Building A New Brewery – Part 3: SS Brewtech Kettle

Building A New Brewery – Part 3: SS Brewtech Kettle

Maybe this blog post should have an alternative title…  “NPT thread? BSP thread? ARGH!” or maybe “Why can’t I stop that bl**dy leak?!?”.

So, I’ve got this brand new 15 (US) Gallon SS Brewtech Kettle, from The Malt Miller.  It’s very shiny…

Installing the supplied ball valve, bulkhead & the recirculation plugs are a doddle – You just need to grab some PTFE tape and follow the nice little instruction guide that comes with the kettle.

Next up was the installation of the optional Whirlpool fittings, additional ball valve tap and the camlocks.  This is where my problems started…  As this kettle is designed by Americans, the default thread on the fittings is NTP.  The default thread type in the UK is BSP, they’re almost but not quite the same.  In my quest to get everything “perfect” and right first time, I was determined get hold of some NPT thread camlock fittings & ball valve.  This proved harder than expected!  I eventually found a Chinese supplier of both on Amazon & eBay and waited a couple of weeks for them to arrive.

Then the “fun” started…

Attempt 1:  I fitted the camlocks to the ball valves, the new ball valve & whirlpool fittings.  An initial leak test looked promising, until after about 15 minutes water started leaking from the body of the new ball valve!  Ok, it was a very slow leak, I could probably take the ball valve apart, reseat everything and seal it all back up.  So, I decided to do a quick test of the pump connected to the new camlocks and get the whirlpool going.  Except, the NPT camlocks I bought wouldn’t fit inside the camlock coupler on the pipes.  The not-so-cheap Chinese camlocks were a few mm too long!  ARGH!

Armed with some forum posts that reassured me that 1/2″ NPT & BSP fittings will screw into each other and seal ok, I grabbed a new BSP ball valve & camlocks fittings from BrewBuilder

Attempt 2: New ball valve & fittings hooked up, but now the kettle leaks from where the ball valve meets the kettle.  It appears either the internal plastic washer or the external silicone o-ring is warping under pressure.  Multiple attempts to adjust & retry fail…

Attempt 3: From a seller on eBay I grabbed some silicone washers to replace the existing washer & o-ring and tried again.  SUCCESS!  No leaks!

And now, a video! 🙂

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