I am in the middle of planning a new RIMS system with a BIAB setup. I have always used silicone tubing, cleaned immediately after every brew day and NPT threaded ball valves. My standard cleaning procedure is after the brew day to recirculate hot PBW for 15 minutes, flush with several gallons of water with the pump, and occasionally run starsan after flushing, but not every time. During the boil I use the pump to recirculate boiling wort for 15 minutes before chilling and I have never had an infection yet. I did take the ball valves apart once and there was a large amount of, er, "gunk" inside of it. I cleaned it out and kept using the ball valve for several subsequent batches and haven't cleaned it out again (it can sit for a month or more at a time between uses). The subsequent batches have not been infected, either, but I presume there is a bunch if gunk in the valves again.
With my new setup I am planning to plumb everything to a brew stand. The big issue with this is that it will be difficult to get the ball valves off for cleaning. The valves in question are new 3 way valves, but I would assume the issues with them should be similar to the issues with 2 way valves, right? The valves will usually have hot wort running through them, but in batches which don't use the hopback, I will do recirculation chilling, and so they will be exposed to theoretically sterile but cooled wort. Do you think it is safe to just recirculate for 15-30 minutes of boiling and gunk be damned, or am I setting myself up for infections? Below is the pipe diagram of the system in question. This back assembly 3 way valve can be problematic because chilled wort will flow through an area that has not seen boiling water yet. The whole valve out to be 212 degrees from the recirculating boiling wort (trapped gunk included), but technically boiling wort will never touch the outflow section. My plan was to squirt a ton of starsan in there and then put a boiled and sanitized hose barb on the end.
IF these valves need to be taken apart every 2 or three brews (or even every one), how do you recommend I hook them up so they will be easily taken out of the system? I had toyed with the idea of putting them on tri clover fittings so I can just unclamp them from the main assembly, but I was wondering if there is an easier (read: cheaper) alternative without having to disassemble a whole bunch of the pipes. I now that anything with threaded fittings is NOT considered clean in place-able, but I am trying to make a system that is ALMOST clean in place. Also- these valves are not the easy to take apart variety (don't know if they come apart at all- but assume they do with a lot of force). If I can't get them open, is it acceptable practice to just throw them in the oven and cook at 450 for 2 hours, which is what I do with my hopback and chiller?