Ultra Barrier beer lines

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MapleGroveAleworks

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Hi all. I've had the same Accuflex lines for about 3 years now and they're starting to discolor. I think it's time to replace them. I currently use 15 foot lines and John Guest fittings.

I have read good things about this Ultra Barrier silver lines and would like to upgrade to them because I read reports that you don't need nearly as long a line length which would be great as I hate dealing with 75 foot of lines for 5 taps in my keezer.

https://www.morebeer.com/products/ultra-barrier-antimicrobial-pvc-free-tubing-316-foot.html

My question is, will this line connect properly into John Guest fittings? That would be great because then I only have to change the lines out and I'll be done. Thanks!

If anyone has used this line and could offer some commentary on how long of a line they're using per tap that would be great too so I don't overbuy. This stuff isn't cheap.

My keezer runs about 38 degrees and I keep my pressure about 12 PSI.
 

Rev2010

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On my previous kegerator (before my divorce and move) I had three 12' lines of Ultra Barrier Silver. Pour was great. On my need kegerator I went with 13' but only because I went with an extra tall draft tower and just figured "what the heck one more foot can't hurt". I can honestly tell you... I don't cool my tower and my 18psi hefeweizen's pour just fine! Little more foam than usual due to the style of beer of course but totally fine.


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MapleGroveAleworks

MapleGroveAleworks

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On my previous kegerator (before my divorce and move) I had three 12' lines of Ultra Barrier Silver. Pour was great. On my need kegerator I went with 13' but only because I went with an extra tall draft tower and just figured "what the heck one more foot can't hurt". I can honestly tell you... I don't cool my tower and my 18psi hefeweizen's pour just fine! Little more foam than usual due to the style of beer of course but totally fine.


Rev.
Thanks. Are you using John Guest fittings? I want to make sure they'll work before I order this stuff.
 

Rev2010

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Oh sorry, nope I'm not using them. I just heated the ends in very hot (but not boiling) water and worked them onto the elbows and disconnects then Oetiker clamped them.


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IslandLizard

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There was a recent thread of someone using the E.J. Beverage Silver Barrier lines but experiences oxidized beer. It's inconclusive what may be causing it:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/...ion-first-pour-keezer-is-it-the-lines.660785/

For the sizeable price difference, I'd stick with the Bev-Seal Ultra 235 at $0.35 a foot. Or as someone at the end of that thread suggested, 1/8" ID Tygon tubing!

My Ultra 235 lines are about 3 years old, and although there is some discoloration, there's nothing I'd be alarmed about. The inner liner is PET. My stance is, if it doesn't come out with a PBW cleaning cycle, it isn't coming out with beer either.
 
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MapleGroveAleworks

MapleGroveAleworks

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There was a recent thread of someone using the E.J. Beverage Silver Barrier lines but experiences oxidized beer. It's inconclusive what may be causing it:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/...ion-first-pour-keezer-is-it-the-lines.660785/

For the sizeable price difference, I'd stick with the Bev-Seal Ultra 235 at $0.35 a foot. Or as someone at the end of that thread suggested, 1/8" ID Tygon tubing!

My Ultra 235 lines are about 3 years old, and although there is some discoloration, there's nothing I'd be alarmed about. The inner liner is PET. My stance is, if it doesn't come out with a PBW cleaning cycle, it isn't coming out with beer either.
Very true. The beer tastes just fine, they're just a little tan'ish. I'm actually going to just keep them after reading this, and when I do replace them it'll just be with the same stuff as you linked to. Thanks.
 

IslandLizard

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Very true. The beer tastes just fine, they're just a little tan'ish. I'm actually going to just keep them after reading this, and when I do replace them it'll just be with the same stuff as you linked to. Thanks.
I may have misunderstood, are you currently not using the thin Bev-Seal Ultra lines, just the regular thick-walled 3/16"ID / 7/16"OD PVC lines? The latter ones tend to take on color very rapidly. I use those for my picnic taps, they are brownish or greenish depending on what beer was in them. That color never comes out totally.

Those EJ Beverage lines are also regular thick walled lines, just like the PVC ones. Not sure what kind of polymer they're using, they sort of look and feel like high quality silicone, but I think that was ruled out as silicone is not impervious to O2 at all.
 

