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Pin style vs. threaded CIP balls?

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IanMC

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Hi all,

I am in the market for a CIP ball, and am a little confused as to exactly why "pin style" connections are a thing. I can't find any information anywhere else online, so I'm hoping someone here can shed some light.

For some context, here are examples of the two styles:
Threaded https://www.glaciertanks.com/tank-cip-spray-balls-sb-npt-100-250-fnpt.html
Pin style https://www.glaciertanks.com/tank-cip-spray-balls-sb-100-250-pin.html

Is there any benefit to the pin style, other than it allows for a spray ball to be added to any arbitrary piece of pipe (after drilling holes), rather than requiring a threaded connection to first be added? Is it "more sanitary", given the lack of threads?

I'd appreciate any information, or even well reasoned guesses, as it seems like this is a piece of pro brewer arcana that is not spoken of online.

Thanks!
 
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IanMC

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Meaning that the pin style would be easier? I suppose you don't have to worry about thread tape with the pin style, but I have also always found cotter pins to be a little difficult to work with.
 
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Is there any benefit to the pin style, other than it allows for a spray ball to be added to any arbitrary piece of pipe (after drilling holes), rather than requiring a threaded connection to first be added? Is it "more sanitary", given the lack of threads?

I'd appreciate any information, or even well reasoned guesses, as it seems like this is a piece of pro brewer arcana that is not spoken of online.

Thanks!
You pretty much hit the nail on the head with the benefits of the pin style spray balls. They can be added to a piece of pipe by just drilling a couple holes, and some might prefer the ease of connecting and disconnecting compared to their threaded counterpart.

It would be more sanitary due to the lack of threads, but if the spray ball is used for cleaning, then that isn't so much of an issue.
 
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IanMC

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Thanks! That's exactly what I needed to know.

By the way, I love your website/products!
 

Qhrumphf

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In a perfect world I like welded rotating spray balls. Excellent coverage.

The one thing that a stationary pin fastened ball has is ease of cleaning the ball itself, especially if it gets clogged.
 
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IanMC

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See well here's where I make things complicated and reveal that I will actually be using this as a mash recirculation return, and thus will need to periodically disconnect the ball to clean any grain bits that get sucked up by the pump.
 

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See well here's where I make things complicated and reveal that I will actually be using this as a mash recirculation return, and thus will need to periodically disconnect the ball to clean any grain bits that get sucked up by the pump.
So you actually WANT to oxidize the mash? HSA is not really ideal.
https://homebrewacademy.com/lodo-brewing-basics/
 
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IanMC

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Are you saying that you think it will be constantly getting clogged up with grain bits, rather than rarely? I am using a BIAB system, so I figured the grain should be pretty well contained. Still, I would like to hear any concerns or advice before I build this thing.

As for HSA, I am under the impression that the community consensus these days is that it is kind of an unfounded boogeyman from the old days of homebrewing, and that is no longer really concerned about. As long as the fermentation is healthy, none of the oxidation should carry over to the finished product (per Charlie Bamforth on an old Brew Strong show). Is public opinion on this starting to change again?
 

augiedoggy

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Are you saying that you think it will be constantly getting clogged up with grain bits, rather than rarely? I am using a BIAB system, so I figured the grain should be pretty well contained. Still, I would like to hear any concerns or advice before I build this thing.

As for HSA, I am under the impression that the community consensus these days is that it is kind of an unfounded boogeyman from the old days of homebrewing, and that is no longer really concerned about. As long as the fermentation is healthy, none of the oxidation should carry over to the finished product (per Charlie Bamforth on an old Brew Strong show). Is public opinion on this starting to change again?
I dont want to fo too far off topic and its just my opinion here but since its your thread and you asked. I used to hear the same about HSA and paid no attention to it. my beers came out fine.. were they as good as they could be and did the shelf life suffer?
Theres no doubt that HSA has some effect on how the beer looks and tastes. kind of its like cooking with stale ingredients that have been left out .. along with the aroma that comes from the sprinkling wort, much of the flavor escapes and the color is often different as well.

Think of a raw steak thats been left out or hop pellets for that matter which oxidize and change color and flavor rather quickly if exposed to oxygen. (which is why they are most often stored in nitrogen filled vacuum sealed bags.)
Just do this experiment and take a sample from your fermenter.. Whip it up real good with a spoon or whip and leave it sit for a half hour or so and then take a fresh sample and compare the flavors of each.

heres a recent thread that touches on oxidation.
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/...stainless-steel-fermenter-w-ferm-data.637255/
Also As @mongoose33 can tell you it makes enough difference that hes had to change and adjust all his recipes.

