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Old 01-26-2013, 02:33 AM   #1
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Default Dirty Ball Valve CIP Experiment

Hey brewers, I have leeched so much good information from this forum over the years that I thought it was time to contribute a little something so I thought I'd post the results of a little experiment I did this past week. Like a lot of brewers I have a rig with more than a couple of ball valves on it. I am guessing that like me most brewers don't take apart their ball valves after each brew. I just circulate PBW throughout the system and call it good. This has worked fine for me for years and I have never gotten an infection, at lest not to my knowledge, of course I also circulate boiling wort through the system before chilling as well. Wise men say to CIP with your ball valves half open so that PBW can cover as much of the inside as possible. I also fully operate all of my valves several times each during the process as well as during the clean water flush at the end. Well, I wanted to see what it looks like if you just CIP with the ball valve open and don't operate it at all during the process. I took off two ball valves after my last brew, one that I opened and closed during CIP like normal and the other I just left open. Hopefully these pictures upload OK so you can behold the funk.

Dirty ball valve that was not operated during CIP recirculation
dirty.jpg

Spotless ball valve that was opened and closed during CIP recirculation as well as final flush.
clean.jpg

So the lesson here for all you ball valve users out there is to develop a solid process for your ball valve CIP and do it every time. CIP with your ball valves half open. Also open and close your valves several times during CIP as well as during soak and clean water flush. Hope that helps shed some light on the hidden mysteries of ball valve CIP.

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Old 01-26-2013, 02:40 AM   #2
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Not a bad first post!

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Old 01-27-2013, 03:29 PM   #3
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You should put together a video to show the different processes. This looks like the perfect candidate for something people need to see as a video. But that is an impressive difference.

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Old 01-29-2013, 04:14 AM   #4
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Yeah a video showing the fundamentals of a proper CIP would be nice. I was quite surprised at how dirty it was but I guess it makes sense when you think about how a ball valve works. Plus I don't have a screen on the brew kettle inlet so it is circulating everything in the kettle. I don't get worked up about threaded fittings and bacteria laden crevices but I think I am going to start replacing all the valves that don't require precise flow control with sanitary butterfly valves which don't trap sediment. In the mean time one thing I am going to do is develop a brew day checklist and stick to it as I have been known to be a bit forgetful, especially since the keezer is right next to the brew rig.

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Old 01-29-2013, 04:38 PM   #5
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Nice first post. I just posted this in another post but it is very appropriate. Spend the extra $5 and get a 3-piece ball valve. This way you can take the thing apart and give it a nice deep cleaning every once in a while. This plus your technique should keep a ball valve spotless.

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Old 01-29-2013, 05:52 PM   #6
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Very nice first post. Exactly why I suggest people do this. Glad to see pictures of it.

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Old 01-29-2013, 07:07 PM   #7
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When I get off work I'm gonna clean my balls with that method. All kidding aside, very great post.

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Old 01-30-2013, 06:53 AM   #8
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I used to take my 3-piecers apart every time on cold-side stuff. Now I use butterfly valves, which are really nice I might add. At the 1'' size, they are cheaper than ball valves anyway.

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Old 01-31-2013, 05:05 AM   #9
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I hate to show my ignorance here but what is the "CIP Recirculation" process? I'm in the middle of a brewing rig build and ths sounds like something I should know more about.

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Old 01-31-2013, 05:17 AM   #10
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CIP is an abbreviation for Clean-in-Place

The idea is you get yourself some kind of chemical cleanser (PBW is a favorite) in a nice hot solution and recirculate it through your system to clean out your equipment and lines.

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