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Doubling Down: SS Brewtech Conical + FTSS + Glycol Power Pack

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Gustatorian

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This was my first go at the uni tank, so I lightly carbed the beer and the pressure gauge was reading somewhere around 10 psi. I bled off the head pressure, then set the CO2 regulator and spunding valve as mentioned.

In hindsight, I wasted CO2 since I should have not bled head pressure and set the spunding valve accordingly lower than the donor tank. Still getting my process down.

And yes, Gustatorian, beer from the uni-tank can be transferred non-carbed, partially carbed or fully carbed. Any of the above will work to be pushed to keg, and O2 exposure can be minimized with proper techniques. Moving carbed beer can create foaming issues, so having a counter-pressure process will help plus I figured moving the beer very slowly will help too. This was my first foray carbing in a tank, so this was a learning experience. I considered carbing in keg, but since the tank offers carb capabilities, I wanted to try this function. To me, it seems almost preferable to simply carb in the keg.
Interesting, and insightful! I assume the closer you can close the pressure gap between donor vessel and receiving vessel, the less likely you're going to have foaming issues during transfer, correct?
 

jready

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I have only “pushed” one beer from my tank so far but I have two ss brite tanks where I use the same procedure and I have had no issues. I use the mfl reducer, beer line, ball lock to the out post on the receiving keg. I push starsan out of the receiving keg to pressurize it and clear the oxygen. I pressurize the unitank to desired co2 level per style. Once it’s sat long enough I hook the whole thing up “burp” the keg to relive the pressure. Once that has happened I open the racking port and begin filling the keg. I crank down the pressure on co2 at this point to get it close to 5-6. You then just periodically “burp” the keg as pressure normalizes. A sounding valve would help for sure.

It works very well and no foaming. I think it is because you are filling from the bottom of the keg. Again, only one unitank batch so far but many with the brite tanks
 

Morrey

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Interesting, and insightful! I assume the closer you can close the pressure gap between donor vessel and receiving vessel, the less likely you're going to have foaming issues during transfer, correct?
Very true, the closer the pressures of the donor and receiving kegs, the more counter pressure is created which helps control foaming. The downside is, the closer the pressures, the slower the transfer. A 2 or 3 pound pressure difference controlled foaming well, but again, the transfer rate was fairly slow.
 

Morrey

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I had issues clearing the dump valve while using a yeast that forms a cake reminding me of the texture of a foam rubber pillow....wlp002. I put a QD and a 12" hose on the dump valve, but figured I needed to close off the BO ball valve so it wouldn't suck up star san when dumping. Would this happen...possibly?

Anyway, smart me decides to pressurize the tank lightly to move the trub along. I go to a modest (I thought) 5 psi and open the valve holding a pan to catch the trub. I see it moving along the tube very slowly, then suddenly it breaks free and shoots out of the tube like a ballistic tip rifle round. Following that a bunch of "baby poo" went all over...we are talking a mess here. Next time I dumped it was not such a hard plug and it flowed easily. I also learned to s l o w l y open the valve.

Is my logic correct in that I should be closing off my BO cane and ball valve so I wont draw star san back in the tank? And if I don't pressurize the tank slightly, won't this create a pressure stalemate in which nothing will flow even if completely liquid? Just checking to see how other uni-tank owners are clearing the yeast trub. Thanks.
 

Morrey

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So you only utilize that racking port on the Uni when transferring beer into a keg, correct? I assume you just take samples from the sample port and leave the racking port alone? Do you have to turn the liquid-out post on the Uni prior to transfer so that the racking arm rotates within the vessel?
Right, I just leave the racking arm alone until time to move beer to keg. Use the sample port for all other evaluations such as gravity checks and carb levels.

I orient my racking arm inside the keg to point toward 3 o'clock...or 9 o'clock if you choose. As beer is siphoned off and the level drops, I turn the arm down slightly towards 6 o'clock monitoring with a sight glass to make sure the pick up remains clear.



