This article is from the Beer and Other Brewing FAQ, by Kurt Swanson email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
There has been a good deal of "discussion" as to whether or not the
use of aluminum in brewing contributes to Alzheimer's disease. Thanks
to Oliver Weatherbee for providing to following:
Aluminum has NOT been linked to Alzheimer's disease. The following is
taken from "Frequently Asked Questions About Neurological Problems" at
The Department of Neurological Surgery of The Cleveland Clinic
"There is little support for the theory that aluminum causes
Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia in the United
States. The exact cause of this disease is unknown, although the risk
of Alzheimer's is higher when there is a family history of this
Workers exposed to high levels of aluminum in industrial environments
have no increased incidence of Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore,
careful studies to date have not shown an increased aluminum
concentration in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients.
Since there is no convincing evidence linking aluminum toxicity with
Alzheimer's disease, you need not worry about exposure to aluminum in
Furthermore, Brewing Techniques (Jan/Feb '95) had an article on a
parallel brew experiment using an aluminum brewpot and a stainless.
Laboratory analysis showed that there was no significant difference in
trace aluminum levels between batches. They also pointed out that most
of the Al you digest is from your food and water. And for that matter,
many medical people consider copper a bigger health risk.
As for off flavors, IF this happens (hearsay IMO), it is probably the
result of the brewer scrubbing the oxidation layer of the pot during
cleaning. Don't scrub, use a soft cloth or sponge and non-abrasive
cleaner. This is one of the reasons Al is not used much commercially,
its not caustic cleaner friendly.