How to clean and sanitize a beer transfer hose
Maintaining sanitary conditions throughout the brewing process is critical to producing high quality beer. By boiling right in the fermenter, the BREWHA fermenters (3-in-1 and 4-in-1) make it easy to achieve perfect sanitation throughout fermentation as the heat of the boil is a very effective sanitizer. However, the brewer needs to ensure that sanitary conditions are not compromised when racking/transferring beer into bottles or kegs.
When racking beer, one primary source of infection can be the transfer hose that is used. Hoses can easily develop knicks and cracks internally that are hard to spot, harbor bacteria and are very hard to effectively sanitize with chemicals. Chemical cleaners wash over the surface but don’t effectively deal with microbes deep in microscopic cracks.
BREWHA’s Fermenter to Keg Racking Hose is designed to address this deficiency found in most transfer hoses. Being made of durable, high-temp braided silicone hose, the hose itself can be placed in boiling water to heat sanitize the entire hose. Heat is the most effective sanitizer and passes right through the hose, even sanitizing microbes in cracks, should there be any. (This technique can be employed with all of BREWHA’s high-temp braided silicone hoses as brewers may use the larger diameter hoses to transfer more quickly.)
In order to sanitize the hose, first remove the ball lock connector by loosening the tail piece nut (the connector is not designed for high heat so should not be placed in boiling water; many Sanke connectors can handle heat but keep an eye on gaskets and replace if any signs of deterioration are detected). The connector should be disassembled and the insides thoroughly inspected, cleaned and rinsed with sanitizer. Place the hose into boiling water, starting with one end and slowly lowering it in so that water enters the entire length of the hose and air bubbles do not remain. (Water is a better conductor of heat than air so this method is most effective and completed quickest when air is removed from the hose.)
Leave the hose in the boiling water for at least five minutes to ensure the inside of the hose reaches temperatures above 88°C/190°F.
Once heating is completed, the hose can be reassembled with the connector and it is ready to use. It is good practice to always rinse the hose out thoroughly and immediately after each use to prevent microbes from having a ready food source to ‘set up shop’ in the first place.