Yeah, samples from the sample valve. Easy and no risk of making a giant mess.

You can pretty easily rotate the valve assembly to spin the racking arm up or down. I thought at first it might be difficult or that you'd have to loosen it up and risk spilling beer everywhere but nope... it simply turns.
I used a bit of keg lube on the TC gasket so when I loosened the clamp slightly, the valve assembly was lubricated and turned smoothly w/o dragging or binding on the gasket (silicone) material.
 

dunnry

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I had issues clearing the dump valve while using a yeast that forms a cake reminding me of the texture of a foam rubber pillow....wlp002. I put a QD and a 12" hose on the dump valve, but figured I needed to close off the BO ball valve so it wouldn't suck up star san when dumping. Would this happen...possibly?

Anyway, smart me decides to pressurize the tank lightly to move the trub along. I go to a modest (I thought) 5 psi and open the valve holding a pan to catch the trub. I see it moving along the tube very slowly, then suddenly it breaks free and shoots out of the tube like a ballistic tip rifle round. Following that a bunch of "baby poo" went all over...we are talking a mess here. Next time I dumped it was not such a hard plug and it flowed easily. I also learned to s l o w l y open the valve.

Is my logic correct in that I should be closing off my BO cane and ball valve so I wont draw star san back in the tank? And if I don't pressurize the tank slightly, won't this create a pressure stalemate in which nothing will flow even if completely liquid? Just checking to see how other uni-tank owners are clearing the yeast trub. Thanks.
If you are pressurizing, you have to keep that blowoff valve closed or it will just blow out the hose.

If you meant, will it suck up BO bucket water absent pressurization when you open the dump valve? Then yes, it will. I have accidentally done that when dumping trub (or cold crashing).

Once, I was cold crashing and it had sucked a nice 2 foot long line of blowoff bucket water up, but not quite into, the fermenter. I stupidly lifted the hose to try and let that liquid dump back out - nope. Instead of falling back into the bucket, it shot straight into the fermenter. You always need to relieve the vacuum at the fermenter seal, not with the hose (lesson learned).

Now, I always apply head pressure at 1-2psi when doing anything like cold crashing or dumping. That way, stuff goes OUT and not into the fermenter.
 

Morrey

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If you are pressurizing, you have to keep that blowoff valve closed or it will just blow out the hose.

If you meant, will it suck up BO bucket water absent pressurization when you open the dump valve? Then yes, it will. I have accidentally done that when dumping trub (or cold crashing).

Once, I was cold crashing and it had sucked a nice 2 foot long line of blowoff bucket water up, but not quite into, the fermenter. I stupidly lifted the hose to try and let that liquid dump back out - nope. Instead of falling back into the bucket, it shot straight into the fermenter. You always need to relieve the vacuum at the fermenter seal, not with the hose (lesson learned).

Now, I always apply head pressure at 1-2psi when doing anything like cold crashing or dumping. That way, stuff goes OUT and not into the fermenter.
Exactly. While pressurizing, I used my BO tube in which to force CO2 through, then sealed the ball valve off to hold the pressure in.

You answered my question well regarding if I tried to dump trub W/O pressurizing, had the BO tube in a star san bucket (valve open), then proceeded to dump. I figured this would create a vacuum in that the star san would be drawn back into the tank. Thanks for your reply, and glad I asked before sucking sanitizer back into the tank.
 

Dockside_Brewing

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Exactly. While pressurizing, I used my BO tube in which to force CO2 through, then sealed the ball valve off to hold the pressure in.

You answered my question well regarding if I tried to dump trub W/O pressurizing, had the BO tube in a star san bucket (valve open), then proceeded to dump. I figured this would create a vacuum in that the star san would be drawn back into the tank. Thanks for your reply, and glad I asked before sucking sanitizer back into the tank.

