's convoluted psyche ??? ???3

07-28-2005, 08:00 PM

Kudos to your fertile imagination! Really, it's impressive and inspiring to see so many "left field" ideas come forward from one person.

However, I don't know just how non-reactive silver is. Supposedly, it causes severe off-flavors in cups and mazers either made from or coated with it. One of the regular posters here (I forget who, and I apologize for that) who is a metalsmith, once remarked that it is a poor choice to pair with meads and wines. There are others here who can give details, I'm sure, instead of half-remembered regurgitations.

Cool idea, though!


07-28-2005, 08:33 PM
I'm afraid you would be disappointed in the results of using the silver to create a sanitizing solution. IF you were able to get enough silver into solution to make a difference, then it would be considered a hazardous waste. I am in the photo industry and we have to remove the silver from any waste we dump or we get a 10,000 dollar fine!
Lucky for us, silver is much easier to pull out of solution than to put into a solution!

I like your thinking tho!!! Keep it up! Thinking outside the carboy should be encouraged!!!!!

07-29-2005, 02:32 AM
I'm with GentleKnight on this one, especially in light of x-ray film, etc.

Also silver tarnishes easily, and has a pretty foul flavor (don't ask, 'cause no one wants me to go there!)

However, remember that Tastevins are made of silver, and I do have a silver mazer. I've noticed that when I polish the mazer and then clean it well with warm soapy water there is no imparted flavor. I also have a Tastevin at my Parents' home that we use when it's time to start thieving wine from the barrels. Hmmm, this gives me an idea for some threads in the hive.



David Baldwin
07-29-2005, 09:55 AM

Great thinking outside the box, and good questions.

Ok, now I'm stretching the memory WAY back to my advanced high school chemistry here...

Truly colloidal silver should be harmless and in sufficient concentrations would effectively kill the yeast. However there are a few problems in trying to achieve colloidal silver sterilization.

#1 Creating truly colloidal silver is quite difficult.

#2 Creating silver salts while trying to create colloidal silver is quite easy. (My old chemistry teacher could confirm this if he were still alive - been there done that...)

#3 Colloidal silver won't turn your skin blue but silver salts can do this in sufficient concentration which by the way is a cumulative effect. (An upper midwest politician did this to himself an election or two ago)

#4 Concentrations of colloidal silver in solution have to be fairly high to have the desired effect. Adding a solution of colloidal silver to the must would dilute it beyond effectiveness. Attempting to create colloidal silver within the must will essentially guarantee you a silver salt solution. (Who wants to be Papa Smurf at the next Mead Fest?)

As to non-colloidal silver. Here are my thoughts though I have less experience.
Sterling silver will react more readily than fine (.999) silver will. I believe that most silver drinking goblets etc. are made from sterling silver. Perhapse this is why they impart off flavors??

Good thoughts though. Just because there may be known issues with some of these ideas, it may help us to look them over again and see if there is a workable solution.


07-29-2005, 10:11 AM
. I am in the photo industry and we have to remove the silver from any waste we dump or we get a 10,000 dollar fine!

:o regulations.... gotta love 'em.

Now one other little bit oof info that I'd like to throw out at you is that Hulda Clark, as -- for lack of a better word -- "unique" as she is, did manage to make one significant medical contribution: the development of silver based disinfectants, namely in the form of a spray. Now I'm sure with a little prompting (assuming of course that she's not one step ahead of us), I'm sure she'd be able to apply the same or a similar technology to a liquid sanitizer. As per the offtaste from silver, this is most likey caused by impurities in the silver or any other metal it is amalgamized with (I believe stearling is silver and copper and/or some other metal to prevent tarnishing).
And of course there's always the high spin state of silver (m-state), which I know is non-reactive, can easily be removed from the mead using magnets, and is alleged to hold the same disinfecting properties as its low spin counterpart. It costs around 1.50 per gram retail or can be made by anyone daring enough to melt sodium metal or sodium hydroxide with pure silver for a few hours :-X Plus it can be extracted and reused fairly easily.