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SS BrewTech Sample Valve stuck open

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Rob2010SS

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Need some help here. I went to go pull a sample of my Märzen that is conditioning in the tank. I just recently got the sampling coil to use so I can pull carbonated samples. I hook up the sampling coil and pour a .5L mug. I go to close the sample valve and it won't stop flowing. I unhook the sampling coil and beer is just flowing out of the sampling valve.

After complete panic and losing an additional 40 oz on top of what I poured, I quickly depressurized the tank from 12 psi to 0 psi by opening the ball valve on the blow off cane, thinking that might help stop or slow the leak. It slowed it a bit, but not enough.

I plugged it with my thumb to give myself a minute to think. I started messing with the valve thinking of something was stuck, maybe I could jar it back in place. I ultimately got it to show down to a fast drip. Right around the same time, I realized if I put downward pressure on the top of the knob, it stops completely. So...

20200924_212511.jpg


I grabbed a couple of zip ties and tied them around the sample valve as tight as I could. Stopped the leak.

Clearly something came loose. I'm guessing a gasket of some kind considering when I push down on the top of the valve, it feels squishy, like something is compressing.

Anyone had this happen?
Any idea what to look for our how to take this valve apart?

Thanks in advance!
 

Ridenour64

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Right under the handle where you twist right or left to pour a sample, you’ll see a good spot to put a crescent wrench. A good twist left will disassemble the unit. Should be 3 pieces including the rubber gasket. Sounds like yours is just loose.

I’m thinking you should be taking this apart every brew anyways for cleaning, sounds like you haven’t. I do.
 

Advance

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The construction of the sample valve is very similar to a common picnic tap. There is a rubber plunger style gasket that snaps onto a stem which is raised or lowered by turning the valves handle. The first thing I would check is to make sure that the locking collar is properly secured on the valve body. Grab a couple of adjustable wrenches and try tightening the collar located between the handle and the valve body. This collar has right hand threads. Be sure to hold the valve body with the other wrench while doing this, the body has some flats cast into it for a wrench. Don't go nuts on the torque, 5 ft-lbs should be plenty. If this does not fix the leak then the rubber gasket must have failed, or it was pulled off of the stem. This valve should be disassembled and cleaned after each brew cycle. Its possible that sticky beer could have provided enough resistance to pop the gasket off the stem while you were trying to open the valve.
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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Yeah so 100% transparency, didn't even know it came apart. After every brew, the tank gets ripped apart and every piece gets soaked in 160F oxiclean bath for minimum 30 min. With the valve, once it's off the tank, I'll open it all the way and that's how it goes in the oxiclean bath. So I wouldn't think there would be sticky beer residue in there, unless it was from when I pulled samples during fermentation on this brew, which would make sense.

Thanks for the info. I'll be sure to rip that thing apart from now on. Didn't know you should be...
 

Brooothru

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^^^THIS

A year and a half after getting that same Unitank, I'm still learning the ropes. Never thought to disassemble the sample valve. Sure, I remove it (and the carb stone) to clean out the recesses that the CIP ball doesn't fully clean while soaking them both as well as the dump valve and transfer valve butterflies. Now I guess I'll add disassembly to the TO DO list. What's the best procedure for sanitizing the carb stone, while we're semi- on the subject?
 

Ridenour64

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I soak and scrub mine like I would the rest of the equipment, then on brew day I boil the the entire piece, including the blue handle. I leave it together. I think some people dissassemble the ball valve and clean that as well, but unless you accidentally force beer through it, I probably wouldn’t go that far and haven’t yet with almost 2 years of use.
 

Vale71

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I soak and scrub mine like I would the rest of the equipment, then on brew day I boil the the entire piece, including the blue handle. I leave it together. I think some people dissassemble the ball valve and clean that as well, but unless you accidentally force beer through it, I probably wouldn’t go that far and haven’t yet with almost 2 years of use.
If you spund beer will be forced into the valve through the stone. Actually if you disconnect the pump/oxygen cylinder and leave the ball valve open you'll see that wort eventually starts slowly dripping out, showing that hydrostatic pressure is enough to force beer backwards. If you boil the whole thing then the chance of an infection is very slim but I'd still recommend disassembling and cleaning it at least every other batch as the inside of a ball valve can get quite nasty quite fast.
 

Brooothru

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If you spund beer will be forced into the valve through the stone. Actually if you disconnect the pump/oxygen cylinder and leave the ball valve open you'll see that wort eventually starts slowly dripping out, showing that hydrostatic pressure is enough to force beer backwards. If you boil the whole thing then the chance of an infection is very slim but I'd still recommend disassembling and cleaning it at least every other batch as the inside of a ball valve can get quite nasty quite fast.
I've read about both boiling and baking the oxygenation stone but have been concerned with damaging internal gasket in the ball valve assemblies for both the stone and the sample valves, so I have resorted to extended soaks in StarSan. So far, no infections, though I suppose I may be living on borrowed time.

How long is "long enough" when boiling the sintered stone?
 

