Probably one of the most important, yet least thought about, components of your home brewery is your choice in tubing or hose. The four most popular choices of food-grade tubing for use in a home brewery are:
- Clear PVC Vinyl Tubing
- Reinforced PVC Vinyl Tubing
- Silicone Tubing
- Thermoplastic Tubing
Clear PVC Vinyl tubing: an excellent and economical choice for moving beer around on the cold side of your brewery both before and after fermentation. Being crystal clear it is easy to see the color and clarity of the beer or wort as well as the flow rate. Despite being rated up to 175ºF it should not be used on the hot side of the brewery since the pressure rating drops dramatically and it is prone to kinking as it gets hot.
Reinforced PVC Vinyl tubing: the same tubing with a polyester braid permanently embedded in the vinyl itself. This dramatically increases the working pressures and makes it a good choice for the hot-side of the brewery at temperatures below 175ºF, which works out below mash and sparge temperatures. It is also far less prone to forming kinks.
Silicone Tubing: the ideal tubing for all applications in the home brewery. Able to withstand temperatures up to 500ºF it is not quick to melt on an accidental contact with a hot spot on your stand and easily carries boiling temperature liquids. It is very kink resistent and maintains the same flexibility regardless of temperture. It is a transclucent tubing so you can still see the color and flow of beer or wort, although not as well as with PVC tubing. This is the most popular tubing for the hot-side of your brewery.
Thermoplastic Tubing: a slightly more economical alternative to silicone tubing it is able to withstand boiling temperatures well but it's opacity is a drawback since you cannot see the beer or wort color or flow. For that reason, Brewers Hardware does not carry this tubing.
Brewery Hose Care
All of the tubing that Brewers Hardware carries can be sanitized with any of the popular brewery sanitizers such as Star San®, Saniclean®, Iodophor or bleach. Silicone tubing can also be autoclaved, although it can become gummy after repeated autoclaves and should be replaced. Vinyl tubing has a tendency to become cloudy after prolonged contact with acid-based sanitizers such as Star San® although this does not appear to damage the tubing. Iodophor will tint any tubing yellow, especially if mixed at too concentrated a solution. Follow the directions from each of the sanitizers manufacturers.
Hoses should be rinsed and dried before storing and should be stored flat in a coil with nothing on it that could cause it to kink. One popular way to store them is coiled and inside one of your brewing vessels. If you have the room, hanging them lengthwise so they can drain completely and can't kink is an excellent way to store them as well.
It's a good idea to replace your tubing about once a year, when it becomes discolored or has any visible scratches.
All of our tubing is sold by the foot and will be shipped as one continous length. If you order a quantity of 15, you will get one 15' length of tubing.