Cleaning Transfer Hoses

edited May 2018 in General

Wondering how commercial and craft operations do this.


  • Running caustic cleaning solution in a loop?

  • And at 85 deg C and 2% solution for at least 30 to 45 minutes followed by hot water at 85 deg C until all caustic trace is gone.

  • Any suggestions for one at the hobby level. Have done the near boiling water loop and a sterilant rinse.. Should I be doing something different? Thanks

  • Mash or spirit?

  • You can pick up PBW and other caustic cleaners at hobby scale, look in the 5-10 pound range for reasonable prices. I use it for cleaning my homebrewing gear with domestic hot water and brushes to good results. Granted, I'm only dealing with a couple feet of 1/4" clear tubing.

    If your transfer lines are too long for a long wire-handled brush to handle and a simple loop isn't doing it, you can also look into hose pigs. I've never used them, but I would assume they work well given how often they come up.

  • Thanks @RobertS

    @grim both. Not really having problems, just using pumps more often for different things and thought I should educate myself so I ask you guys. Thanks.

  • edited May 2018

    Two additional items to consider;

    • Ideally, you need to have a flow velocity of 3m/s whilst cleaning hoses.
    • When you are not using hoses, store them in a sterilant bath.
  • @Pa_bon i just did my 1/2" hoses over the weekend. Mixed a 5 gallon batch in my boil kettle and circulated with my pump while heating it. Got my silicone from scungy to shiny.

  • @richard We store our hoses dry and do a full loop before and after each use. Might be less chemical efficient, but it removes any stress of 'did anything happen in storage' or 'did this get put away clean'. Granted, both of those are much less likely to be a worry when you don't have several people using the same equipment.

  • edited May 2018

    Worth noting, you likely don't need to use strong caustic, acids, or sanitizers on spirit transfer lines. Light PBW and a hot water rinse is more than appropriate. If you have dedicated lines, hot water and let drip dry. I would personally not keep lines soaking in sterilizer, especially spirit lines. I typically flush with RO prior to transfer or filtration to get any residual particle/dust out of the line.

    If you are using something like a 3/8th poly tube, it's absurdly cheap in 100 foot lengths. You can keep separate hoses by spirit type, and throw them out after a few uses.

    Gin is the obvious offender in terms of flavor taint in lines.

    Vodka lines should never be used for anything but.

    Low wines as well, the deep tails leaves quite a bit of flavor.

    High sugar content low proof cordials, you need to be diligent as this is especially tasty microbe food.

    Like I said, 3/8ths poly is dirt cheap.

  • @grim I use 3/8" and 1/2" silicone in my peristaltic pumps. Not too expensive to replace. It was more or less a curiosity I had to see if i was taking care of mine properly, or if I could improve my protocol.

    Thanks for the responses.

  • Give it a good rinse, don't keep it compressed in the housing.

  • Never leave anything soaking in a sanitizing solution. Anything more than the contact time stated by the manufacturer is not only a waste, but can actually degrade some materials. Both plastics and stainless. Not a brewery or distillery on the planet with large tubs of hoses soaking for any reason :-)

    Dean Palmer - Director of Rum - Cotherman Distilling - Dunedin, FL

  • Incorrect. Is recommended as per correct levels.

  • @richard said: Incorrect. Is recommended as per correct levels.

    I agree with Richard. I always see parts in buckets of sanitizer when I visit breweries!

  • edited May 2018

    The only parts we keep in sanitizer long-term are EDPM gaskets in iodine. Otherwise, parts are placed in sanitizer when pulled for a process and only held until used some time the same day.

  • I firmly disagree..

    First there is a difference between cleaning and sanitizing... you cannot sanitize globs of crap with liquid sanitizer reliably.

    Cleaning - After use, parts should be put in cleanser then rinsed and dried..

    Sanitizing - Just before use, sanitizing should be done. Sanitizing more than a few minutes before use is not good if removed from sanitizer due to airborne contamination, and many sanitizers will leave a film on plastic products or are acidic enough to eat into soft metals if left for more than an hour.

    here is a podcast from the dude from 5-star that I think should be a requirement to anyone in the fermentation business:

    03-29-07 Basic Brewing Radio - Sanitizing with Bleach and Star San Charlie Talley of Five Star Chemicals tells us best practices in using household bleach and Star San in sanitizing equipment.

  • Thank you for the link, bookmarked to pass around.

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