Not all ball valves are created equal. If you're new to beer brewing, then knowing your valves is about as important as knowing your wrenches and bolts when working on an engine. It's simple, it's fundamental, and it doesn't seem all that consequential in the grand scheme of things, but mastering the basics is what could spell the difference between a mediocre and great brew.
Sanitation is a Big Deal
If you didn't know it already, then you should know that sanitation is absolutely vital in a functioning beer brewing or home brewing system. Never doubt or question the importance of proper sanitation – while you might think that, as you're working with alcohol, you don't have to worry about most bacteria, the fact is that conventional wisdom would fail you here.
Good beer relies on good yeast, and good bacterial behavior. As per How To Brew, contaminations, dirt, or potential spoilage means that your next batch won't just taste different – it may be entirely ruined, throwing off that delicate balance that makes brewing beer so great.
Think of it like your gut flora – you don't want to rid your body of bacteria, as they're essential for the proper function and protection of your delicately-balanced biology, but if you don't maintain some level of sanitation, you're also running the risk of getting yeast infections and other unpleasant consequences.
Ball Valves Aren't Typically Perfectly Sanitary
The biggest challenge in stainless steel ball valves is that, while they're very effective, affordable and durable, they're also hard to perfectly clean. This is even truer in threaded ball valves, which are terrible for cleaning due to all the crevices you have to deal with.
Challenges like these, however, have led to innovations in the valve industry, especially for dairy plants where contamination is even more dangerous than in the brewing world. While metals like steel are more durable than others as per BYO, they still are susceptible to corrosion through bio-fouling, another reason for good sanitation.
For Ideal Safety and Quality Brews, Choose a Tri Clamp
Due to the dangers of contamination in improper sanitation, the tri clamp ball valves became an option for amateur and professional brewers who prefer the ball valve over the butterfly valve, and yet still maintain a great level of sanitation through easier disassembly, and a simpler build.
And that's why it's important to understand and differentiate between your regular ball valves, and a specialized tri clamp ball valve, often offered by companies like Stainless Steel Ball Valve.