How are you attaching the Co2 to the blow off tube?
 

Morrey

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I use a short length of 3/8" silicone blow off tubing coming off the barb I attached to my Blow Off cane ball valve on the uni tank into a star san jug. On my CO2 tank and regulator I have 5/16" red gas line. I bought a 3/8" to 3/8" brass barbed connector (barb both ends) from Home Depot. I found the need to heat up the gas line in a cup of hot water to make it pliable so the barb will go in. Once it does, it would be difficult to get it back out unless you cut the hose with a knife.....which is a good thing in this case and I just leave the barb in the red hose permanently. Close off the BO cane valve, remove the silicone tube from star san, then attach the two hoses with the barb connector. Start the CO2 low, open the ball valve and you are good to go til you hit desired pressure, then close the ball valve and turn off gas. Pull the hoses apart and the barb will come out of the 3/8" silicone tube easily leaving the barb in place in the red gas line.

I setup a regulator on a 5# CO2 tank with a Y valve using one of the lines as described above and the other line with a gas ball lock QD for purging tanks and similar uses. I rigged this up as a dedicated system so I don't need to swap out the regulator each time I have a need for this.
 

Dockside_Brewing

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Thanks for the info. My Unitank will arrive the first week of December. I plan on performing pressurized transfer of fully carb beer using the spunding valve.
 

Morrey

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Great, you've made a good decision to buy the Ss Uni Tank. If you need any tips or pics along the way, just give a shout out. The valve configuration is a bit tight at the bottom, but a few trial and error placements will make it more clear. I posted a pic of my configuration back in this thread a few post ago, and this way works for me. I keep this tank in use continually.
 

Dockside_Brewing

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Great, you've made a good decision to buy the Ss Uni Tank. If you need any tips or pics along the way, just give a shout out. The valve configuration is a bit tight at the bottom, but a few trial and error placements will make it more clear. I posted a pic of my configuration back in this thread a few post ago, and this way works for me. I keep this tank in use continually.

I appreciate the offer. I ordered the leg extensions so hopefully that will help. I will definitely be looking for tips on this unit.
 

Morrey

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I appreciate the offer. I ordered the leg extensions so hopefully that will help. I will definitely be looking for tips on this unit.
Cool, I didn't realize leg extensions were available for the uni tanks. Mine is a 14G uni tank...anyone else put leg extensions on theirs? Stability ok when tank is full?
 

Gustatorian

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Theoretically, I think this would work. But, I'd like to check with the hive mind to get some opinions.

I have a 7G Chronical (not the UNI) in which I close transfer into kegs at about 2-3 PSI pressure. Currently I open the PRV of the keg, releasing all of the CO2 and then open the racking arm from the Chronical to fill the keg.

I've never worked with a spunding valve, but here's what I'd like to do...would this work? If I purged the keg with CO2 and then set the spunding valve to 1 PSI, could I technically fill the keg with a close transfer? I would assume it would still flow with the 2-3 PSI pressure on the chronical. Has anyone tried this?
 

Dockside_Brewing

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Cool, I didn't realize leg extensions were available for the uni tanks. Mine is a 14G uni tank...anyone else put leg extensions on theirs? Stability ok when tank is full?

Yes they are the same legs for the 14 gallon conical. I double checked with SSBT.
 

dunnry

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Theoretically, I think this would work. But, I'd like to check with the hive mind to get some opinions.

I have a 7G Chronical (not the UNI) in which I close transfer into kegs at about 2-3 PSI pressure. Currently I open the PRV of the keg, releasing all of the CO2 and then open the racking arm from the Chronical to fill the keg.

I've never worked with a spunding valve, but here's what I'd like to do...would this work? If I purged the keg with CO2 and then set the spunding valve to 1 PSI, could I technically fill the keg with a close transfer? I would assume it would still flow with the 2-3 PSI pressure on the chronical. Has anyone tried this?
Yes, but you don't need a spunding valve for this when you are talking about 1 or 2 psi. Simply put a gas connect without the hose attached on the gas in post. Then fill through your liquid out post. Assuming you purged the keg with CO2 beforehand, it will simply push the remaining CO2 out and you will fill without oxygenation.
 

