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Cleaning and sanitizing ball valves

After listening to an episode of Brew Strong recently, I realized that I am not cleaning out my ball valve well enough. Considering that beer at pitching temp is moving through that valve into the primary, wouldn’t it actually make sense to sanitize it as well? I never have, but am wondering how many of you do sanitize your valves before brew day? The truth is, that anything cold side should be sanitized, and boiling wort doesn’t touch the inside of the valve. Many brewers actually take their assemblies apart for cleaning every time???!!? Chime in on your approach.

I never have, but maybe I should? I just thought that the valve is very warm to the touch while boiling and anything that may be left would be taken care of. Just used my BK with a valve on it for the first time last weekend, so maybe I should. Would like to hear what others do also?

For quite a number of brews I never disassembled my BK ball valve for cleaning, then one day I decided to do it. Wow, that was an eye opener. Now I take care of it on a routine basis, not every time, but probably every 3 or 4 brews.

I run some boiling water through it after brews. WHen done cleaning I will squirt some sanitizer through it and then I also keep them covered while I am not brewing.
During brewing I figure the high heat of the boil is killing anything else in there. If it was really bad I would assume I would have some nasty beers coming

I’m pretty lazy about it. After a brew session when I’m washing my keggle, I put my garden hose to the inside aperture of the ball valve assembly and with a good blast of water going, open and close the ball valve repeatedly to “pressure wash” it inside, and haven’t had any problems. I also use my keggle for my hot liquor/sparge water tank and always heat more water than I transfer to the lautertun, so I’ll try to remember to run out a good portion of the extra water that’s around 180F - 185F through my ball valve after draining sparge water to the lauter tun.

I actually use a heat shield to protect my ball valve from the burner flame heat, so I’m quite positive that what’s inside it is getting pasteurized during the boil.

I take mine apart once a year. It’s amazing what junk gets in there.

Although some junk may stick in there and a yearly cleaning can be shocking, the valve and even the fitting on the outgoing side get thoroughly sanitized by the heat of the boil, so there is little concern. Nothing in there will be living and it won’t taint your wort. All systems are different, so if you have fittings past the valve that don’t get heat from the boil or get hot wort recirculated through them before the end of the boil, then you have a concern.

I did a test using digital thermocouples a number of years ago, and all parts were above 180F for most of the duration.

Nothing before the boil such as mash tuns needs anything more than a basic cleaning with dish soap.

Here is a pic of the gunk that lives in a 3-piece stainless top-quality ball valve that gets frequent use and really good rinsing…

Go to the three piece stainless ball valve. It’s easy to clean, sanitize and put back together. It’s worth the exta $$$. The host site sells a quality valve.

2-piece valves come apart too.

Dish soap! My mashtun gets a hosewater rinse and an airdry and that’s it. It smells like a grain burp!

[quote=“Wahoo”][quote=“Dean Palmer”]
Nothing before the boil such as mash tuns needs anything more than a basic cleaning with dish soap.
[/quote]

Dish soap! My mashtun gets a hosewater rinse and an airdry and that’s it. It smells like a grain burp![/quote]

Yeah, mine gets nothing but a rinse also. I’m wondering if I should take it all apart, but I’ve only done 5 AG batches so far.

Paul

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