Ive been doing a lot of reading on this since I am in the process of opening a brewpub and the more I read the more I realize lodo is something many breweries follow to one degree or another.

I also think your spray ball will plug, I use all mine at the brewery for cleaning and even then grain sometimes finds its way in and fowls things up.
We have a stout spray pipe in our 3bbl MT which I no longer use for the sparge water since it just add more oxygen which does no good at this stage. I use a simple piece of silicone hose fr my rims return which works better than any sparge arm setup ive tried and Ive tried a bunch in the past.
 
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IanMC

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I dont want to fo too far off topic and its just my opinion here but since its your thread and you asked. I used to hear the same about HSA and paid no attention to it. my beers came out fine.. were they as good as they could be and did the shelf life suffer?
Theres no doubt that HSA has some effect on how the beer looks and tastes. kind of its like cooking with stale ingredients that have been left out .. along with the aroma that comes from the sprinkling wort, much of the flavor escapes and the color is often different as well.

Think of a raw steak thats been left out or hop pellets for that matter which oxidize and change color and flavor rather quickly if exposed to oxygen. (which is why they are most often stored in nitrogen filled vacuum sealed bags.)
Just do this experiment and take a sample from your fermenter.. Whip it up real good with a spoon or whip and leave it sit for a half hour or so and then take a fresh sample and compare the flavors of each.

heres a recent thread that touches on oxidation.
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/...stainless-steel-fermenter-w-ferm-data.637255/
Also As @mongoose33 can tell you it makes enough difference that hes had to change and adjust all his recipes.

Ive been doing a lot of reading on this since I am in the process of opening a brewpub and the more I read the more I realize lodo is something many breweries follow to one degree or another.

I also think your spray ball will plug, I use all mine at the brewery for cleaning and even then grain sometimes finds its way in and fowls things up.
We have a stout spray pipe in our 3bbl MT which I no longer use for the sparge water since it just add more oxygen which does no good at this stage. I use a simple piece of silicone hose fr my rims return which works better than any sparge arm setup ive tried and Ive tried a bunch in the past.
Hmm, okay, I understand your point and appreciate you articulating it. Perhaps I will consider a gentler pump return instead. Indeed, the thread has gone off topic now, but ultimately I am just seeking advice on my next build, so that's no problem with me.

For your silicone hose return, do you just lay it on top of the mash? Do you use a float ball or anything like that to keep it on the top? Does the liquid exit from a single hole at the end of the tubing, or do you have multiple holes in it? I have some concerns about a single hole causing channeling, but I've also heard that this is less of an issue with BIAB as the mash is so loose anyway.

My motivation for the spray ball was that, a) I have a 2" tri clamp port at the top of my kettle; b) I will be making batches of differing sizes, so I need a return that is either variable in height or is high enough that it can accommodate everything, thus some kind of downward-spraying device seemed to make sense; c) the ID of a 2" TC port is too narrow to accommodate any TC sparge arm I could find; d) a spray ball could be repurposed at the end of the boil to CIP the vessel; e) finally, I couldn't find any TC spray balls that had a small enough connection to fit through my 2" TC ferrule, but NPT and pin/slip connections work fine, which brings me to the beginning of this thread.

I appreciate any thoughts or advice. Thanks!
 
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schematix

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tl;dr: epic fail awaits you

lol good thing you mentioned this is intended to be a mash return.

1. it's going to clog right away unless you are using a fine mesh bag in your tun to pre-filter smaller than the hole size.
2. obviously HSA, but unless you're deaerating your strike water it probably won't make it worse because you've already fully oxidized it with the strike water.
3. these things spray in all directions, including up. they are designed to create impingement in vessel walls. this is going to keep the grain bed from settling well and is going to be spraying sticky wort in all directions.
4. you're gonna have to clean it almost every use
 
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IanMC

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tl;dr: epic fail awaits you

lol good thing you mentioned this is intended to be a mash return.

1. it's going to clog right away unless you are using a fine mesh bag in your tun to pre-filter smaller than the hole size.
2. obviously HSA, but unless you're deaerating your strike water it probably won't make it worse because you've already fully oxidized it with the strike water.
3. these things spray in all directions, including up. they are designed to create impingement in vessel walls. this is going to keep the grain bed from settling well and is going to be spraying sticky wort in all directions.
4. you're gonna have to clean it almost every use
I want to address your points in order to offer some context, but not to negate/dissuade the advice you're giving, as ultimately that is what I'm seeking. I've done a lot (too much) of thinking about this, so here is how I had planned on solving the issues your brought up.