Rev2010

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There was a recent thread of someone using the E.J. Beverage Silver Barrier lines but experiences oxidized beer. It's inconclusive what may be causing it:
I used these lines for two years and never had any oxidation issues.


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MapleGroveAleworks

MapleGroveAleworks

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I may have misunderstood, are you currently not using the thin Bev-Seal Ultra lines, just the regular thick-walled 3/16"ID / 7/16"OD PVC lines? The latter ones tend to take on color very rapidly. I use those for my picnic taps, they are brownish or greenish depending on what beer was in them. That color never comes out totally.

Those EJ Beverage lines are also regular thick walled lines, just like the PVC ones. Not sure what kind of polymer they're using, they sort of look and feel like high quality silicone, but I think that was ruled out as silicone is not impervious to O2 at all.
I'm currently using these:

https://www.birdmanbrewing.com/accuflex-bev-seal-ultra-barrier-tubing-3-16-id-50ft-free-shipping/

5 taps of 15 feet each. I run star san thru them quite often, only PBW maybe once in 3 years. Nothing else but beer. They're all mostly tan even after running star san thru them. I figured it was time for a swap out. I detect no off flavors from the beer though, so I wasn't sure.
 

Rev2010

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That's good to hear!
Honestly, outside of the extra cost, I struggle to see why this beer line gets so ignored or sometimes scoffed at on this forum. Customer reviews across several online shops appear overwhelmingly positive. All I can say is I started with vinyl lines and good God that beer that sat in the lines for only 15 minutes led to a horrible plastic taste. Changed to this beer line and problem gone. I do an IPA that is also dry hopped and I don't see any darkening from oxidation nor have I ever tasted oxidation in any of my beers. I just looked up the beer line again and it says ultra-low permiablilty. It's also advertised as having been tested at Weihenstephan Germany and New Belgium's brewery.

So, I don't get all the disregard for it. But whatev's.


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IslandLizard

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I'm currently using these:

https://www.birdmanbrewing.com/accuflex-bev-seal-ultra-barrier-tubing-3-16-id-50ft-free-shipping/

5 taps of 15 feet each. I run star san thru them quite often, only PBW maybe once in 3 years. Nothing else but beer. They're all mostly tan even after running star san thru them. I figured it was time for a swap out. I detect no off flavors from the beer though, so I wasn't sure.
Those are the same ones I linked to at RiteBrew, Bev-Seal Ultra 235. I use those, and as I said, there is a faint discoloration noticeable, but I don't think that leaves any tasteable trace. I got 5 taps with 18 feet each on them, using JG push fittings.
 

IslandLizard

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Honestly, outside of the extra cost, I struggle to see why this beer line gets so ignored or sometimes scoffed at on this forum.
I think it is the cost, $1.90 vs. $0.35 a foot for the Bev-Seal Ultra 235. I've never used it, but got sticker shock at the National HomeBrew Conference.

Do they discolor at all?
Do the 3/16" ID they really have 2.2 pound per foot resistance as claimed? That's hard to believe.
 

day_trippr

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Honestly, outside of the extra cost, I struggle to see why this beer line gets so ignored or sometimes scoffed at on this forum.[...]
Well...I don't know that I've seen that much "scoffing" but I have seen "doubt". It doesn't have as long and credible a track record here as, say, Bev Seal Ultra 235, and it doesn't have much of a fan base here, either.

But I do have issues with this line: it uses some proprietary material that nobody outside of the company can do any research upon; and while they claim low permeability, show me some actual numbers so I can make that determination - I can easily find numbers that back up the effectivity of PET, but I can't find zip for this line, and when people claim oxidation there's nothing to counter that with; finally, the silver coating erodes, so at least from any anti-microbial benefits the line actually has a limited lifespan.

btw, I didn't see any actual testimonials by the mentioned establishments. Like, did they switch to that line? And how often do they replace all their lines when the silver is all gone?

Cheers!
 

Rev2010

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finally, the silver coating erodes, so at least from any anti-microbial benefits the line actually has a limited lifespan.
They do state it's antimicrobial to 4000 liters so about 211 five gallon homebrew batches. I hear ya though, would be nice to know the material properties but I never tried emailing EJ as I've never had reason for concern, perhaps email them and see if they answer these questions.