Morrey

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Theoretically, I think this would work. But, I'd like to check with the hive mind to get some opinions.

I have a 7G Chronical (not the UNI) in which I close transfer into kegs at about 2-3 PSI pressure. Currently I open the PRV of the keg, releasing all of the CO2 and then open the racking arm from the Chronical to fill the keg.

I've never worked with a spunding valve, but here's what I'd like to do...would this work? If I purged the keg with CO2 and then set the spunding valve to 1 PSI, could I technically fill the keg with a close transfer? I would assume it would still flow with the 2-3 PSI pressure on the chronical. Has anyone tried this?
I have 2 of the 7G brew buckets so theoretically they are not designed to be pressurized. BUT, I apply VERY low pressure like 2-3 lbs and push gently. If you over pressurize you can hear the gas hissing around the lid seal. I have a spunding valve for other reasons, but I wouldn't buy a spunding valve just for this low pressure use. Like Dunnry says, just open the keg's PRV so there is no counter pressure to prevent flow. If you happen to build yourself a spunding valve for all purpose uses, as long as the pushing vessel's pressure is over and above that of the receiving keg, you'll get flow. The closer together those two pressures are, the slower your flow rate will be.
 

Gustatorian

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I have 2 of the 7G brew buckets so theoretically they are not designed to be pressurized. BUT, I apply VERY low pressure like 2-3 lbs and push gently. If you over pressurize you can hear the gas hissing around the lid seal. I have a spunding valve for other reasons, but I wouldn't buy a spunding valve just for this low pressure use. Like Dunnry says, just open the keg's PRV so there is no counter pressure to prevent flow. If you happen to build yourself a spunding valve for all purpose uses, as long as the pushing vessel's pressure is over and above that of the receiving keg, you'll get flow. The closer together those two pressures are, the slower your flow rate will be.
I usually open the PRV. When it's opened, CO2 leaves the keg (very quickly) and beer fills from the liquid-out post. I assume this will yield essentially the same results as just attaching a gas disconnect to the gas-in post,like Dunnry is saying. Although people say that the CO2 blanket within the keg will protect beer flowing in, and the flow of CO2 moving out will prevent oxygen from entering the keg...gas is miscible. Furthermore, the gas flowing out of the keg (through the PRV), at the speed that it's being displaced by the beer, doesn't have the force to keep ALL oxygen molecules out. With the PRV open, you're still getting a minimal amount of oxygen in the keg. By reducing the surface area available for gas to exchange (via a spunding valve), your decreasing the chances of miscibility and ultimately decreasing the amount of oxygen molecules in the keg.
 

Morrey

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With the PRV open, you're still getting a minimal amount of oxygen in the keg.
In certain situations and with some of my fermenters (like brew buckets), I find it easier to fill a closed keg and simply leave the keg's PRV open so there is no back pressure. If we start with a CO2 purged keg, begin transfer flow and then open the PRV, do you (we) feel that there is going to be a large amount of O2 coming back into the keg? If the beer going into keg is pushing CO2 out of the keg, how much opportunity will be for O2 to swim against the current and invade the keg?
 

Morrey

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I usually open the PRV. With the PRV open, you're still getting a minimal amount of oxygen in the keg.
I find it easier to open the PRV on the keg when I transfer from brew buckets which cant take more than a pound or two of pressure. Starting with a CO2 purged keg, how much O2 do we expect to come back into the keg when opening the PRV?

Since the beer is displacing any gasses in the keg and forcing then out, does that keep O2 from coming back in?

