Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
It happened to me right at the end of a boil for a ten gallon batch of English IPA. I'd been brewing on this electric BIAB system for several months and loved how easy it was to connect and disconnect the silicone tubing whenever I needed to. But when the line connecting the kettle to the inlet of my wort chiller clogged it was a rude awakening for me. With over ten gallons of boiling hot wort sitting in the kettle I had to quickly figure out what caused the line to clog and fix it. As it turned out I was able to clear the clogged line and cool the wort down without any more problems. I didn't know it at the time but during the mash some grain made its way into the kettle though a few small holes in the grain bag. Since the quick disconnect on the kettle valve was a shutoff type it only took a few pieces of grain to reduce the flow of wort to a trickle.


I was able to get the wort flowing into the chiller again that day by replacing the kettle's quick disconnect with a w/o shutoff type borrowed from my Chugger pump. The high-flow quick disconnects used in my system came from High Gravity Supplies, two of them were shutoff types and the rest of them were w/o shutoff types. I think the reason for putting a shutoff type disconnect on the kettle valve was to prevent wort from leaving the kettle when the valve was left in the open position and a line was disconnected. In theory this is a good design and it worked perfectly, as long as the wort was free of grain or other solid pieces of hops or trub. In practice though, once a small amount of any of the above got caught inside the shutoff valve, the opening of the disconnect became and blocked and the flow of wort stopped.

The next morning I placed an order for two new grain bags, two high-flow quick disconnects w/o shutoff valves and several feet of silicone hose to have on hand. I like the HFC 35 Polysulfide High Flow Quick Disconnects for a few reasons, mostly because they won't burn your hand when trying to connect or disconnect hoses after running hot wort through them. They are rated to operate safely with liquid temperatures up to 280F and they have large easy to press thumb latches to make connection changes simple. The HFC 35 series quick disconnects are perfect for use in brewing systems especially when used in combination with high quality 1/2" ID food grade silicone tubing.

I've brewed another batch of beer since replacing the shutoff type quick disconnects with straight through, or w/o shutoff type disconnects, and haven't had any issues at all with clogged lines. I also replaced the worn out grain bag with a new one, probably not a bad idea either after some amount of batches. Even being as careful as possible when stirring the mash it's not hard to believe that a small hole or two could be poked in the grain bag. With the shutoff valves removed from the system now even if some grains get into the kettle they won't clog up the quick disconnects.

Vince Feminella [aka: ScrewyBrewer]
[email protected]
I used to use those exact QDs and they worked really well except in 2 regards.
The cross piece inside each fitting is used to activate an optional poppet. Both the poppet and cross several restrict flow, and will gather hop debris and the occasion husk.
I dremeled the cross piece out of the center of each one using a side cutting bit. I then cleaned up the inside with a grinding bit, and finally a polishing wheel.
Also the o-rings that make a seal don't go together cleanly if they are dry. A quick shot of silicone lube on them at the beginning of each brew day was a necessity.
I have since gone to all metal cam locks due to them being cheaper and having a full 1/2" bore, but they aren't nearly as quick and easy to use as the plastic ones!
Thanks for the article. w/o is an abbreviation for wide open, I assume.
@schematix thanks for filling in a few more details. I agree wetting the o rings with water allows them to snap together quickly too. I like the idea of cutting out the cross pieces since their orientation in the male connectors do not squarely align at 90 degrees with the cross pieces in the female connectors. At the same time allowing larger pieces of grain to get into the pump or wort chiller may cause issues of their own.
I use those same discos, I dremeled out the cross bars on mine to prevent wayward ook from hanging on them, also before brewday I apply a film of food grade lube I use for my keg o-rings to keep things popping on and off smoothly!
Another option for quick connects:
I use stainless camlocks from brewhardware.com
Might be a little pricier, but work awesome and look more or less indestructible!