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I recommend full disassembly of the carb stone between brew cycles. I went 3-4 complete batches before disassembly and found quite a bit of beer residue inside the valve and the tube leading to the stone. The outer teflon seal was a bit difficult to remove for the first time. The barb fitting is tightened down to the point where the seal's outside edge deforms, locking it into the valve. Begin by removing the barbed fitting from the valve body (right hand threads). Use a mini/micro flat head screw driver and carefully pry and score around the outside edge of the seal. Do not pry from the inside edge where the ball mates with the seal. Your goal is to remove the small lip (deformation) around the outside edge of the seal where is mates with the threaded barb. I found it best to use the valve's ball to help knock the seal free. Do this by removing the screw that holds the valve's lever on, place the valve in the closed position before removing the lever from the valve body. Now tap the open end of the valve against a piece of wood. This will create a hammering effect with the ball acting on the seal. Once the seal is removed put a slight chamfer on the outside edge where the seal deformation created the lip. You goal is to remove the lip so it falls into position with a light press. This will make removing the seal very easy in the future by simply using the tapping method described above. Do not try to remove the inner teflon seal, it cannot be done without destroying it.
 

khannon

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Need some help here. I went to go pull a sample of my Märzen that is conditioning in the tank. I just recently got the sampling coil to use so I can pull carbonated samples. I hook up the sampling coil and pour a .5L mug. I go to close the sample valve and it won't stop flowing. I unhook the sampling coil and beer is just flowing out of the sampling valve.

After complete panic and losing an additional 40 oz on top of what I poured, I quickly depressurized the tank from 12 psi to 0 psi by opening the ball valve on the blow off cane, thinking that might help stop or slow the leak. It slowed it a bit, but not enough.

I plugged it with my thumb to give myself a minute to think. I started messing with the valve thinking of something was stuck, maybe I could jar it back in place. I ultimately got it to show down to a fast drip. Right around the same time, I realized if I put downward pressure on the top of the knob, it stops completely. So...

View attachment 699865

I grabbed a couple of zip ties and tied them around the sample valve as tight as I could. Stopped the leak.

Clearly something came loose. I'm guessing a gasket of some kind considering when I push down on the top of the valve, it feels squishy, like something is compressing.

Anyone had this happen?
Any idea what to look for our how to take this valve apart?

Thanks in advance!
Wow, talk about thumb in the dike (when those words meant that..) I think you want to stop the flow until you can get the current beer off then evaluate. I might put a valve further down that is closed just to avoid possibilities, whatever you have that works, then open up when you are not losing beer.
 

Vale71

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I've read about both boiling and baking the oxygenation stone but have been concerned with damaging internal gasket in the ball valve assemblies for both the stone and the sample valves, so I have resorted to extended soaks in StarSan. So far, no infections, though I suppose I may be living on borrowed time.

How long is "long enough" when boiling the sintered stone?
The gaskets in the ball valve are teflon so it will take a lot more than just boiling to damage them, but I do remove the blue plastic handle (takes all of two seconds...) before boiling for fear that repeated boiling might warp it.

As to the question of for how long you can expect to be lucky nobody can say for sure. A more appropriate question would be "how much trouble is boiling this little piece of equipment compared to the risk of having to dump a whole batch that I spent several hours brewing?"
 

Brooothru

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The gaskets in the ball valve are teflon so it will take a lot more than just boiling to damage them, but I do remove the blue plastic handle (takes all of two seconds...) before boiling for fear that repeated boiling might warp it.

As to the question of for how long you can expect to be lucky nobody can say for sure. A more appropriate question would be "how much trouble is boiling this little piece of equipment compared to the risk of having to dump a whole batch that I spent several hours brewing?"
Agree. An once of prevention....

Brooo Brother
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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Alright, so a follow up here..

I took the valve apart and got a look at all 3 pieces. When I pulled this thing apart, the rubber gasket was still fully attached and I had a hell of a time getting that off. I don't think there's any way that came off on me mid use but I suppose anything is possible.

Everything inside was damn near spotless! I did take it all apart and clean it and reassembled it. I opened the valve, pushed the backside of the TC flange flush against a faucet, turned on the water so water was flowing and slowly closed the valve to make sure it was functioning. Seemed to work just fine.

Any other thoughts on what might have happened here?

For anyone who hasn't taken one apart, here are some pics.

20201016_184338.jpg

20201016_184809.jpg

20201016_184844.jpg
 

Ridenour64

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I understand what your saying about that gasket being a tight fit onto that handle. I always had a hard time getting it off as well. I don’t think the gasket being loose is what caused the problem though, rather that the nut wasn’t tightened down enough. The only other thing I can think of would be that a piece of debris prevented the gasket from closing properly, but that likely would have been a drip vs the 40 oz you described. I’m thinking the nut was loose.
 
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Rob2010SS

Rob2010SS

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Could very well be. Although that nut was pretty tight when I took it apart. I have 2 of these valves so I want to compare to the other one I have but I did notice that there is some play here between these parts...

20201017_083525.jpg


Not sure if that's normal?
 

Vale71

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It's perfectly normal. If the gasket is intact and seals properly no liquid can come out of the gap between knob and valve.
 
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