EJ Beverage Ultra Barrier Silver beer line review

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Rev2010

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2011
Messages
3,247
Reaction score
636
Location
Brooklyn
As a new kegger I went with the included vinyl lines but increased the length to 12' for a foam free pour. Everything went great setting it all up and after two weeks of force carbing my Pumpkin Ale and Belgian Saison I opened the taps with excitement only to be stunned by a horrendous off taste I've never had in nearly four years of bottling. I was describing it as soapy/metallic but I've now come to know it's the taste of vinyl. Since that first small sampling I'd thought the beer was possibly the cause, maybe it was too young and needed more time. So I let it sit another week and took a small sample and same bad off taste. Eventually I decided to pull full pints and the taste appeared to be fading. That however was wrong, the off taste was simply being diluted. Apparently, any beer that sits in the vinyl beer lines for more than 1 hour takes on that terrible plastic taste. At 12' 3/16" ID tubing that equates to only 2oz of beer. I'd done testing and confirmed the first two ounces has that terrible taste and the beer right after does not. A lot of people simply pour off the first 2oz but that really adds up and I wanted a solution. Researching online I found I'm nowhere near alone with this complaint and there are a lot of solutions. The most popular one is another brand of tubing that is much more rigid than vinyl and also provides much less resistance to flow which requires even longer lines. My triple tap kegerator is tight enough on the inside I really didn't want to go with longer lines and special fittings. I came across EJ Ultra Barrier Silver lines and the description seemed to fit everything I was looking for - mainly no off tastes and secondarily equal flow resistance, flexible, and clear. There certainly aren't many reviews online about them and the few there are appear very positive with a few quoting foaming issues. I took the chance and ordered 3 x 12' lines and installed them with ease. One review I'd read said not to heat the tubing ends with boiling water so I used water about 180-190 degrees or so and heated the end. Gently got the barb end into the tubing then pushed it in straight with no problems at all. I didn't have any crimpling or distortion of the inner tube lining on any of the three lines.

I let the lines sit cold in the kegerator overnight and next day pulled a sample, tremendous foam. So I asked another forum member who has the lines and he'd told me to give it several more hours and it will work itself out. Came home that night and pulled a pint with a bunch of foam but noticed there was now more beer in the glass than that first pull. Took another pint glass and it poured flawlessly. Since then it's been pouring great with no excess foaming issues. Just used another one of the lines for the first time last night and the foaming was the same first pull but was fine for the second and as of this morning it's pouring perfectly. So, I guess the point is if you have foaming at first don't panic. I don't know the reason, perhaps the silver particles in the line need to react to the beer the first time which causes nucleation? After that the reaction appears to stop, at least it has for me on the two lines I've used so far. Now, to the important part... NO off smells or off tastes with these lines! I've tested on two beers now, one I've let the beer sit for a few days in the lines and tested comparing taste/smell between the first 2oz pull and second 2oz pull and couldn't distinguish any difference. I figured I wouldn't post a review until I tried running my lightest beer yet through the line since the lighter beer should show any off tastes easier. The beer was sitting in the lines for about 11-12 hours and the sample pulled today had no off smell or off tastes that I could detect. Some have said they still notice an off taste to these lines and perhaps they can but I cannot. In retrospect the vinyl taste/smell was completely obvious and apparent to me where some don't notice it. My family members even noticed it easily.

Anyhow, I'm very happy I found and bought these beer lines and highly recommend them. Not only do they get rid of that terrible plastic smell and taste but they have the addition of anti-microbial properties. Not sure how helpful that is to the homebrewer with a kegerator as opposed to commercially, but it's an added bonus for whatever it's worth.


Rev.
 

CapnHook

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2012
Messages
50
Reaction score
7
Location
Santa Rosa de Pos
Thank you for this review, Rev. I am just now beginning to set up my keezer and will begin kegging when the IPA I brewed yesterday is ready 4-6 weeks from now. I had notice the comments about the plastic taste in some other threads, and so when I ordered my kegging equipment, I bought 50' of Bev Seal Ultra, partially because I got a superb price, but mostly because of the confirmations that it did away with the plastic taste.

I was concerned a bit about the reported stiffness of the lines and the space the lines took up due to the necessary added length in the beer lines. I also bought John Guest fittings for both tap and keg sides to negate the difficulty of connecting the the stiffer line. I just got up and took a look at the 50 foot coil of Bev Seal, and it really doesn't seem to take up that much room, at least in a coil. I'm thinking about using 15 feet per line and zip-tying the bulk of it in a coil, with only enough loose at each end to reach the keg and tap in the tower with the keezer lid open. It doesn't look like a problem to me, but I'll know better in February.

If the Bev Seal doesn't work out, I'm happy to know there are alternatives available. I read your long thread about the original problem you had, which confirmed the wisdom to me of looking for something other than the usual beer lines.

Thanks again for a most helpful review!
 

day_trippr

"This Space For Rent"
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
37,494
Reaction score
20,348
Location
Stow, MA
What is the outside diameter of this tubing in the 3/16" ID size?
Next time I replace my lines I might want to use this stuff - but I'd definitely want to find the correct John Guest PTC fitting for it and not screw around with barbs...

Cheers!
 
OP
Rev2010

Rev2010

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2011
Messages
3,247
Reaction score
636
Location
Brooklyn
What is the outside diameter of this tubing in the 3/16" ID size?
Same as regular vinyl, 7/16". I used the exact same Oetiker clamps with the Ultra Barrier Silver that I did with the vinyl lines I had on prior. Also, btw, just to add I haven't had a single foaming issue since the first time I ran beer through each line. So I think that foaming issue mentioned earlier in my review was simply due to first time reaction with the lining of the tubing. Actually, after the first couple of pints it stopped, just saying I haven't ever had any foaming again since.


Rev.
 

Kjuckett1025

Active Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2014
Messages
37
Reaction score
4
Is this off metallic taste in terms to any plastic beer line?

I'm just about ready to order my list of components for first keezer build, and was about to order ordinary PVC 3/16 food grade lines. Will this also give an off flavor on the first two ounces?

If so, might you link me to where you bought the specialty line, if online? I find it foolish not to spend the couple extra bucks on beer line if it truly will make a flavor difference.

Thanks!
 
OP
Rev2010

Rev2010

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2011
Messages
3,247
Reaction score
636
Location
Brooklyn
Is this off metallic taste in terms to any plastic beer line?
Can't say for sure as there are very many people using regular vinyl lines with no complaints. It's also said some people are more sensitive to this taste. That said, all my family members and a friend of mine could all taste and smell it in both of the two beers I had on tap.

Personally, just having had the experience if I were you if the extra cost isn't an issue I'd just get the good lines and never have to worry about it. But that's me and because the plastic taste was so bad it was even clearly noticeable those first two ounces even diluted in a full pint of beer. The taste was terrible and had me originally thinking I'd somehow messed up when brewing. I bought the tubing here: http://morebeer.com/products/ultra-...crobial-pvc-free-beer-tubing-316-id-foot.html


Rev.
 
Top