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Old 02-20-2013, 07:58 PM   #1
uberg33k
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Default I recently disassembled my rig and was grossed out (tell me about your triclamps)

So this all came about because I was in a hurry in my last brew day and used muslin instead of fine mesh bags for some hops pellets. They melted into the pot and ended up partially clogging my plate chiller. No big deal, I think, I'll just back flush it with hot Oxy. That seems to clear out or so I thought. Flash forward a couple of weeks and I'm prepping a few days in advance for my next brew day. I happen to put the plate chiller on it's side while doing something else and come back to find a puddle of green ooze. WTF? I cycle between letting it sit filled with hot Oxy and backflushing it. Every time produces more gunk. Ok, time to bake it. When I unscrew the QD's off it, every single thread has some level of brown in it. This leads me to unscrewing every fitting off my kettle and pump, disassembling the pump head, and disassembling the ball valves. Brown film everywhere. It's not a lot, but it is pervasive. I'm not sure how, since all threads are wrapped with 5-10 turns of teflon, I never saw any leakage, and I run hot Oxy through the system for at least 30 minutes after every brew day, but it's there. So after a lot of scrubbing and baking parts, I think I'm back to clean, but I'm officially over it. I'm sure the brown film I found wouldn't bother most people, but I'm too OCD to let it go. I used to think triclamps were overkill, but now I see why people opt for them. Tell me about your triclamp gear. I want to know where you got it, how you designed your system, and what you think now that you have it. I'm especially interested in learning your solution to the pump and HEX equipment component since I can find zero pumps and only one chiller with TC connections. Thanks.

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Old 02-21-2013, 02:37 AM   #2
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For me it was disassembling a ball valve and finding gunk
that was trapped between the ball and the housing.

No more ball valves, only TC butterfly valves.
My brew pot has welded TC fittings.
The pot and most of the fittings/valves came from Brewers Hardware.

I am staying with an immersion chiller. Easy to see if it is clean.

Pump head is still threaded. Plan to convert a ss chugger head
from threads to TC. Heard something about one of the vendors
that hangs our here (might have been Brewers Hardware) was
going to do chugger head conversions to TC.

I find it easy to break down my system after each brew.
Just soak all the TC stuff in pbw for an hour and rinse.
Never did that when it was all threads and teflon tape.
Too much of a hassle.

TC is overkill and expensive and wonderful.

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Old 02-22-2013, 06:48 PM   #3
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I found that the roughness of most stainless steel parts hinders any kind of solution based cleaning. In the pharmaceutical world everything is highly polished to keep stuff from sticking to the metal. Simple caustic and acid washes are used to clean. If stuff gets really bad then you have someone come in to electro-polish the metal. Completely overkill for a home brewer, but it's effective. My guess is you just need some manual scrubbing.

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Old 02-22-2013, 07:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mtbiker278 View Post
I found that the roughness of most stainless steel parts hinders any kind of solution based cleaning. In the pharmaceutical world everything is highly polished to keep stuff from sticking to the metal. Simple caustic and acid washes are used to clean. If stuff gets really bad then you have someone come in to electro-polish the metal. Completely overkill for a home brewer, but it's effective. My guess is you just need some manual scrubbing.
Manual scrubbing I'm ok with! What I don't want to have to deal with is a breaking out a couple of channellocks and a roll of teflon tape every time I have to clean my gear. I want a system where I can easily break down my rig, inspect it, and ensure it's clean. It also seems like I spend 4x the amount of time cleaning as I do brewing. I know cleaning is a bit part of brewing, but I'd like to knock that down to at least 1:1. I wouldn't mind paying a bit more to get a little closer to "pharmaceutical smooth", but there don't seem to be many options. I know this is extreme to some, but there are other brewers out there that have gone this route and figured it out. I'm just hoping to gain some knowledge from my OCD brothers and sisters.
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