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Old 01-29-2013, 03:43 AM   #1
CRStew88
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Default Advantage of Ball Valve on Brew Pot

Looking for some information, as I am getting my homebrewing started and trying to get some half-decent equipment.

Ive been looking at the different brew pots available, in the 5-10 gallon range, and noticed that one difference that stands between many of the less and more expensive ones is the ball valve on the more expensive ones.

Can someone please let me know the function of the valve, if you think its worth the money, and if there are other accessories I would need to take advantage of this feature...

Much appreciated, thanks

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Old 01-29-2013, 03:48 AM   #2
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The valve allows you to drain the pot, as opposed to having to pour/siphon it.

A nice feature on any pot, closer to necessary for 10+ gallon batches.

I don't have such a valve, but I only do 5 gallon batches, and can handle that much wort.

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Old 01-29-2013, 03:49 AM   #3
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Single port really the only benefit I can see is if you make a whirlpool chiller you can pump from the valve.

Another nice thing ive found is poking a ton of tiny holes near the top into some spare tubing that you use for draining your pot, it will suck in huge amounts of air while draining and basically aerate the wort for you.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:12 PM   #4
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It also depends on the brewing method that you use. I do BIAB, and have a 60qt. commercial stock pot with a spigot that I picked up on Craigslist. I will never go back to a kettle without one. After chilling, I just slide the pot so that the spigot is over the edge of the stove, place the bucket primary under it and open the valve. No lifting or siphoning, and some aeration to boot!

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:24 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice. Does sound like it could be worth it to avoid the pouring and spilling with larger batches.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:28 PM   #6
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Ball valves are very useful when moving fluids from one vessel to another. If you're brewing extract, and if you're using an immersion chiller, you can likely do without one of these. But if you start looking at all grain, or start to consider plate or counter flow chillers, ball valves become invaluable. First off, in traditional all grain brewing (the BIAB guys have devised a way around this), it's dang near impossible to have a workable HLT or a mash tun without a ball valve, and use either gravity or a pump to drain the water from the HLT into the mash tun and the wort from the mash tun into the kettle.

Another thing to keep in mind: ball valves can be relatively easily retrofitted onto most kettles, so long as you're not overly shy about drilling a hole in the side of your kettle. There are a couple of good vendors for weldless fittings, where you can get a bulkhead, valve, and diptube for $40-$60 shipped, depending on exactly what you're looking for. So don't think that you're stuck forever with a valve-less pot, just because that's what you bought at first.

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Old 01-29-2013, 03:17 PM   #7
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Also, if you ever intend on having a plate chiller, or integrating a pump into your system for recirculation or sparging, valves are pretty much required.

But definitely the most practical use of a valve is being able to transfer wort without having to move/lift the kettle.

Weldless valves are easy to add to pots, and much cheaper than buying a pot with the valve already on them. I installed my own three-piece ball valve with a pickup tube, all stainless steel, in my Bayou Classic 44 qt pot for about $33.00. I'm about a 6/10 on the DYI handy scale, and it took me a easy 10-15 total to drill and install all the hardware.

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