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Mash tun tubing to kettle?

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berley31

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Ok, so I'm about to start AG brewing... build my mash tun from a 48-quart cooler, doesn't seem to be leaking. Looks ok for now.

HOWEVER, I'm having trouble deciding what to use for the tubing from the mash tun to the kettle. I'm obviously looking for something that is flexible and can take heat up to about 165-170 F. I live in a small city that doesn't have a LHBS. When I went to Home Depot, they only had your typical vinyl tubing and such that is only rated to 70 F.

Any suggestions as to what I should be looking for? What does everyone here use?
 

AiredAle

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You have at least four choices: silicone tubing, therrmoplasic elastomer, high temperature vinyl and normal vinyl. In that order of most to least expensive, and best to worst in my opinion. I use silicone because it's clear, can take the heat, won't kink if you get 1/8" wall thickness, and can be boiled to sanitize. Thermoplastic elastomer tubing is beige opaque, takes the heat, thick enough not to kink, but you can't see thought it in operation. High temp vinyl is clear and takes up to boiling temps, can still kink when hot. Ordinary vinyl sucks at high temps.

If you are concerned about extractives and plasticizers, then again best to worst is as listed. Nothing comes out of silicone tubing if it is medical or pharma grade. Not much comes out of thermoplastic, more plasticizers may leach from the vinyl tubings. However, all are rated food grade, so you be the judge.
 
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berley31

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Thanks, very informative.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find silicone tubing anywhere around here. I can't even find vinyl tubing that's rated above 150 F.

I think my only option is PEX tubing... which isn't clear and isn't super flexible, but it's rated for 180 or so and is NSF-rated, so...
 

dmbnpj

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Just use the vinyl tubing with the braided nylon inside from home depot. Ive used that stuff with no problems at all.
 
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berley31

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I've checked into that, but was told it wasn't rated as safe for liquids at the temps that would be coming from a mash tun (e.g. 160-170).
 

FlyinkibbleZ

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i have used this same type of tubing. although it doesn't state it is rated for these temps, i have brewed lots of beer with it and havent had a single issue. the tubing gets a little more flexible, but not bad at all. FWIW
 

BeerPressure

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Ive used the vinyl tubing ever since i started brewing and ive never gotten any off flavors, ever.
 

AiredAle

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Berley31,

Here in the USA we can get silicone and thermoplastic elastomer tubing from some homebrew shops, or from McMaster Carr or Grainger, don't know if they ship to Canada, or if you have the equivalent industrial suppliers there. Can't imagine you don't. Not a fast option, but an option. PEX will work too, bit rigid though.
 

dmbnpj

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I've checked into that, but was told it wasn't rated as safe for liquids at the temps that would be coming from a mash tun (e.g. 160-170).
Speaking from experience, it is safe and fine to use. I even use it as a link between my boil kettle and CFC (so it transfers boiling wort) without any issues. I bought the quick disconnects from mcmaster carr, hooked them up to the braided vinyl tubing with hose clamps and have been brewing all grain ever since.
 

arturo7

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+1 on the reinforced vinyl tubing from the Despot. Since you are not putting any real pressure on the tubing, the lower temp rating is misleading.
 

vincemash

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Just use the vinyl tubing with the braided nylon inside from home depot. Ive used that stuff with no problems at all.
Ditto on the el-cheapo vinyl -nylon braided home depot stuff, never a problem here

I also use the standard vinyl non-braided tube on my keezer....never had one problem or had anyone notice an off-taste
 
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berley31

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In cases like this, I understand there's no off-flavors... but, can you say with 100% certainty that there is NOT leaching of chemicals from the standard vinyl tubing/braided vinyl? You may not be able to TASTE it, but it doesn't mean that it's safe, correct?
 

KevinWP

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I'm also a recent upgrade to AG. I had the same question... was at Home Depot last night looking for higher grade tubing among other things and found a display chart tacked to the shelving.

Vinyl tubing at HD was rated as FDA approved up to 175°, but only rated to a certain PSI at 70°.

Since our application is an unpressurized drain tube for a hot mash tun, so long as you mash out at 175° or less, you should remain in the FDA food safe range of normal vinyl tubing.
 

vincemash

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In cases like this, I understand there's no off-flavors... but, can you say with 100% certainty that there is NOT leaching of chemicals from the standard vinyl tubing/braided vinyl? You may not be able to TASTE it, but it doesn't mean that it's safe, correct?

cannot say with 100% certainty, but I am willing to take my chances.

I would bet you ingest many worse things on a daily basis in food, water, and air that are worse than anything that can leach into beer running through a vinyl tube
 

maida7

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I use this superflex beverage tubing from morebeer. http://morebeer.com/view_product/16375//Beverage_Tubing_1_2"_ID_-_By_the_Foot

It's rated to boiling 212F. It's clear so you can see what's going on with the wort. It's much thicker, softer and higher quality then the crap at the borg. plus it's only .80 / LF

I also use this tubing in different sizes for my keg system. The 3/16" ID superflex makes the best beer lines I have ever used. The think plump walls make the hose clamps seal way better.
 

AiredAle

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Ordinary vinyl tubing, including FDA approved tubing is plasticized with phthalate plasticizers. These are low molecular weight and mobile in the polyvinyl chloride plastic matrix they plasticize. They are only very slightly water soluble, but more so at higher temperatures. If you use the standard not-heat rated tubing for hot wort you have a very slight risk of extracting a few parts per billion or maybe million of phthalate into your wort. There is still a lot of controversy over the tox effects of phthalates, so if you want to be completely safe, avoid using ordinary vinyl at high temperatures.

If you don't see this as a risk worth avoiding, go ahead and use what you want. I do suspect that too much alcohol is worse for us over time than the phthalate, to put it in perspective. Also, most of the phtalate tox effect argument seems to center around developmental effects so if you are of an age to make and drink beer, you are past the point of concern. If you are a precocious brewer, and are only three years old, I'd avoid the vinyl tube so your sex organs grow normally...

Personally, I use some vinyl in beer lines, and for racking, but have changed to silicone for all hot transfer applications, just because I like it better, and it doesn't get as limp as hot vinyl.
 
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