Dirty Ball Valve CIP Experiment

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

jtlintstockings

New Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2009
Messages
3
Reaction score
6
Location
Nashville
Hey brewers, I have leeched so much good information from this forum over the years that I thought it was time to contribute a little something so I thought I'd post the results of a little experiment I did this past week. Like a lot of brewers I have a rig with more than a couple of ball valves on it. I am guessing that like me most brewers don't take apart their ball valves after each brew. I just circulate PBW throughout the system and call it good. This has worked fine for me for years and I have never gotten an infection, at lest not to my knowledge, of course I also circulate boiling wort through the system before chilling as well. Wise men say to CIP with your ball valves half open so that PBW can cover as much of the inside as possible. I also fully operate all of my valves several times each during the process as well as during the clean water flush at the end. Well, I wanted to see what it looks like if you just CIP with the ball valve open and don't operate it at all during the process. I took off two ball valves after my last brew, one that I opened and closed during CIP like normal and the other I just left open. Hopefully these pictures upload OK so you can behold the funk.

Dirty ball valve that was not operated during CIP recirculation
Dirty.jpg

Spotless ball valve that was opened and closed during CIP recirculation as well as final flush.
Clean.jpg

So the lesson here for all you ball valve users out there is to develop a solid process for your ball valve CIP and do it every time. CIP with your ball valves half open. Also open and close your valves several times during CIP as well as during soak and clean water flush. Hope that helps shed some light on the hidden mysteries of ball valve CIP.
 

mo_feezy

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2012
Messages
98
Reaction score
5
Location
Salina
You should put together a video to show the different processes. This looks like the perfect candidate for something people need to see as a video. But that is an impressive difference.
 
OP
J

jtlintstockings

New Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2009
Messages
3
Reaction score
6
Location
Nashville
Yeah a video showing the fundamentals of a proper CIP would be nice. I was quite surprised at how dirty it was but I guess it makes sense when you think about how a ball valve works. Plus I don't have a screen on the brew kettle inlet so it is circulating everything in the kettle. I don't get worked up about threaded fittings and bacteria laden crevices but I think I am going to start replacing all the valves that don't require precise flow control with sanitary butterfly valves which don't trap sediment. In the mean time one thing I am going to do is develop a brew day checklist and stick to it as I have been known to be a bit forgetful, especially since the keezer is right next to the brew rig.
 

Lab_Rat

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2012
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Nice first post. I just posted this in another post but it is very appropriate. Spend the extra $5 and get a 3-piece ball valve. This way you can take the thing apart and give it a nice deep cleaning every once in a while. This plus your technique should keep a ball valve spotless.
 

Coldies

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2010
Messages
590
Reaction score
21
Location
Carlsbad
When I get off work I'm gonna clean my balls with that method. All kidding aside, very great post.
 

StMarcos

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2008
Messages
979
Reaction score
38
Location
Santa Crus Mountains
I used to take my 3-piecers apart every time on cold-side stuff. Now I use butterfly valves, which are really nice I might add. At the 1'' size, they are cheaper than ball valves anyway.
 

texashomer

Active Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
29
Reaction score
7
Location
murphy
I hate to show my ignorance here but what is the "CIP Recirculation" process? I'm in the middle of a brewing rig build and ths sounds like something I should know more about.
 

weirdboy

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 18, 2009
Messages
8,220
Reaction score
495
Location
Los Angeles
CIP is an abbreviation for Clean-in-Place

The idea is you get yourself some kind of chemical cleanser (PBW is a favorite) in a nice hot solution and recirculate it through your system to clean out your equipment and lines.
 

crawlspacestudios

Active Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2014
Messages
36
Reaction score
5
So I just stumbled across this thread. I had brewed quite a few decent batches. The last 4 though however, I have had to dump because of contamination. I am ocd about my cleaning, but just took apart my valve on the boil kettle. It looked like your first picture. I cleaned it the best I could, but it was still very gunky. I kept the valve closed during the boil and auto-siphoned hoping to avoid the valve completely...however, batch still contaminated. Do you think the valve could still be causing the contamination? Would PBW remove the gunk? The problem is that some of the heat from the boil really blackened it inside the valve. After dumping the 4th batch in a row, I am pretty bummed. Thanks for the input and great post!!!
 
OP
J

jtlintstockings

New Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2009
Messages
3
Reaction score
6
Location
Nashville
crawl,
Sorry to hear about the dumped batches, I know that feeling. My gut is telling me the valve is probably not causing the problem if for no other reason than you have had successful batches before using the same valve and setup. Also I would think the valve on the boil kettle would get hot enough to kill most bacteria over the course of an hour. That said I would definitly take apart that valve, and soak all of the parts in PBW (assuming it is stainless) for an hour or two. PBW will clean anything in the brewery it comes in contact with. It is all I use. When I had a bad batch a while back, I went through every single piece of equipment and cleaned with hot PBW solution starting with the fermentor and working backwards. Then sanitized with Star San. Problem solved, but I did not know which piece was the actual problem. Also remember PBW doesn't sanitize, it just cleans. The podcast "Brew Strong" had a great episode on sanatization that I can't recommend enough. Hope that helps, don't give up!
 

crawlspacestudios

Active Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2014
Messages
36
Reaction score
5
crawl,
Sorry to hear about the dumped batches, I know that feeling. My gut is telling me the valve is probably not causing the problem if for no other reason than you have had successful batches before using the same valve and setup. Also I would think the valve on the boil kettle would get hot enough to kill most bacteria over the course of an hour. That said I would definitly take apart that valve, and soak all of the parts in PBW (assuming it is stainless) for an hour or two. PBW will clean anything in the brewery it comes in contact with. It is all I use. When I had a bad batch a while back, I went through every single piece of equipment and cleaned with hot PBW solution starting with the fermentor and working backwards. Then sanitized with Star San. Problem solved, but I did not know which piece was the actual problem. Also remember PBW doesn't sanitize, it just cleans. The podcast "Brew Strong" had a great episode on sanatization that I can't recommend enough. Hope that helps, don't give up!
Gotcha. I will disassemble everything today and soak in hot PBW solution. Should I do this will the boil kettle as well, (along with the disassembled valve?) I have never had any problems until recently. I used to just rinse my boil kettle out with water after every use and then would be good to go next time. Thanks for the help!!
 

crawlspacestudios

Active Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2014
Messages
36
Reaction score
5
Gotcha. I will disassemble everything today and soak in hot PBW solution. Should I do this will the boil kettle as well, (along with the disassembled valve?) I have never had any problems until recently. I used to just rinse my boil kettle out with water after every use and then would be good to go next time. Thanks for the help!!
Forgot to ask, how often should I clean all of my hoses? I always pump star san through the auto siphon afterwards and thought that would be good enough. Do you use PBW on all your hoses?

Kevin
 
Top