Category Archives: Top Posts

Tips: Cleaning, Drying & Storing Tubing

Pictured: Gardner Bender 45-12BEADYW Beaded, Reusable & Adjustable Cable Tie, 12 in.

Tubing!  Homebrewers use a variety of sizes and styles of tubing for siphoning, beer transfer, wort and water transfer on brew day, keg to keg transfers, kegerator beer and gas lines and lots more.

Cleaning:  After using (depending on what I’ve used the tubing for), I’ll give the tubing a rinse to get the majority of stuff off and to keep my cleaning solution as clean as possible.  Next is a soak in hot PBW solution.  I’d say 5 to 10 minutes is typical for me.  Followed by a thorough rinse.  Tip: If you have a problem with water spots on your tubing, make your last step a rinse in a diluted mixture of Star San.  Not only will you get some sanitizing benefits, the Star San acts as a surfactant that helps fight water spots.

Drying:  I let wet tubing dry by hanging it with ends facing down until water has dripped off.  After it’s mostly dry (generally speaking, overnight), I will coil the tubing up and hang it with the ends facing up.  Facing the ends of the tubing upwards give moisture a place to escape as the tubing finishes completely drying.  Note: this is for any residual moisture that may be in the tubing, not large drops.  You can skip this step if you leave it drying U-shaped for long enough.  After the tubing is completely dry, I rotate it so that the ends are face down to minimize dust in the tubing.

Storage:  I store my most commonly used piece of tubing on my Bulldog Hardware Peg-A-System Pegboard.  One of the reasons I chose that pegboard is because it’s plastic and can handle a little moisture without issue.  That means I can do my drying on the pegboard.  For lesser used tubing and bulk rolls I’ll coil up each individual piece of tubing and use a reusable/adjustable cable tie (similar to what’s pictured at the top of this post) to keep each coil together to keep things from tangling together.  I keep those in a large tote, but a 5 gallon bucket would also work pretty well.  Tip: Make sure your tubing is completely dry before stowing.  Residual dampness in an enclosed space will harbor bacteria.  Depending on your circumstances, you may want to keep the lid off of your tote or bucket.  I also keep a smaller tote with odds and ends tubing (6″ or under) to keep on hand for projects and miscellaneous uses.

Food Safe Materials: One more tip…. look for tubing made from food safe materials that is rated for the temperature and pressure for your application.

AlsoOetiker Stepless Clamps for Kegerator Gas and Beer Lines

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Alternatives to Northern Brewer and Midwest Supplies + Commentary

Northern Brewer was an essential part of my development as a homebrewer.  They were my go-to supplier for years as I went from extract to all grain and bottling to kegging and beyond.

When I first came up with the idea for Homebrew Finds, I floated it to one of the larger homebrewing podcasts as a… “you should do this” idea.  When they declined, I decided to do it myself.  Who was there soon after?… Northern Brewer.  Jake Keeler was one of the early believers in the idea and sponsored the site well before it made any financial sense to do so.  Not only did they help keep the servers on, Northern Brewer wrote content for Homebrew Finds.  Michael Dawson and Jake Keeler both wrote original articles about malt, hops, new equipment, techniques, how-tos and more.  They saw it as a way to communicate with the homebrewing community, homebrewer to homebrewer.  Thank you to Jake Keeler and Mike Dawson for your belief in and support of Homebrew Finds in our early days!  That’s homebrewing community at it’s finest.  Midwest Supplies wasn’t too far behind.

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My Most Important Homebrewing Gear

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As of this posting, we’re in the process of moving Homebrew Finds headquarters from one house to another.  Moving…. it’s not fun.

In the process of selling our current house and getting ready to move to the new one, I paired down a LOT of my homebrewing equipment.  Some gear was sold and a lot went to storage.  However… I refuse to be without the ability to homebrew, even in a time of transition.  The scant gear I chose to keep, was my inspiration for this post.  It’s an indication to me of what’s the most important gear to me at this time.

That’s about it.  I have a few other odds and ends, Star San, PBW, tubing, some clamps.

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What’s the Difference Between Ball Lock Kegs and Pin Lock Kegs?

cln_img_3150Left [Brand New 5 Gallon Ball Lock from AIHReview] || Right [Used 5 Gallon Pin Lock]

Ball Lock Kegs vs Pin Lock Kegs – What’s the Difference?

The containers we call Ball Lock and Pin Lock Kegs come from the soda industry.  Also called Cornelius Kegs, Corny Kegs and Corney Kegs, they were originally intended to store and distribute soda pre-mix.  The big soda companies decided on different style containers for their pre-mix.  Pepsi landed on the Ball Lock style while Coke uses the Pin Lock style.

