What Hoses Are The Best For Homebrew?Image Credits: Pixabay.com
An important part when home brewing, is acquiring the right hoses/tubing for your equipment. Picking the wrong hose may lead to contamination of your brew or in worst cases even health risks such as lead poisoning.
What Hoses Are the Best for Homebrew? The most used hose variant in homebrewing is vinyl hoses. These types of hoses are transparent and easy to use, however than cannot withstand high temperatures. For transferring of hot wort silicone tubes are better suited but aren’t transparent, making them a bit more tedious to use.
Continue reading as I dive into the various types of hoses suitable for homebrew and those that aren’t
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The Importance of Hoses in Homebrew
Any homebrewer will become quite intimate with hosing/tubing in their home brewing endeavours. While it’s not thought of as a vital tool in the brewing process, it's quite handy to have proper hosing to save yourself some trouble in various aspects of homebrewing.
Where hoses play a vital role, is in transferring your beer around through the various containers and stages of the homebrewing process.
For example when transferring your wort to the fermenter, or transferring from fermenter to bottling bucket and from bottling bucket to bottle, hosing in all shapes and sizes are adapted to make these processes easier.
Some tools like a Wort Chiller or an auto-siphon also requires hoses to function properly. Other tools like kegging systems, mash tuns etc. also benefit from hosing, though most tools that require hosing often has it included.
Read on as I dive into the different types of hoses/tubing for homebrew, and help you get an understanding of which type might be the right one for you.
The 4 Best Hoses For Homebrew
In general hoses and tubes come in all kinds of materials, but for homebrewing there are some more commonly used than others.
Below you’ll find some of the most common hosing variants for homebrewing, with detailed information about each type.
1. Vinyl Hose
The vinyl type of hosing is probably the most basic and also cheapest hose variant you’ll find. You can find these types of hoses in most hardware stores. Be careful when buying these, since some of these hoses are food-grade while others aren’t.
You can sanitize the non-foodgrade type of vinyl hoses and still use them for homebrewing, but if possible I would recommend you buy the food-grade variant to make sure it’s perfectly suited for homebrewing.
The downside of using vinyl hosing is that it often has a hard time withstanding higher temperatures, so make sure that your wort has cooled down properly before using vinyl hoses to transfer it.
Vinyl hosing can sometimes gather up residue inside, but you should be able to spot this quite easily since most vinyl hoses are transparent. If your hose is dirty you can either try to clean it, but this can be quite hard which is why most homebrewers just switch it out, which isn’t really a big deal due to its relatively low price.
You should also change out your vinyl hose if you suddenly taste plastic-like flavors in the beer you’re brewing, this isn’t a big deal in terms of health risks, but it can ruin the taste of your beer, spoiling all your hard work.
Vinyl hoses also have a bad reputation of curling up quite easily, which can be quite annoying. A good rule of thumb here is to simply buy the vinyl hose longer than first anticipated, add an extra foot or 2 to make up for the curling.
2. Reinforced Vinyl Hose
A reinforced vinyl hose is more stiff than a regular vinyl hose and is able to withstand high temperatures compared to the normal vinyl house.
This type of hose is more inflexible than the standard vinyl hose, but yet it’s thicker walls still can’t handle the high temperatures in brewing, which is why this type of tubing isn’t used by many homebrewers.
It is mostly used for high pressure systems or used in commercial breweries, but for the standard homebrewer, this hose doesn’t do much compared to a regular vinyl hose.
3. Silicone Hose
A hose that can actually handle the high temperature of transferring wort is the silicone hose. Silicone does quite well when handling high temperatures, making it a great option to properly transfer hot wort during your brewing process.
The silicone hoses come in various shapes and sizes and depending on the type it can handle temperatures up to 500F.
Silicone hoses are very flexible and won’t curl up as much as the vinyl hoses do.
The major downside to silicone tubing is that it isn't transparent like vinyl, so it can be hard to spot any implications inside the hose.
I’d definitely recommend you use silicone hoses if you transfer hot wort, other than that I prefer vinyl hoses myself since they are transparent, which is quite beneficial.
4. Beverage Tubing
Beverage tubing is similar to vinyl hoses but comes in higher quality and is made for brewing purposes. Beverage tubing has thicker walls in general to handle the pressure of high pressure draft systems.
This is a great type of hose to adapt to your brewing process if you don’t mind spending a little extra. The thicker walls also prevents the curling I mentioned in vinyl hoses, which is very nice.
My Choice of Hose For Homebrew
In general I'd personally go for vinyl type hoses. I tried using silicone hoses, but i don't like them since they aren't clear like vinyl hoses. The downside of vinyl hoses are as previously mentioned, their low resistance to warmer temperatures. If you use vinyl hoses make sure whatever you're transferring isn't too hot so your hose can handle it.
Choosing The Right Hose Size For Homebrew
When buying hosing for homebrewing it isn’t a given that it will fit your equipment perfectly. However there are tricks to make your hose fit even though it seems as if it won’t fit at first glance.
If your hose is too small you can submerge the end you’re trying to connect in hot water, this will make the hose more flexible and may make it able to connect to whatever you’re trying to attach it to.
If the hose is too big you can use clamps. It's often easier to make a hose fit that is too big than one which is too small.
So don't hesitate to buy clamps in bulk, since you will find uses for them quite often.
If you simply want to transfer as fast as possible, you should go for large and wide hoses.
Using small hoses take longer, but granted their smaller size they reduce the risk of air entering the tubing which may lead to oxidation of your beer.
Health Risks in Garden Hoses
A quick disclaimer for those wondering if they can use any type of hosing for homebrewing, BE CAREFUL!
Some hoses, especially garden hoses have traces of lead in them, which in the worst cases can lead to lead poisoning or other health implications.
Make sure to ask the retailer or webshop you buy your hose from to provide evidence that the hose is free of any lead or other implications that could have an effect on your long-term health.