I think the "gotcha" will be when we initially allow the CO2 to escape suddenly, what happens then? Does O2 rush back into the keg to equalize? This has the potential to be a biggie for those who focus on oxidation concerns. Wish I knew more about this.
 

Dockside_Brewing

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The primary reason I want to use the spunding valve it is to control foaming since I will be completing carbonation in the unitank. Secondary reasons are preventing O2 from entering and also so I don't have to keep purging the PRV on the keg while filling it.
 

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I usually open the PRV. When it's opened, CO2 leaves the keg (very quickly) and beer fills from the liquid-out post. I assume this will yield essentially the same results as just attaching a gas disconnect to the gas-in post,like Dunnry is saying. Although people say that the CO2 blanket within the keg will protect beer flowing in, and the flow of CO2 moving out will prevent oxygen from entering the keg...gas is miscible. Furthermore, the gas flowing out of the keg (through the PRV), at the speed that it's being displaced by the beer, doesn't have the force to keep ALL oxygen molecules out. With the PRV open, you're still getting a minimal amount of oxygen in the keg. By reducing the surface area available for gas to exchange (via a spunding valve), your decreasing the chances of miscibility and ultimately decreasing the amount of oxygen molecules in the keg.
This concern about oxygen entering is entirely negligible for what we are talking about. Otherwise, the keg filling industry would be in trouble (and yes, I have filled kegs commercially). However, if you are truly concerned about it, then just drop a length of line into a bucket of water from the gas out. It will happily bubble as you displace the keg's head space.
 

dunnry

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The primary reason I want to use the spunding valve it is to control foaming since I will be completing carbonation in the unitank. Secondary reasons are preventing O2 from entering and also so I don't have to keep purging the PRV on the keg while filling it.
Spunding valves are great for carbonated or high pressure applications. The challenge of what someone was talking about is when you are pushing uncarbonated beer with only 1-3psi, not carbonated beer at 15+ psi. Most spunding valves are not sensitive enough for 1 or 2psi to open and when your conical is uncarbonated at equilibrium with air pressure, foaming is not a concern either. Two different things.

Commercial kegs filled from a fully carbonated bright tank don't typically use a spunding valve either, btw. The kegs are filled with CO2 and pressurized to near bright tank pressure. Once connected to bright tank, they are allowed to slowly fill by bleeding out the pressure through a small ball valve on the keg connection. No foaming there either (as long as you do it slowly).

For fully carbonated beer, if you don't have a valve to control the outflow of CO2, then you have a foaming concern. A spunding valve would act as that valve in this case (in higher pressure scenarios). I am agreeing with you for carbonated scenarios.
 

Morrey

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Spunding valves are great for carbonated or high pressure applications. The challenge of what someone was talking about is when you are pushing uncarbonated beer with only 1-3psi, not carbonated beer at 15+ psi. Most spunding valves are not sensitive enough for 1 or 2psi to open and when your conical is uncarbonated at equilibrium with air pressure, foaming is not a concern either. Two different things.

Commercial kegs filled from a fully carbonated bright tank don't typically use a spunding valve either, btw. The kegs are filled with CO2 and pressurized to near bright tank pressure. Once connected to bright tank, they are allowed to slowly fill by bleeding out the pressure through a small ball valve on the keg connection. No foaming there either (as long as you do it slowly).

For fully carbonated beer, if you don't have a valve to control the outflow of CO2, then you have a foaming concern. A spunding valve would act as that valve in this case (in higher pressure scenarios). I am agreeing with you for carbonated scenarios.
You are following my thinking 100%. Using a spunding valve on a keg transferring non-carbed beer with 2 psi on a bucket not designed to be under pressure is a challenge to be sure. If you feel only a negligible amount of O2 is introduced by simply leaving the PRV open on a CO2 purged keg, I am good with that. Sure beats the old days when we racked beer from an open fermenter into an open keg with an auto siphon.