Homebrewers have since re-purposed these as homebrew beer kegs.

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Lesson Learned… Don’t Do This With Star San

Five Star Star San (32 Oz)Pictured: 32 Ounce Star San from Home Brew Supply

You probably already know this but, don’t… spill concentrated Star San solution on yourself.  I normally wouldn’t take the time to state the obvious, but I did this recently and got a pretty good picture out of the incident…

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Pictorial evidence of the aftermath.  These are a pair of some of my favorite short’s Columbia Sportswear Voyager Cargo Shorts that I was wearing at the time.  The white is a permanent feature.  Obviously Star San and Nylon do not play well together.  It’s almost like the Star San broke down the Nylon, or at the very least it bleached it white.  I had these in the wash within 1 minute or so of the spill, still, they have become work shorts

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My (cotton) Patagonia T-Shirt fared much better.  It was left unscathed.

I also had to rinse my legs and arms after this incident.  I was left physically unscathed except for one finger nail that had a bit of a burning feeling for a while.

Undiluted Star San is a relatively strong acid.  This will serve as a reminder for me to be more careful with it.

Related: Star San Tips, Tricks and Guidelines and pH Test Strips – testing Star San

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Flow Meter for Oxygenating Wort

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Most regulators that homebrewers use for oxygenating wort are simple setups – Example.  They attach to disposable oxygen tanks (typically sourced from a local hardware store) and are little more than on and off valves.  No gauges, no pressure control (other than the degree to which you open and close the valve) and no flow control.

Time and rate give you an idea of how much oxygen you’re really adding to your wort.  Time is easy to track.  Rate, not so much, at least with typical homebrew O2 regulators.  If you want more or less oxygen for your next batch, it’s mostly a guessing game.

The Oxyview Flow Meter is a pneumatic (no electricity required) real-time oxygen flow meter that works in any position.  Flow rate is displayed in liters per minute.  This particular model has a range of 0 to 3 LPM.  This allows you to know what rate of oxygen is going into your wort.

I’ve used one of these for years and it has worked great for me.

Note that these are typically used for medical applications.  You will need to figure out tubing and connections to your existing regulator and aeration/oxygenation stone.  I found some tubing that fits mine and use luer locks to connect it to other components.

Oxyview Flow Meter 1 3/8″ X 7/16″/0-3 L/M

Also:

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Mark II Keg and Carboy Washer Mod – SS CIP Spray Ball

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I’m a big fan of the Mark II Keg and Carboy Washer.  I use mine for lots of things including… kegs, carboys, Speidel Fermenters, buckets, tubing, draft lines [See: Mark II Keg & Carboy Cleaner… As a Recirculating Draft Line Cleaning Pump] and more.  [See: Hands on Review: Mark’s Keg and Carboy Washer] for a comprehensive look at this great homebrewing tool.

A while back I became aware of this Stainless CIP Spray Ball via a Reader Tip.  Thanks to HBF Reader Sam for the original heads up on these and HBF Reader Chris for the idea to use in conjunction with the Mark II Keg and Carboy Cleaner ! [8 Ways to Connect with HBF].

CIP (Clean in Place) Spray Balls are generally used for vessels that are too large to move.  Since they’re too large to move you… clean them in place.  If you have a larger setup, you could incorporate these into your system or routine to help clean your vessels more easily.

Seller QM Stainless on Amazon offers a variety of spray balls including stationary and rotary.

I gave this a try on my Keg and Carboy Washer and I was really pleased with the results.

cln_img_2959This is a heavy well made CIP spray ball assemblycln_img_2962A look at the lower portion  It reads 1/2″ and SS304cln_img_2965A look at the openings on the spray head.  Note that the top portion rotates using liquid pressure.cln_img_2967This threads nicely onto the top of the PVC tube on the Mark II Keg and Carboy Washer.  Replacing the end cap that contains one spray hole.  In the background, My ITC-308 Temp Controller.cln_img_2969This fitting makes the total height a little higher compared to the standard tip.  Note that, depending on the size opening of your carboy, this may not fit.  Look back for an update to this post that has more dimension information so you can determine if this will work with vessel’s with smaller openings.  Here’s MoreBeer’s 6 gallon PET Carboy on the cleaner.  You can see there’s still plenty of clearance.

cln_img_2973A picture of the spray ball in action

A video of the spray action

NEW 0.5 Inch Stainless Rotary Spray Ball Female CIP Tank Cleaning Ball by QM Stainless

I purchased my Keg and Carboy Washer at More Beer.  As of this writing, it’s selling for $99.99 Shipped.

Mark’s Keg & Carboy Washer can be found at…

Related…

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