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  1. #1

    Lead testing in bourbon, step by step

    Thought this might interest some other members. With all the talk of lead leaching from ceramic decanters and the fact that I have a Graphite Furnace Auto Analyzer at my lab which is utilized to run leads weekly, I figured I would get off my lazy ass and actually prep a few samples and shoot them through the machine. I have 3 samples from my collection a 1968 Beam, 1970 old Fitz decanter and a 1971 old Fitz figural decanter also there is a 1986 Weller decanter member sent me a sample out of.

  2. #2

    Lead testing in bourbon, step by step

    Step #1 is sample prep which consists of an acid digestion of the sample. Basically you add concentrated nitric acid and then cook the sample until most of the water boils off. For this step I started with 10mls of bourbon and then added acid and a bit of DI water to the sample to make it easier to digest without loss from spattering. Once cooked I will adjust the volume to 10mls as to not have any dilution factor.


  3. #3

    Lead testing in bourbon, step by step

    Step #2. After digesting the samples are brought back to the original 10ml volume and then centrifuged to remove any particles. Which there was a fair amount of in the older samples..

    The rest will follow this evening after the AA run is complete

  4. #4
    Guru
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    2,284

    Re: Lead testing in bourbon, step by step

    Subscribed! Fascinating stuff Michael!
    ¡Geaux Tigers! - ¡Visca el Barça!

    "Really though, my hands are sore. The tool was doing it's thing with a flex hose." -Barrel_Proof

  5. #5
    Advanced Taster
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    May 2012
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    ATX
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    Re: Lead testing in bourbon, step by step

    This is exciting. After so much theorizing around here, I'm really excited to see what your results are from some legitimate testing.

  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    130

    Re: Lead testing in bourbon, step by step

    Very cool - I am extremely excited to see the results!

  7. #7

    Lead testing in bourbon, step by step

    Start of step#3 the determination step involves a ton of calibration and calibration checks then throw in a few method blanks and you have 2 hrs into setting up the machine. The basic premise of how the graphite furnace AA works is a small aliquot of sample is heated at 2600°, every metal gives off a specific wave length of light when it burns so the machine has a detector to determine how much of a given wave length of light is emitted..

  8. #8
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec
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    49

    Re: Lead testing in bourbon, step by step

    Howdy!

    Wicked cool! Looking forward to seeing (and reading) about the results. I don't know whether to be thankful or annoyed that we never got any decanters up here in Quebec... This might help me make up my mind.

  9. #9

    Lead testing in bourbon, step by step

    The finale, to start lets keep in mind the drinking water limit for lead is 15 ppb. I think that is a fair comparison in a way as you are consuming it in the same way but not nearly consuming as much..



    The 1968 Beam 18 ppb, 1970 Old Fitz 21 ppb, 1971 Old Fitz figural 103 ppb and the 1986 Weller 59 ppb.. For shits and giggles I ran a 2012 FrSBLE through and lead was not detected.

  10. #10
    Guru
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Houston
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    2,490

    Re: Lead testing in bourbon, step by step

    Thanks a million Mike! All of the levels are much lower than anticipated. Clearly it's safe to drink any of those in moderation. I think I'll be drinking a little Weller this weekend.
    I've never tried GTS with any sort of soda. Maybe I'm missing out; but I'm OK with that.

 

 

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