As for as discoloring, no I don't recall having any discoloring in the two years use prior. That's not to say it doesn't discolor, I just don't recall any.


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MapleGroveAleworks

MapleGroveAleworks

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Those are the same ones I linked to at RiteBrew, Bev-Seal Ultra 235. I use those, and as I said, there is a faint discoloration noticeable, but I don't think that leaves any tasteable trace. I got 5 taps with 18 feet each on them, using JG push fittings.
Thanks. You saved me some money. Gonna keep the ones I have for now until I taste a reason not to.
 

day_trippr

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They do state it's antimicrobial to 4000 liters so about 211 five gallon homebrew batches.[...]
I saw that, and wondered what the usage conditions included. Like frequent line cleaning using industry standard caustics.
When you consider the Silver likely uses a vapor deposited film of silver ions, and then observe what happens to chrome plated faucets over rather short period of use, I wonder if that 1000 gallon lifespan holds true.

Anyway...I don't think discoloring favors any line in particular. Intuitively I'd expect a PET liner to build up slower but I have no empirical data to offer in that regard. I use generic Bevlex 200 as my genetics blessed me by being unable to detect the off-note some folks can taste, I do a full recirculated hot-ish BLC clean-out every month, and replace the lines every few years just on GPs...

Cheers!
 

Bobby_M

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I feel like the EJ stuff is snake oil. For a while I was selling Bevlex PVC and the EJ ultra barrier as a premium option. I had the stuff on my personal kegerator and the 2oz that sat in the lines overnight got oxidized or otherwise took on a flavor of oxidation and rubber. I switched my lines over to Bevseal Utra with john guest fittings and never looked back. Besides the tubing being way cheaper, beer can sit in those lines for a week and I'd drink the first ounce any day. That's the premium option I now sell.
 

IslandLizard

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I feel like the EJ stuff is snake oil. I had the stuff on my personal kegerator and the 2oz that sat in the lines overnight got oxidized or otherwise took on a flavor of oxidation and rubber. [...]
That seems to be what this member is experiencing in this recent thread:
for some reason the first pour out of my keezer is always flat and heavily oxidized (especially if I let it sit for a few days between pours) [...]
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/...ion-first-pour-keezer-is-it-the-lines.660785/
I switched my lines over to Bevseal Utra with john guest fittings and never looked back. Besides the tubing being way cheaper, beer can sit in those lines for a week and I'd drink the first ounce any day.
I'm totally with you on that. The PET liner is the essential difference.
 

IslandLizard

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From EJ Beverage's website:

PVC Free Tubing
  • No harmful Dioxins or Phthalates
  • Tubing does not impact taste of beverage
  • Maintains clarity and flexibility
  • Resists oxygen permeation 70% better than traditional PVC tubing
My emphasis, in red. 70% better than PVC??? I'm not impressed from an oxidation point of view.
Doesn't "100% better" mean twice as resistant?
 

Beer-lord

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Very true. The beer tastes just fine, they're just a little tan'ish. I'm actually going to just keep them after reading this, and when I do replace them it'll just be with the same stuff as you linked to. Thanks.
I've had my Accuflex lines for just a few months short of 4 years and though they have discolored a bit, they are still perfectly fine. I do clean my lines between each keg change but I'm keeping mine until I notice a problem.
I will admit the length of the lines needed with 3 kegs in a tight kegerator is not the best option but for me, it just works.
 

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Another approach is to run one short line, so very little beer that has sat in line ends up in glass. Won't work with your fancy kegerator bar set ups though.

I've often have many kegs going, and dealing with the lengths of several beer lines was just not worth it to me at some point.

I just run one line with one of these compensators on it, and attach to the keg I want each time I draw a pint or growler. Admit it is not elegant at all except in its simplicity.

https://www.morebeer.com/products/inline-flow-control-compensator.html
 

william_shakes_beer

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The lines aren't meant to be pretty, they're meant to SERVE BEER If you could see the inside of the water lines in your house, you'd probably yak up a hairball. Yet, you evaluate them by what the water tastes like. Same with beer lines. If the beer is good, the lines are good. If you don't like the discoloration, perhaps you can cover them with some colored electrical tape.
 