1) I am using a wilserbrewer BIAB bag (fine mesh);
2) Didn't think this was an issue until about 4 posts above. That said, I see plenty of pictures of homebrewers and professional breweries doing essentially exactly the same thing, either using a CIP ball, sparge arm, or other top-mounted mash recirculation return;
3) I have 2 spray balls that I've tested with, a 1/2" NPT one and 1" pin connection, and as long as I throttle the pump output somewhat, the spray is confined to the downward facing holes, and is gentle;
4) I planned on cleaning in place with PBW afterwards, through the same spray ball.

Please let me know if you think these solutions do not address the issues you brought up. Thanks!
 
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schematix

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1. You're good with regards to chunks then.
2. OK
3. OK so you're pretty much dripping it down. Have you tried this on an actual mash? I think you have a reasonable chances of digging a deep hole in the grain bed.
4. OK. Hope you have better luck with CIP than i ever did.
 
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IanMC

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1. You're good with regards to chunks then.
2. OK
3. OK so you're pretty much dripping it down. Have you tried this on an actual mash? I think you have a reasonable chances of digging a deep hole in the grain bed.
4. OK. Hope you have better luck with CIP than i ever did.
No, I have never used a brewing pump before (except in tests for this system), and have never done a mash recirculation before. I'm trying to build a system that will allow for the shortest and most hand-off approach possible, with the fewest amount of parts to clean and assemble, as I am extremely time limited. My final goal is a highly automated recirculating mash induction eBIAB system. I've been brewing for about 10 years, but have only managed brew sessions in the low 2 digits in those years due to time constraints, and I absolutely loathe clean up.

I'll take your advice to heart. Now I am envisioning something like a silicone hose return with a stainless steel float ball, a la Blichmann Autosparge, but fed directly from the pump with the output throttled. I'm still a little concerned about a single hose return, as opposed to some kind of multi-hole manifold, causing channeling.

Thanks.
 

schematix

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No, I have never used a brewing pump before (except in tests for this system), and have never done a mash recirculation before. I'm trying to build a system that will allow for the shortest and most hand-off approach possible, with the fewest amount of parts to clean and assemble, as I am extremely time limited. My final goal is a highly automated recirculating mash induction eBIAB system. I've been brewing for about 10 years, but have only managed brew sessions in the low 2 digits in those years due to time constraints, and I absolutely loathe clean up.

I'll take your advice to heart. Now I am envisioning something like a silicone hose return with a stainless steel float ball, a la Blichmann Autosparge, but fed directly from the pump with the output throttled. I'm still a little concerned about a single hose return, as opposed to some kind of multi-hole manifold, causing channeling.

Thanks.
I have a piece of locline that is wide open on the end. Cheap and simple. I can also change where it's pointing if needed.
 

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I just have the silicone line long enough to wrap around the inside diameter of the mashtun so it literally deposits at the wall of the kettle on top of the grainbed creating a bit of a gentle whirlpool action. I used to use the plastic locline (None foodgrade BTW unless its all black) and the SS brewtech sparge thingy.. in the end they all offered no advantage over the hose for me.

I disagree that some oxygen in your sparge water will do the same amount of oxidation damage as literally aerating your entire mash and sparge water with the CIP ball for a couple hours but thats just my opinion.
 

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I used to do the long silicone tubing but I had a few times where it moved and burrowed into the grain bed. Black locline was easy to rig in and it’s been good since.

Besides aeration concerns, returning below the liquid line is just cleaner and more energy efficient. You make a lot of steam showering it.
 
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IanMC

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How do you feel about locline's cleanability? A simple silicone tube will of course be trivial to clean and sanitize, but I'm concerned about all the nooks/crannies/threads in locline.
 

schematix

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How do you feel about locline's cleanability? A simple silicone tube will of course be trivial to clean and sanitize, but I'm concerned about all the nooks/crannies/threads in locline.
I'd be scared to use it in a sanitary application but i have good luck cleaning it with just water. I just make sure to twist all the joints under running water and it cleans up nicely. I put my locline section on a QD so i can take it off the vessel easily.
 
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IanMC

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I'd be scared to use it in a sanitary application but i have good luck cleaning it with just water. I just make sure to twist all the joints under running water and it cleans up nicely. I put my locline section on a QD so i can take it off the vessel easily.
Sounds good. Thanks again for all your help!
 
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