Kind of looks like a fish or maybe a duck. The Tri-clamp rorschach test has begun.
Sometimes you have to look in the mirror and say "Man, I really need to get better at blogging... and have I always looked this old?" Well, to address the first part- I do need to blog more. I haven't really found my blogging voice. I left it somewhere I'm sure, probably in a spot that seemed like a good one at the time, but a spot nonetheless that is now covered in an Invisibility cloak and in some other dimension.
The second part? Hey, you can't stop progress.
So here we are at my blogging crossroads and you know what? You're gonna help me out. Ask me some questions! Things you've always wanted to know about a brewery! There, that will help. Probably.
But I've got to get this ball rolling and to that end we're going to talk about one of the most important and cool things in a brewery - the Tri Clamp! Tri Clamps are a genius little device that allows a brewer to splice together all kinds of equipment, hoses, tubing, joints, doo-dads, and widgets. Now it should be said that not all breweries use Tri Clamps, but those that don't wish they did. Why? They allow for a connection that is very safe and easily cleaned and sanitized. That my friend solves lots of problems.
If your brewery is set up for Tri Clamps then you have them everywhere! Tri Clamps are like the word 'Smurf' to Smurfs. I bet we've got a hundred or so Smurfing up various things at the Civil Life. The clamp itself is very easy to understand- its shaped like the letter "C" with a hinge in the middle. When you want to mate two hoses together you simply insert a small flat gasket between the two hoses and wrap the clamp around the abutted ends. Then you tighten it down with the integral thumb screw. Presto Chango! Now you have a really long hose!
Again, the beauty of the clamp is the simplicity and the ability to keep things tidy and clean. The gasket is either made of Silicone, Buna, Teflon, Viton, or EPDM. Each material has a range of temperatures that it is rated for as well as different sorts of compatibilities with chemistries, pressures, and whatnot.
What do you do if you don't have Tri Clamps? Well, the first thing you do when you get home from a hard day at the brewery is find a quiet spot and pray to everything holy that you've cleaned all your threaded connections well enough so that you can continue making tasty beer. The second thing you do is get on the internet and order up a mess of Tri Clamps.
Some day when we are a big fancy brewery we'll have a metric ton of custom sanitary welding done and hard pipe everything in place (an even better solution!) but for the next 84 years or so we will be dragging our hoses around, taking parts off one fermenter to put on another, swapping sight glasses, looking in our trench drain for gaskets that made a break for it, and thanking our lucky stars we have boxes and boxes of Tri Clamps.
Dylan Mosley is the Civil Life’s Brewer. He is also responsible for changing out the pirate flag every 8 months. His annual compensation package here is directly related to the amount of time his beard is a minimum of two inches long.