blow off tube sanitation?

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bracconiere

Jolly Alcoholic
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so let's say i've been brewing for 25 years, but...only tried 'cleaning and sanitizing' three or so times....and everytime it made the beer actually worse! so gave up, and told myself "never again will i try that stuff!" ;)

but now i have shiny SS milk can, and a dirty blow off tube....and damn it! i want to try it again all the sudden! i think i know how to clean my kegs and stuff, but what should i do about blow off tubes? treat them as disposable? like buy a 100' roll of vinyl, and don't tell me about o2...i'm not even close to that level....


well anyway what do people do with their blow off tubes?
 

IslandLizard

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I've never had much gunk build-up in my blow off tubes (1/2" ID), using larger headspaces and controlling fermentation vigor with temps.

This is my cleaning process for tubing in general:
1. rinse out
2. soak in Oxiclean
3. use a tubing brush to "scrub" the inside, a little friction does wonders in cleaning
4. rinse well
5. inspect and repeat if necessary
6. Starsan
7. let dry or put to use
 
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bracconiere

bracconiere

Jolly Alcoholic
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3. use a tubing brush to "scrub" the inside, a little friction does wonders in cleaning


do they make them that long? looking at it i don't think even 30" is long enough...do you know what they call the spring twist coil metal, maybe i could buy a roll of it or something make my own brush?
 

IslandLizard

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do they make them that long? looking at it i don't think even 30" is long enough...do you know what they call the spring twist coil metal, maybe i could buy a roll of it or something make my own brush?
3' long "draw" brushes are most common. You can clean 6' of tubing with those, 3' from each end. They make 6' brushes too, but harder to find. IIRC, AIH sells them, there are others.

Now for 1/2" ID tubing you'd need 1/2" to 3/4" diameter brush (bristles). I got some of those in a school auction, among many other science things, over 2 decades ago, when they cleaned out their chemistry lab.

Even when cleaning keg dip tubes, I use my 5/16" draw brush, for better friction. The 1/4" brush doesn't work as efficiently in those. Same for tubing, the bit wider brush cleans much better.

As you probably know, you only get 3-4" worth of brush (bristles) on a 3' or 6' long twisted wire. ;)
It's probably difficult to make your own brushes.
 

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flush tubing with hot tap water, alternating flow directions to remove initial deposits.

Then add a gallon or so of warm water to a bucket, add a couple drops dawn dish soap and 1/3 cup of bleach. Coil the tubing into the bucket so that the air is pushed out as you go. Let this sit submerged for five minutes then remove and drain the tubing. repeat with a few ten minute soaks, then rinse very well again with hot tap water. Hang the tubing over an open cabinet door or such, so it can dry out.

If that doesn’t break up and remove the deposits, then get a brush or new tubing. Your tubing may turn yellow, especially if it’s older to start with.
 

hotbeer

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I've used a bore brush to pull through vinyl tubing to get really filthy tubes clean. Though not my tubing for beer. Just a soak in oxyclean, or laundry detergent or diluted chlorine bleach works wonders. I sling them outside and if the summertime humidity is so high that they don't dry inside quickly, then I put one end in front of a small fan and the other behind the fan.

Bore brushes of all sizes and type bristles can be found at most any sporting goods store that sells guns or ammo. You can even get the ram rod for them but if the ram rod is too short for your tube, then tie a cord to it and pull it through.

I always sanitize them and everything else before using on every batch of beer. I still like Idophor. Seems to be a little broader ranging and not as finicky about water ph and time.
 
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bracconiere

bracconiere

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i'm thinking something like this....considering similar to bottlers and bottle caps?



i have a 16 gallon milk can now, so i don't think krausen is going to actually get into them any more, so probably be able to get away with starsan soak....

used to use 13 gallon HDPE, and always got blow off and gunk....we'll see how it goes, and if it works maybe i will have to find ways to serve beer better! i can brew it GREAT, suck at fermenting, not sure about kegging? but if the first pour is awesome then 30th is funky, i know i need to work on it....


but replacing 5ft of tubing, would bump the price of a twelver for to 1.09, instead of 99 cents ;) :mug: lol
 

hotbeer

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If you can prevent pressure from building up in the fermenter, you won't have gunk getting up in your blow off tube so badly. Head space helps too. But pressure building up will keep the bubble small and not bursting to fall back into the beer.

