We're going to need some hoses to connect together the various devices in our brewery such as the kettles, pumps, and the chiller (to name a few). We've been attaching male quick disconnects to various brewery parts, now it's time to build some hoses with female quick disconnects so that we can easily connect and disconnect hoses as needed.
Quick disconnects are (as the name would imply) connectors that can be connected and disconnected quickly. Ours seal very well (no drips at all) and support liquid flow in either direction. Female and male ends are used to form a locking seal. The male end is simply a post with a locking groove in it while the female end comes with a spring loaded cover (that must be pulled back when connecting/disconnecting), ball bearings that lock into the male groove, and a food grade o-ring that creates the seal.
We use stainless steel disconnects in our brewery instead of plastic (polysulfone) or brass as stainless is easier to clean, stronger, and holds up better over the years to contact with acidic liquids such as beer.
The female ends (and not the male) are attached to the hoses because of the following advantages:
- Ergonomics: Easier to connect/disconnect quickly with one hand.
- Easier to clean: The female ends are more work to clean and it's easier to clean a disconnect on a hose than on a kettle.
- Cost savings: The female ends are more expensive and we have more male disconnects than female.
To move hot water and wort around we use high temperature silicone food-grade tubing (1/2" ID, 7/8" OD) for our hoses. The silicone tubing we use is odourless, tasteless, inert, and FDA food-grade approved from -100F all the way up to 500F. The tubing is also translucent which lets us see the flow of liquid and air bubbles.
The use of less expensive poly vinyl chloride (PVC) tubing to transfer hot liquids is a highly debated topic amongst home brewers. While reinforced vinyl may technically 'work' in a brewing setup, we cannot recommend it for hot liquid transfers as most vinyl tubing is not food-grade approved nor is it rated for use up to the near boiling temperatures we will be using. In our experience off-flavours can also leech from the vinyl, especially when the tubing is new. This leeching increases at higher temperatures.
Thermoplastic tubing is also fairly popular for hot liquid transfer but it is completely opaque, making it harder to view the liquid inside. Thermoplastic is also rated to only about half the temperature of most silicone tubing and is not as inert.
If you're looking for the best grade tubing to use for brewing, use silicone. It's the number one choice in pharmaceutical, medical, food, and dairy (milking) use.
We're going to build five hoses: One 6 foot hose and four 4 foot hoses.
Finished 4 foot hose with female stainless steel quick disconnects attached:
The video below shows the quick disconnects in use: