SS Brew Bucket routine cleaning

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pym99

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I am in the middle of cleaning my SS Brew Bucket after my first batch in it. I have seen conflicting advice on the net about whether or not to unscrew the ball valve and thermowell (I have the Brewmaster edition).

Some people say they just take the racking arm out and fill up the bucket with PBW, let it sit for 30 minutes or a few hours, then drain, rinse, and Star San.

Others say they unscrew the ball valve (and presumably thermowell) every batch and soak those in PBW in addition to the rest, or boil them for a half hour or so.

Still others say they disassemble the ball valve every batch or every few batches and PBW/boil them.

Obviously taking everything apart completely after every batch is the absolute safest bet, but the official instructions make no mention of doing that. They just say to clean with PBW and sanitize with Star San without taking anything apart.

Is there any consensus on what’s necessary to do every batch vs. once in a while?

Thanks!
 

MikeCo

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Lately I have only been removing the valve to clean it since it’s easy to remove. I leave the thermowell in place since it requires wrenches. It’s still easy to remove for cleaning, but I don’t find it necessary after every batch. I’ve never boiled anything.
 

RCope

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2 brew buckets, 60 batches...I physically wash the insides with dish soap and water, rinse very well, allow to dry with the valve half open. Of course I remove the racking arm and wash with soap and water, rinse, put it into the freezer (to re-shrink the crappy little o-rings). Fill with some starsan and drain out a bit through the valve and racking arm just prior to filling on brew day. Took apart the valve on each bucket and soaked in PBW after about 20 batches. Never removed the thermowell after the first installation. No problems...
 

Jtvann

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If it's a moving part and can be taken apart, why not do it.

You said it's the safest already.

What are we talking about, 10 mins of work at the most? I had 2 brew buckets for years and disassembled everything every time.

Just using your examples above:

Option 1- lazy option and will risk infection not cleaning BALL VALVES on the cold side. Seriously?

Option 2: Half ass cleaning. Still not cleaning a freaking ball valve on the cold side.

Option 3: The only way to do it and be right. If it screws, unscrew it. If it twists, untwist it. If it comes off, take it off. I'd lighten up on this stance of we were talking about triclamp fittings. It's a weldless ball valve though. It's the worst thing to use on the cold side. I like brew buckets, and they're cheap for a reason. They're cheap because you have to put more effort into cleaning.
 

brew703

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2 brew buckets, 60 batches...I physically wash the insides with dish soap and water, rinse very well, allow to dry with the valve half open. Of course I remove the racking arm and wash with soap and water, rinse, put it into the freezer (to re-shrink the crappy little o-rings). Fill with some starsan and drain out a bit through the valve and racking arm just prior to filling on brew day. Took apart the valve on each bucket and soaked in PBW after about 20 batches. Never removed the thermowell after the first installation. No problems...
Yea those orings suck. Might have to try putting in the freezer to shrink them up.
 

Chorgey

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Yea those orings suck. Might have to try putting in the freezer to shrink them up.
I didn’t realize that freezing the O-rings was a thing. I thought that it was how I was handling things, with the o-rings breaking. I bought replacements but this freezer trick sounds like a better option
 

ChuckS1

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My BME brewbucket's three years old and about 30+ batches. Yesterday I finally took the ball vallve and thermowell apart when I did a deep clean to remove the beerstone buildup. The ball valve didn't have any gunk in it, looked like it did when it was new. All I normally do is fill the fermenter up with soap and water, give it a good wash with a sponge, and drain. The beerstone was removed with an old credit card after an hour's soak in garden hose temp water.
 
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