Don’t Buy Solenoid Valves For Your Brewery!

So, last night was the inaugural brew on the new brew system and until the very last step it went wonderfully. Unfortunately, the last step turned it into a total disaster.

I’ll do a full writeup once I stop weeping but the gist of it is that the hop and break crud from the boiler ended up clogging my chiller and about half of my valves. The chiller was clogged so bad it ended up taking me 3 hours to chill the batch down to pitching temperature. I didn’t find out about the valves problems till tonight when I tried to clean the whole mess up. One of my solenoid valves was stuck open by three tiny pieces of hop leaf.

So, tonight  I cleaned the whole mess up, stripped it almost completely down and I’m now planning how to fix things. One of the things I’ll definitely need to do is replace any valves that might end up with crud passing through them with ball valves or motorized ball valves. I’m also going to need a filter system in place for the wort before it hits the chiller.

All in all, I am really happy with the brewery. Even though I had big problems for the most part it went really, really smooth. I have a few bugs to work out and then it’s going to kick major ass.