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I've just finished bottling my first homebrew; how it tastes in two weeks will be the ultimate arbiter of my success, but I feel like I made very few mistakes for a n00b and I don't think any of them will turn out to be fatal.

However, the one thing that kept plaguing me throughout the process was the various bits of vinyl tubing. Here's some examples of accidents that happened:

  • The tubing on my wort chiller expanded slightly from the heat of the wort and I was forced to run water through it at a sub-optimal flow to prevent a large amounts of ordinary tap water from entering the wort. There was a steady trickle leaking in no matter what I did.
  • The large vinyl tube I was using as a blowoff tube started to not want to stay firmly seated in the mouth of the carboy
  • The 3/16" tube (at least I think that's the size) that I squeezed over the end of my racking cane created an airtight fit... for awhile. I noticed when rinsing it that tiny little bubbles were sneaking their way in.
  • I was forced to use two different sizes of hose to attach my bottling wand to the spigot of my bottling bucket and I could tell that when the flow got high enough it was letting a maybe-not-ok amount of air into the beer as I bottled.

There's got to be a better way. What can I do to prevent my equipment from working against me like this?

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2 Answers 2

You can use a smaller diameter tubing in most applications. If you dip the tubing in hot water it will allow it to stretch some more and you can get a tight fit on certain items.

Next clamps of some sort for certain applications can help as well. But they create an extra step when you need or want to remove the tuning. (I removed the tubing from my racking set up each time to better clean the cane,auto-siphon)

Lastly, seeing bubbles during your racking process might not be air. Their will be dissolved CO2 in the beer post fermentation. The process of racking can liberate the dissolved CO2 into what looks like quite a but of bubbles running through the tubing. I put a hose clamp on my racking set up and was still seeing those bubbles. At that point I realized it was CO2 coming out due to the cavitation/movement of the beer.

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Use hose clamps on all your connections, and that will stop air getting in through the join.

Worm clamps and small duct clamps are good for temporary fittings on canes, wands and carboys. They can also be used for permanent fittings, although they do eventually come loose and should be checked for tightness from time to time. Oetker clamps are better for permanent fittings since these create an even tension around the entire circumference of the hose, and don't come loose with temperature changes.

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