cleaning the sight glass
Ok Ive got a few 5bbl tanks inside the walk-in that have sight glasses on the side for tax determination. My problem is, when doing the CIP there does not seem to be much solution getting into these things. The tanks are super clean, but I am wary of demons lurking in the small crevices of the sight glass. I really just want to do away with them all together, maybe weld them shut? any ideas on what to do?
just take em apart and clean them every time you cip...remember if you can take it apart (off of your tank) you should clean it every time you CIP. That goes for valves, prv, manway, etc. Unless you happen to have incredible tanks, you will be amazed at the amount of crud that gets left after even a good cip....most small brewery tanks were built with ease of manufacture in mind, not ease of cleaning.
Your sight glasses should be fitted to the top of your CIP arm for the upper fitting, and near the bottom of the tank for your lower fitting. In this way, the CIP solution washes the sight glass clean every time you CIP. And make sure there are NO threaded fittings at all anywhere on the tank. Weldable hose barbs only. Other than that, taking it apart and manually cleaning, and frequenly replacing, is the only solution. Cheers!
I don't think I mentioned it before, but this is not the first time you have pre-emptively posted a question related to something I've got going on here... More like 5 times now? After a while it just gets spooky.
My sight glass is similarly problematic. It's connected to the tank via two TC ports - one near the top and one near the bottom, but NOT as part of the CIP line or the exit port.
I take mine appart each time, but finding an easy way to get the nasties out of that tube has eluded me thus far. I usually just manually squirt very hot water through it each time, but if there's any solids in there, I'm hosed.
I've thought about just capping these ports and using some tubing rigged to a "T" at the top and bottom, but haven't gotten around to setting it up just yet. I was hoping for another solution.
If nothing else, it's a good thing to keep in mind for new tank purchases.
Who builds this stuff that can't be cleaned? Such a simple manufacturing solution. Sight glasses are definitely needed, but they must be cleaned! Anyway, Mr. B, if you cap the ports, you will still need to unclamp and clean them every cycle. Great trap for solids. No need to cap the bottom if the top one is barbed into the CIP line. The CIP solution will squirt through whether or not it is in the discharge of the tank. Might be better to just weld shut the upper port from the inside, and weld a barb to the CIP line. And one better..... place a small quarter-turn plug valve before each of the barbs, so that IF/WHEN you have a leak/broken sight tube/etc. you can isolate the tank pressure to replace the hose/hose clamp/whatever. Good luck & Cheers!
To answer the "Who Builds?" question...
Mine is suspiciously unbranded, and was purchased used. However, I'm pretty sure I've seen the identical tank (complete with identical BLUE lettering) in the GW Kent catalog.
The odd thing is, the sight glass is pretty well engineered - rigid plastic tube, a valve at top and bottom, a way to dump the sample... I've just been using it in a limited way: fill the tube, take the reading, dump the tube. (I figure at least I'm not reintroducing it to the tank.) There's just no way to flush the damn thing without filling the tank with cleaning solution, or getting really creative with disconecting the top, capping the port, and pressurizing the tank, etc...
Good call on not needing to replace the lower port. And yes, I agree. A complete teardown is always in order for good chunk removal.
Thanks for the help!
If your sight glass is engineered like sir Brewsalot's (top and bottom valve as well as a dump valve) and if you have a gas port on your CIP arm, you can simply create a jumper hose to go from your gas port fitting to the dump valve on your sight glass. On our tanks we use a length of braided hose with an adapter to get us to the proper diameter for slipping over the dump port. Keeping the bottom sight glass valve closed and the top one open your use solution can be directed out of the gas port and through the sight tube. We do this with our BB tanks and it works well. Of course we remove the fittings first and clean the ports.
Hope this helps.