Rev2010

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Well, got curious and pulled a 3 oz sample in one glass and another in another glass. Did this for my hefeweizen and my Wit which are currently on tap. I did indeed find a noticeable difference. For the hefeweizen the first 3oz pull was undrinkable, I spit it out. The second pull tasted fine. With the Wit the difference was much less pronounced, the first pull was drinkable but lacked the orange peel/coriander notes that the second pull had very nicely.

Odd. I had done this test before when I had my previous kegerator and there was zero difference. Even tried it a couple of times. I have been noticing some taste issue with some of my beers lately and was just chalking it up to adjusting to new systems and such and at other times I'd pull a pint and say, "This tastes perfect". Perhaps something is up with my lines. Ugh. Wondering if something changed with the manufacturing or something. Like I said, I used these lines for *two straight years* and had no problems at all, my beers tasted great. I'd even come back from vacation and pull a pint with no funky tastes.

What line lengths are you Bev-Seal Ultra guys using? I recall reading they need way more length or you get foamy pours. I see IslandLizard mentioned 18ft, that a decent length?


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IslandLizard

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I see IslandLizard mentioned 18ft, that a decent length?
I serve at 12 psi, but use 50% extra line length due to:
  • Bev-Seal Ultra 235 tubing's slightly wider bore of 0.20" (1/5") vs 0.1875" (3/16" BevLex)
  • Slickness of the PET liner
  • Keeping my (upright) keezer at 50-52°F, I prefer beers a little warmer
That works for me. The coiled lines lie on top of the kegs.
 

Rev2010

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Do you use the John Guest fittings? Would this tubing be able to be heated at the tip and worked onto the standard beer tower elbow connector and ball lock disconnects or are the John Guest fittings pretty much required?


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IslandLizard

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Do you use the John Guest fittings? Would this tubing be able to be heated at the tip and worked onto the standard beer tower elbow connector and ball lock disconnects or are the John Guest fittings pretty much required?
I do use the JG fittings, indeed, I love them.
My taps are coming out of the (upright) keezer door, pretty high up, with plenty of space for the lines to mount behind the shanks and coil up inside. I do use JG right angle adapters on the JG MFL QD adapters to give me a bit more flexibility with the lines coming off the kegs, so they don't arch up off the QDs, which I found a nuisance.

Connecting the line to your barbed tower shanks can be a bit more problematic. I guess you have elbow barbs pointing down inside the tower?
With boiling water and plenty of patience you can stretch them over 3/16" barbs, carefully. It really helps to swage the line beforehand. There are threads and vids on how to do it.

Alternatively you could slip a very short piece of your EJ 3/16" tubing over the barb, clamp it, and connect the Ultra 235 line to that with a 7/16" to 5/16" JG union/reducer, if you can find one.
Freshwater Systems doesn't seem to have that one, they have 1/2" to 5/16" and 3/8" to 5/16".
 

Rev2010

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Just an update, tested again today with just the hefe and the first 3oz of Hefeweizen was fine. I think I know what happened last test - I had swirled up both kegs a couple days before and pulled a glass and both were all filled with yeast so I stopped pouring and figured I'd let's the yeast settle. So the last test the beer in the lines likely had far more yeast in it than the second pull. Not sure why it made it taste so terrible, but today it was fine.

I have a bunch of friends coming over Monday and will test again with both the hefe and Wit.


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IslandLizard

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Just an update, tested again today with just the hefe and the first 3oz of Hefeweizen was fine. I think I know what happened last test - I had swirled up both kegs a couple days before and pulled a glass and both were all filled with yeast so I stopped pouring and figured I'd let's the yeast settle. So the last test the beer in the lines likely had far more yeast in it than the second pull. Not sure why it made it taste so terrible, but today it was fine.

I have a bunch of friends coming over Monday and will test again with both the hefe and Wit.
You probably won't notice anything. Fast, successive pours won't give away the lines' permeability, it's the longer times spent in the lines that are the test for that.
 