You could slow the fermentation, but who wants to do that? So the other way is to let more co2 out. That's one of the reasons I use a 7/8th inch ID blow off tube. It doesn't allow the pressure to build up any. So the bubbles get big and burst before enough foam is produced to get into them. And even if it did, there is enough room for gas to pass outward and the liquid carried by the bubble to slide back down the tube to the fermenter.
 
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If you can prevent pressure from building up in the fermenter, you won't have gunk getting up in your blow off tube so badly. Head space helps too. But pressure building up will keep the bubble small and not bursting to fall back into the beer.

You could slow the fermentation, but who wants to do that? So the other way is to let more co2 out. That's one of the reasons I use a 7/8th inch ID blow off tube. It doesn't allow the pressure to build up any. So the bubbles get big and burst before enough foam is produced to get into them. And even if it did, there is enough room for gas to pass outward and the liquid carried by the bubble to slide back down the tube to the fermenter.


i'd think pressure was good? like balanced draft lines? my milk can hold 5psi, i can almost carb in it....i think krausen is coagulated protein?

someone once schooled me on not worrying about my 'leaky' fermenter......

 

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i have a 16 gallon milk can now, so i don't think krausen is going to actually get into them any more, so probably be able to get away with starsan soak....
I stopped using a blow-off tube because I didn't trust that I could get all the crud out of the inside. When I did use one, I still had it plug up and erupt once - hops plugged it. Now I use a 7.9 gallon ale pale for 5 gallon batches and don't get any blow-off. I think your plan is perfect. You don't expect any blow-off, but you have the tube just in case. And for the few times that it might blow off, you can replace it cheaply.
 

hotbeer

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i'd think pressure was good? like balanced draft lines? my milk can hold 5psi, i can almost carb in it....i think krausen is coagulated protein?

someone once schooled me on not worrying about my 'leaky' fermenter......


If you are going to do open fermenting then why use a blow off tube? If you are going to use a blow off tube, then use one big enough to not get plugged up with the crud that might go up into it.

Since I started using the big ID tube, I haven't had any crud go up in the tubes and my head space is still the same. And this current batch in the fermenter is the foamiest batch I've ever had.
 

IslandLizard

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I've never even thought about cleaning my blow off tube. I'll give it a quick soak in Star san, but that's about it. It is attached to the base of a 3 piece airlock and once it is into the tube, it isn't likely getting back into the fermenter. I would think there is enough pressure to keep the blow flowing out, then I switch it out for a regular airlock once the first part of the ferment done. Cleaning a blow-off tube, what a concept. LOL :mug:
 

odie

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I just blast mine out with a hose nozzle and hot water from the sink. It's just blowing excess krausen out, not sucking stuff into the beer.
 

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I just blast mine out with a hose nozzle and hot water from the sink. It's just blowing excess krausen out, not sucking stuff into the beer.
Same here. I'll run hot water through it when |I'm done with it - that is, once the heavy fermentation is done and I can switch back to the airlock. I'll rinse again before I use it and soak in sanitizer for a while before installing the next time. I don't worry too much about getting suckback through it - my temps are stable enough that has never yet happened.
 

BrewChem

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My process for tubing is:

- rinse with hot water immediately after use
- soak in a cleaner (I use oxyclean)
- rinse thoroughly with hot water
- whip the tubing to get as much water out as possible
- drape over a shelf to allow to dry until next use
- before using, I coil the tubing into a saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes or so (use tongs!). Haven’t had any issue with melting, burning, deformation, etc.
- if the tube remains discolored after cleaning, toss and replace.

Buying new tube is quick and cheap….

Brewing and fermenting a beer only to end up with an infection is not.
 
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I say forget the tiny tubing, get some 1" ID vinyl hose and some elbows. Thats what I use for my fermenters. If you use #5 or #6.5 stoppers, it will do the trick, cram that sucker into the bung and letter rip, tater chip!
 
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