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Old 11-05-2011, 03:54 PM   #1
Kaanan
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I'm not sure where to put this, but it sounds like more of a beginners question to me. I spend the morning calling hardware stores looking for stainless steel ball valves. They all say their valves are brass on the outside and SS on the inside. To me it makes no difference on what it's made of as long as it can handle the high temps on brew day and won't react badly to my SS brew pot.

So my question is, can I put a brass, or even copper (one store had them) ball valve on my brew pot?

 
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:04 PM   #2
Golddiggie
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You can, but you can also order up a 3 piece stainless steel ball valve (1/2") for about $20 (plus shipping)...

I went with brass ball valves originally, but have since changed them to 3 piece stainless models. Being able to clean them in place, without removing them, is worth more than the price difference. If I was to go back, I'd start with the 3 piece stainless models from the beginning.

I would look for a LHBS, or one that's within driving range, to see what they get for 3 piece stainless models.
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:14 PM   #3
Kaanan
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Wouldn't cleaning be as easy as running boiling water through it?

 
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:31 PM   #4
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No. That will sanitize it, but to clean you actually need to CLEAN it. For example, I got some QD's from a person on these boards that 'cleaned' them via the boiling water method. Well, I got them and started them soaking in a PBW solution and then used a nylon brush to scrub them. I did this over the bucket of PBW. Let me tell you, what came out of the fittings made me glad that I did this.

I use a PBW soak to clean pretty much all my brewing hardware. With 3 piece ball valves, I have the option of soaking them in PBW too, without completely removing them from where they're installed.

Another advantage of the 3 piece ball valves is the ability to re-orientate the valve assembly within it. Such as if you put it where it will go and it's 90 or 180 degrees off from where you want the handle to be. Simply take it apart, orientate the middle section as you want it, and put it back together again.

Keep in mind, you don't need to take apart the ball valves with every batch. Especially if you use PBW in the kettle to clean it up post brewing. I actually use my kettle to mix the PBW up in, and let everything soak in that. This means I'm running PBW through the ball valve and it's against the inside portion of it. I still run a nylon brush through the valve during the soak (I open it up for this). Having the ability to completely break down the valve when it's time to clean it completely is well worth the cost.
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Hopping Tango Brewery

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
Waiting/Carbonating: 12.5% Wee Honey II, 8.9% Old Ale, English Brown Ale, Lickah ESB, Mocha Porter II
Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
On Deck: Caramel Ale
Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine

 
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:39 PM   #5
Kaanan
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I was just too eager to run to home depot and pick one up. I see it's time to use some restraint! I'm placing an order to BF on monday.

 
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Old 11-05-2011, 05:11 PM   #6
Hammy71
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I clean my ball valves with boiling water all the time. The secret is to work the valve while the water is flowing through it. If you don't the side of the ball in the valve will still have crud on it for later. Besides, they get hot enough to kill the baddies anyway. Back to the OP. I, like a lot of people started out with brass valves and have since changed most of them out to stainless. My HLT still has a brass valve, and the brass hasn't killed me yet.

 
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