Rev2010

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You probably won't notice anything. Fast, successive pours won't give away the lines' permeability, it's the longer times spent in the lines that are the test for that.
The beer was sitting in the line since the last time I tested. The second pour is the "clean" pour that wasn't sitting in the line. So I'm not sure what fast successive pours you're referring to. There's the beer in the line pour, and the beer that was in the keg not sitting in the line that followed. As mentioned, when I took the sample last test the beer in the line had a ton of yeast from a few days prior where I shook up the kegs and had a glass. This time there was no yeast issue.


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IslandLizard

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The beer was sitting in the line since the last time I tested. The second pour is the "clean" pour that wasn't sitting in the line. So I'm not sure what fast successive pours you're referring to. There's the beer in the line pour, and the beer that was in the keg not sitting in the line that followed. As mentioned, when I took the sample last test the beer in the line had a ton of yeast from a few days prior where I shook up the kegs and had a glass. This time there was no yeast issue.
I was referring to this test:
I have a bunch of friends coming over Monday and will test again with both the hefe and Wit.
 

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I used the EJ tubing once, thought it would be easier to work with. It is more flexible, but I did notice that the 1-2 ounces in the line was flat upon pouring, and when it sat for a day or two, would be both flat and oxidized. It seems to be very gas permeable. Ended up switching back to Bev-Seal Ultra.

Only part of bev seal ultra that is a bit of a PITA if I have a tower with the 90 degree barbs permanently attached to the shank. It takes some serious finger work and a little heat to get the lines on those barbs.
 

Rev2010

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I was referring to this test:
Ah I see. When I said I'd test again I meant I would take a first pour 3oz in-line sample and one right after. Not successive pours, just the first pour of the day. I am holding off on drinking much of these beers so that I have a bunch for my friends still on tap. So the first 3oz pours will be sitting in the lines for 2 full days.


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Rev2010

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but I did notice that the 1-2 ounces in the line was flat upon pouring, and when it sat for a day or two, would be both flat and oxidized
See now, I don't have that problem at all. Not a single sample from the first 2-3oz I've tested pouring has ever been flat in any way. Quite to the contrary my first pull samples are always fully carbonated like the rest of the pours.


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Unicorn_Platypus

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Sounds like multiple other users are confirming my experience with the EJ Bev lines.

I would say though that although beer left in the lines always oxidizes...any beer I pour after emptying the lines still seems fine (even for several months)

I'll try switching my lines to the stuff with PET liner that folks are recommending and report back. I take the winter off from brewing so will report back in spring

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/...ion-first-pour-keezer-is-it-the-lines.660785/
 

Rev2010

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Forgot to post back after this weekends party. I pulled a 3oz sample of both the Hefeweizen and Belgian Wit that was sitting in the line I believe two days since last pour. Compared to samples poured immediately after and I couldn't tell any real difference. So, I dunno. Probably gonna stick with my lines. Gonna do the test again when my Pilsner and Amber are on tap then decide from there.


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Unicorn_Platypus

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Forgot to post back after this weekends party. I pulled a 3oz sample of both the Hefeweizen and Belgian Wit that was sitting in the line I believe two days since last pour. Compared to samples poured immediately after and I couldn't tell any real difference. So, I dunno. Probably gonna stick with my lines. Gonna do the test again when my Pilsner and Amber are on tap then decide from there.


Rev.
Try it with a dry hopped beer
 

Rev2010

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Try it with a dry hopped beer
I already have many times. My IPA is dry hopped, it's based off the NorthernBrewer Kiwi Express, a modified version of it. But yeah I use 3oz of dry hops and each time it's come out awesome. No oxidation notes at all. I'm always open to ideas and even thought maybe I was wrong when I did the test and pulled the Hefeweizen sample earlier in the thread, but since then I haven't noticed any real difference and realized that first Hefeweizen pull had a ton of yeast in the line from the keg shake up as detailed in my earlier post. I think that's why that sample tasted awful. Since then I can't detect any difference. And in the prior two years I used this tubing I had no issues. Take that info as you will. I have zero reason to defend EJ Beverage, I own no stock in that company. Solely speaking from personal experience.


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Unicorn_Platypus

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Maybe the quality of the tubing has changed since you bought your lot?
Could also be another variable. What kind of faucet are you using?
 
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