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Thread: How often do you clean the cleaner (the CIP ball)???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Jameson, SK, Canada
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    164

    How often do you clean the cleaner (the CIP ball)???

    As I learn and experience more in the pro realm, everyday is an adventure... and my adventures have led me to particulate crap collecting in he grooves of my CIP balls.

    Is this normal?

    How often do you take them out and poke the crap out of the grooves??

    Thx.

    JR
    Jeremy Reed
    Co-Founder and President, assistant brewer, amateur electrician, plumber, welder, refrigeration tech, and intermediately swell fella
    The North of 48 Brewing Company
    Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    www.no48.ca

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
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    2,026

    Maybe once a year or less...

    You should never have crap there to begin with. Use screened gaskets on your CIP pump to be sure that you are sending clean liquid to the sprayballs. Put them where you can clean them frequently. Your tanks should also have sprayballs removable from the exterior so that you NEVER ENTER A TANK. You shouldn't have to clean sprayballs, but just inspect once yearly. Best luck!
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Lakewood, CO
    Posts
    60
    Hops were the only thing that chemical wouldn't completely dissolve. So I was careful to make sure dry hops were completely rinsed out before starting the CIP cycle. But I inspected the CIP balls every time I cleaned the tank. It helped that the tank design allowed for them to be removed from the outside with TC fittings, so it wasn't enough trouble to dissuade me from doing it. Better safe than sorry.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
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    1,280
    Quote Originally Posted by Jer View Post
    As I learn and experience more in the pro realm, everyday is an adventure... and my adventures have led me to particulate crap collecting in he grooves of my CIP balls.

    Is this normal?

    How often do you take them out and poke the crap out of the grooves??

    Thx.

    JR
    JR,
    I visually inspect my spray balls every cleaning session. Very easy for me as I have top manways. Almost never do I find anything but if I do it is an easy removal and cleaning. Using screened gaskets during CIP reduces a lot of this as has been mentioned.

    Prost!
    Dave
    Glacier Brewing Company
    406-883-2595
    glacierbrewing@bresnan.net

    "who said what now?"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Jameson, SK, Canada
    Posts
    164
    Thank you all...

    Mine are indeed removable, and I’m too big to get into the Man way anyway!! The “better safe than sorry” is also a good mantra. Just gotta overcome that urge to cut corners and be lazy...

    Now that it’s been mentioned, they were dry hopped beers that did it.

    I did think about screened gaskets. Do they not cause a substantial pressure drop?? Since you’re using them I guess I answered my own question... is there a certain hole/mesh size you’d recommend??

    Thanks again guys.

    Jeremy.
    Jeremy Reed
    Co-Founder and President, assistant brewer, amateur electrician, plumber, welder, refrigeration tech, and intermediately swell fella
    The North of 48 Brewing Company
    Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    www.no48.ca

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Chesterfield, UK
    Posts
    1,930
    Screens should only cause 1 or 2 psi at the most, increase in DP so unless you are on the verge of getting inadequate flow & pressure anyway, then they should have no real effect. If you are feeling flush, you could put hygienic pressure gauges before and after the trap filter, which can be used to highlight blockage of the filter or the sprayhead - but quite honestly, I would simply look at the spray generated every time you clean something as part of the route and leak checking safety procedure.

    You do do this don't you?
    dick

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    419

    pull 'em

    Are your spray balls not removable from outside of the tank? I suggest never ordering tanks where this is not the case. The confined space issues with climbing in a tank are extreme...plus it's just a PITA. I'd pull the ball every time.
    Larry Horwitz

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Stuart, FL
    Posts
    487
    I tend to favor a high quality rotating spray ball with enough flow-through to dislodge hop particulate that may get temporarily stuck in the spray gaps. I never found the need for screened gaskets myself. To many transfer issues with them blinding so I've avoided them. I just do a good initial hot rinse to drain, and I never let my tanks sit for extended periods after emptying. The only time I've had real issues in a spay ball clogging is in poorly designed mash/lauter CIP systems with grain husk. Anything else has broken free from a hose spray, or knocking a valve a couple times.

    The rotators are nice because you can often hear them spin, and then you can tell when they are clogged as well. Knock the valve, or open and spray if needed, but a very rare occasion for me. Cheap ones suck though, and don't do it if you are going Chinese. They just don't make bearings like the US, Germany or Sweden. They will develop flat spots and "stick" causing you more headaches than you started with.

    If you have separate CIP and Blow-Off arms then you can cycle the blow-off first, until particulate starts to breakdown, before switching to the CIP ball. I suppose you could do this with the racking arm as well.

    One big key point is avoiding excessive krausen/blow off during fermentation. In a properly designed vessel filled to the appropriate height, you shouldn't have contact of the exterior of the spray ball to worry about. Then you really only need to worry about clogging the ball itself. High flow through helps, and gap sizing makes a difference. In my experience, the only time FV spray balls are found to be "dirty" is when the exterior of the ball or drop has been exposed to fermenting beer and has a blind CIP spot. Then you pull it from the top as suggested. I generally pull PVRV every time, but only pull the ball when I know I have had excessive krausen/blow-off.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Minnesota
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    608
    Bete hydroclaw, get one, never clogs

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    Chesterfield, UK
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    1,930
    Now how's that for a co-incidence? Only yesterday, after I had had a look through here. I went to another discussion board, and what do I see? Bete hydroclaw being promoted. Never heard of it before - definitely looks good for high fouling, but smallish diameter tanks.
    dick

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Minnesota
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    608
    We use the hydroclaw for 20bbl tanks. The time savings for us really adds up. Our old rotators would clog with hop particles very easily

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    99
    Check after every CIP (or during, if there's a problem – as another poster mentioned, you should be able to hear it spinning, clogged sprayball or poorly primed pump is almost always the problem if we can't). The ones in our fermentors/conditioning tanks are almost always fine, even on heavily dry-hopped beers or when the krausen gets too high – but we do knock down all the crap we can with a hose before starting CIP. We use whole-cone hops in the kettle; we try to knock all the crap down here, too, but even just a few hop petals will stick in a sprayball, so, we end up needing to de-gunk that sprayball after almost every kettle CIP run.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Hudson, WI, USA
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    3
    Quote Originally Posted by Junkyard View Post
    We use the hydroclaw for 20bbl tanks. The time savings for us really adds up. Our old rotators would clog with hop particles very easily
    Ever use on anything larger than 20? We have some 15's and 30's and though we have had minimal problems, clogging has occurred and it never hurts to have a backup option.

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