I just got a new boil kettle with a stainless ball valve attached with a weldless bulkhead fitting, and a stainless barb connected to the NPT outlet of the ball valve.

What's the cleaning procedure for the weldless fitting and the NPT connection? Do I need to remove every fitting and clean and sanitize each part? Or can I just run some hot PBW through the valve after use?

Ideally I'd prefer to not disassemble everything and have to re-tape the NPT joint, but obviously I don't want to set myself up for an infection.

EDIT: @Dale made good point about the heat from the boil sanitize everything. But what about NPT fittings that are downstream? E.g. most plate chillers, pumps, etc. have NPT fittings. Do they need to be disassembled and sanitize before a batch?

3 Answers 3


For the boil, keeping it clean is more relevant than keeping it sterile/sanitary.

I have 20 gallon kettles and sanitizing those would be a pain - and fortunately it's not necessary. I don't sanitize any equipment that can come into contact with boiling wort, neither the boil kettle, chiller, pumps or anything else that's downstream from the kettle. There's simply no need to since pumping near-boiling wort through the system for 5 minutes kills any organisms. Most spoilage organisms are killed above 75C/170F.

I do clean the equipment from time to time, usually by pumping PBW through the system. I also take apart the pumps once in a while in case any grain has become stuck.

Of course, everything after the chiller - the fermentor and airator - is sanitized, since that doesn't come into contact with the boiling wort.

  • OK, but does sanitizing a NPT connection require disassembly? Or can you just flush with PBW, hot water, and then Star San? By the time the wort reaches the outlet fitting of a plate chiller it will be well below 170 ˚F.
    – Hank
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 21:20
  • Not if you use heat. I cycle wort without chilling through the plate chiller and back to the kettle for the last 5 mins of the boil. It comes out close to boiling. Then when it's time to chill, direct the wort into the fermentor rather than back to the kettle, and turn on the cold water. You can also sanitize with starsan by pumping that through - no need to disassemble.
    – mdma
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 7:37

There would be very little need to remove and clean that connection on a boil kettle. In general, none of the boil kettle needs to be sanitized. Even if you chill in the kettle, your kettle and everything connected to it has been sitting at about 212F for an hour, so any organisms are long since dead. Thats not to say that you shouldn't flush out your ball valve every brew, but taking it all apart, especially the threaded fittings would be overkill.

As for downstream equipment, that is a little less settled. I run boiling wort through my reverse flow chiller (while no cooling water present) and plug it at the outflow point. I do this 15 minutes before the end of boil. So my chiller sits above 180 for 15 minutes. And immediatly after chilling, the unit gets a full-force blast bothways from the garden hose and then gets stored with sanitizer.

  • +1 Just give the kettle a good scrub. No need to sanitize, no need to complicate.
    – hartski
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 17:38
  • Good point about the heat, but please see my followup edit regarding other NPT fittings.
    – Hank
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 18:56
  • Any fitting which is attached to the brewpot (internal or external due to heat conduction) for the duration of the boil do not need to be sanitized. Anything else (i.e. plate chiller, external pumps not used for the boil) I would recommend sanitizing.
    – hartski
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 19:05
  • It does need to be cleaned pretty well occasionally so you don't get off-flavors from old hop oils from previous brews.
    – baka
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 20:01
  • +1 for flushing out the ball valve, you can get some unpleasant surprises if you leave that too long! :D
    – mdma
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 21:07

no, you do not need to disassemble your pot. just clean, rinse, dry and store until next use.

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