My spunding valve is from Williams Brewing but I wish the adjustment was more sensitive, especially at lower pressures. I bet I could replace the small relief valve and spring on the rig with something that is more precise. If anyone has a source for a better relief device, I'd like to look into it. Like you say, I really use this valve when moving carbed beer at higher pressures so counter pressure can be controlled.
 

Gustatorian

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This concern about oxygen entering is entirely negligible for what we are talking about. Otherwise, the keg filling industry would be in trouble (and yes, I have filled kegs commercially). However, if you are truly concerned about it, then just drop a length of line into a bucket of water from the gas out. It will happily bubble as you displace the keg's head space.
This is a great idea! Thanks!
 

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How is everyone cleaning their Unitanks? CIP? If so wouldn’t the cooling coil block the spray somewhat? Especially with the 7g version I would think where the CIP ball would essentially be in the middle of the cool.
 

Morrey

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How is everyone cleaning their Unitanks? CIP? If so wouldn’t the cooling coil block the spray somewhat? Especially with the 7g version I would think where the CIP ball would essentially be in the middle of the cool.
CIP is probably your best option for convenience. I have a 7gpm Chugger pump and use the micro spray ball. If I was using a nano pump (or similar) with a higher flow rate, I'd use the larger CIP ball. The uni tank's coils will reduce the effectiveness of the CIP spray action. I bought the optional 6" TC to 3" TC reducer from Ss BT. Using this assembly gets the coils out of the way so your spray pattern doesn't get broken up, then I just clean the coil separately since it is easy to do once removed.
 

Gustatorian

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CIP is probably your best option for convenience. I have a 7gpm Chugger pump and use the micro spray ball. If I was using a nano pump (or similar) with a higher flow rate, I'd use the larger CIP ball. The uni tank's coils will reduce the effectiveness of the CIP spray action. I bought the optional 6" TC to 3" TC reducer from Ss BT. Using this assembly gets the coils out of the way so your spray pattern doesn't get broken up, then I just clean the coil separately since it is easy to do once removed.
What's the big difference between the two CIP balls?
 

Morrey

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What's the big difference between the two CIP balls?
Micro ball is about half the size of the standard ball. Smaller size creates more back pressure better suited for 7 gpm pumps. Bigger tanks above 14G are probably better suited for the full sized balls and pumps bigger than 7 gpm.
 

Gustatorian

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Micro ball is about half the size of the standard ball. Smaller size creates more back pressure better suited for 7 gpm pumps. Bigger tanks above 14G are probably better suited for the full sized balls and pumps bigger than 7 gpm.
Is a 7 gpm pump with a micro ball sufficient enough to clean a 7G Chronical?
 

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Here is what I came up with for switching between co2 and o2.
20171124_214052.jpg
 

martianpc

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BrewHardware.com has it. It's a 3/8" npt to 1/4" npt adaptor then the keg post adaptor. Then the ball lock post
 

Morrey

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Is a 7 gpm pump with a micro ball sufficient enough to clean a 7G Chronical?
Oh yes for sure. I kegged a batch from my 14G uni tank yesterday and used my micro ball with my 7 gpm Chugger pump. Ran it for 20 min with a bucket (4G) of hot tap water and PBW. Clean as a whistle.

As I mentioned before, I take my cooling coils out and use the CIP ball with a 6" to 3" TC reducer. I feel getting the coils out of the way for an effective spray pattern helps to get superior cleaning. If the Chronical has fixed coils, removal may not be possible like it is with a uni tank, but the position of the coils in a Chronical is not quite as impeding in comparison.

My final step after rinsing is to run a bucket of Star San thru the system. Of course this gets a whole tank full of foam, so I plan to try the new low foaming version of Star San now on the market.
 

Morrey

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BrewHardware.com has it. It's a 3/8" npt to 1/4" npt adaptor then the keg post adaptor. Then the ball lock post
Excellent! So the barb I have been pushing my gas line on is removable? I haven't looked that closely.
 
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