Many home brewers find that their biggest issue is finding the right brewer’s hardware. If you choose incorrectly, you may find that you have contamination issues within the distillery or elsewhere. Many times, the culprit is something simple, such as a dirty ball valve. While you may think it’s rare for dirt to penetrate the distillery, it’s quite common.
If you haven’t done so recently, you may want to check the valves of your distillery for any dirt or grime that might be caking the inside. Doing so can ensure that you don’t contaminate the finished product or cause contamination in other components.
If you have dirt and grime in the valves, your best bet is to switch to a 3-piece ball valve component because they are much easier to clean. However, some people argue that the 3-piece version is more expensive than the 2-piece. While that is true, you may find that it’s better to spend a little more and reduce your risk of cross-contamination than it is to save money and spend more time cleaning the pieces and throwing away product.
The benefit of stainless steel for brewer’s hardware is that the dirt and debris don’t easily latch onto the inside of the valve. Along with such, they are very easy to disassemble and clean. They’re used in food service and beverage industries because of these properties, which means they’re highly suitable for home-brewing fans.
They come in a variety of sizes, from 1/2-inch to 3 inches, ensuring that you can choose the one that fits your current set-up. You may also want to look for ones with a tri-clover fitting, as they’re slightly easier to take apart and clean. However, traditional stainless steel ball valves can also be easy to clean if you follow the directions.