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Old 11-20-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
llama_boy
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Default Moving to sanitary fittings, advice?

After tearing down my 3-piece ball valves and seeing the gunk that gets stuck in the housing I am ready for something better. The plan is to move to 100% sanitary fittings and butterfly valves. The hope is that the plan will result in less contamination and easier cleaning. I would be interested to hear any advice from others who have made the move or are planning it.

Specifically;
Will the move to sanitary fitting really reduce contamination and ease cleaning/sanitation?
What size is appropriate for a 10g batch size? 20g? 1BBL?
Are there tips for reusing some of the new equipment to reduce costs?
Which fittings?
Which vendor?

Currently I have a mash tun, HLT, brew kettle and (Blichmann 14g) conical, all with ball valves. Typically I use a march pump to move the wort however lately I have just used gravity. Together all these ports will represent a substantial investment so I would like to have some good planning.

On a side note, I am currently at 10g but might consider making the jump to 20 or even larger if the retrofit would be a largely offset with the upgrade.


Thanks.

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Old 11-20-2012, 09:04 PM   #2
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Mcmaster-carr sells a bunch of them, but they aren't cheap. The biggest problem I've seen is going to be finding sanitary fittings small enough. Most of the ones I see start at 1", which is way too large and way too expensive for home brewing unless you're going over 1bbl or so.

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Old 11-20-2012, 11:07 PM   #3
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I can't attest as to chat size valve to use for various brewery sizes, but brewers hardware is where I'm sourcing my butterfly valves from for my upcoming upgrade.

http://www.brewershardware.com/Tri-C...terfly-Valves/

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Old 11-21-2012, 01:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packet
Mcmaster-carr sells a bunch of them, but they aren't cheap. The biggest problem I've seen is going to be finding sanitary fittings small enough. Most of the ones I see start at 1", which is way too large and way too expensive for home brewing unless you're going over 1bbl or so.
Disagree. McMaster is overpriced compared to Brewers Hardware. It costs more up-front versus NPT (and if you go stainless NPT, barely more at all), but it's easier to keep clean, assemble/disassemble, etc. If you think you can effectively CIP a threaded fitting, you're fooling yourself.

1" fittings are fine. My 15 gallon system is pretty much all done in 1" TC and using 1/2 silicone lines (stretched over larger barbs to get a true 1/2" flow channel through the barb). Keep in mind that sanitary tubing diameters are all OD. Wall thickness is usually about 1/16 (0.062") on stainless tube, so that 1" tube is really 7/8 inside, and the 1/2 NPT is 7/8" OD.

There are 1/2 and 3/4 tri clamp fittings out there, but they're usually even more expensive, and given the availability of 1" components, there's really no good reason not to go TC if you can justify the small upfront costs versus the ease of ongoing use.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdjohns1 View Post
Disagree. McMaster is overpriced compared to Brewers Hardware. It costs more up-front versus NPT (and if you go stainless NPT, barely more at all), but it's easier to keep clean, assemble/disassemble, etc. If you think you can effectively CIP a threaded fitting, you're fooling yourself.

1" fittings are fine. My 15 gallon system is pretty much all done in 1" TC and using 1/2 silicone lines (stretched over larger barbs to get a true 1/2" flow channel through the barb). Keep in mind that sanitary tubing diameters are all OD. Wall thickness is usually about 1/16 (0.062") on stainless tube, so that 1" tube is really 7/8 inside, and the 1/2 NPT is 7/8" OD.

There are 1/2 and 3/4 tri clamp fittings out there, but they're usually even more expensive, and given the availability of 1" components, there's really no good reason not to go TC if you can justify the small upfront costs versus the ease of ongoing use.

How far down the TC rabbit hole have you gone? Do all the bulkheads on your vessels have TC fittings welded to them? What about your pump, is that TC as well? I ask because I've never heard of a homebrewer going that far into TC fittings.

Personally I use TC fittings for as much as I can on the cold side. Hot side isn't worth it IMO.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yorkbrew

How far down the TC rabbit hole have you gone? Do all the bulkheads on your vessels have TC fittings welded to them? What about your pump, is that TC as well? I ask because I've never heard of a homebrewer going that far into TC fittings.

Personally I use TC fittings for as much as I can on the cold side. Hot side isn't worth it IMO.
Most of the way. My bulkheads are all 1.5" TC (I just bought 15 gallon pots and dimpled/silver-brazed TC ferrules on). With the dimple ground smooth, it's nearly as good as a proper sanitary weld. I brazed on a threaded 1/4 NPT spud that has a tee for my sight glass and thermocouple. Those parts aren't getting torn down quite as often.

My March pumps just have NPT to TC adapters permanently installed (although if Chugger ever releases a SS head with TCs that would be on my upgrade list).

During brew days, I am moving some lines around as I go from mashing to post-boil cooling, so I just did all of my water/wort lines as TCs for flexibility. That way, I can use any line anywhere.
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:43 PM   #7
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This is starting to look like a much larger upgrade as to go completely sanitary I would need to replace the NPT fittings and they are welded in some instances. Think I will put this on hold until I'm ready to do a major upgrade to the brewery. Maybe I need to read up on cleaning techniques..

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Old 11-24-2012, 02:05 PM   #8
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I am building a new system that will incorporate 100% sanitary fittings. The kettles and valves will have 1" tri-clamps, which also has the same clamp size as 1-1/2". The only issue i'm having is that I would like to completely hard plumb everything with 1/2" stainless tubing, but the clamp size for 1/2" is smaller than 1" clamp. I was thinking that I could drill some 1" caps and silver solder them together.

Sanitary fittings are the way to go. Not only does less gunk build up , but the design makes cleaning extreamly easy. Going all sanitary was an easy sell even thou it will cost more.

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Old 11-24-2012, 04:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trillium
I am building a new system that will incorporate 100% sanitary fittings. The kettles and valves will have 1" tri-clamps, which also has the same clamp size as 1-1/2". The only issue i'm having is that I would like to completely hard plumb everything with 1/2" stainless tubing, but the clamp size for 1/2" is smaller than 1" clamp. I was thinking that I could drill some 1" caps and silver solder them together.

Sanitary fittings are the way to go. Not only does less gunk build up , but the design makes cleaning extreamly easy. Going all sanitary was an easy sell even thou it will cost more.
Drilling and silver solder is how I did the TCs on my HERMS tube.

The one caveat is that abrupt diameter changes aren't really supposed to be done in good sanitary design. Even though 1 and 1.5 TCs have the same flange/clamp dimensions, if you're actually changing sizes you're supposed to use a reducer pipe that changes diameter over a 3-4" length.

The rationale behind it is that you can get a "dead spot" when you go from small to large. This is less of a concern with lower viscosity liquids like wort. It also makes it harder to CIP, because it's very difficult to get enough flow in that area to ensure proper cleaning.

My usual method after I've circulated hot PBW solution through all my lines is to just take all the hoses and "non-CIPable stuff", ensure they're visually free of any residues, drop them in the hot PBW to soak for 20-30 minutes, then rinse and dry. They get a StarSan dunk right before reassembly.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:54 PM   #10
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That is true, you want to use the same diameter throughout the entire loop. I noticed that Stout Tanks HERMS coil diameter is much less than tri-clamp on the boil kettle. It would go from 1/2 hose to 1" tank fitting to 3/8" coil. Not ideal at all, but tri clamp fittings would make it very easy to take part and clean after each brew. OK compromise for home brewing but unacceptable for anything larger.

I don't think you could convert an existing kettle with NPT fittings to true sanitary system. Unless you just want to make it easier to take stuff apart.

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