Brewers can get the most life out of their brew hoses, and optimize their return on investment, by selecting and using hoses safely and properly. Industry experts have identified these unlucky 13 factors that can cause brew hoses to fail prematurely. Recognizing these causes can help you avoid them.
By BrewSavor® by NewAge® Industries
13) Incorrect Hose Length
A brew hose that is too short cannot expand or contract with changes in pressure and temperature. The short length can cause excessive stress on the fittings or hose reinforcement. A hose should therefore never be pulled on to try to reach its attachment destination.
12) Defective Hose
Hoses are made from a unique blend of different materials with complex manufacturing methods. Inconsistent machinery, poor quality of raw materials, or human error can result in defects or variances greater than allowable tolerances. Failure from a faulty hose will typically occur in the first few hours of service and can be in the form of pin holes, blowouts, or tube and cover separation. Examine each brew hose before it is put into use. An endoscope or borescope is an easy-to-use instrument that allows for the examination of the inside of a brew hose and requires only a moderate investment. An examination will not catch every defect, but it may help prevent some hoses from being put into service.
11) Exceeding the Minimum Bend Radius
Forcing a hose to bend more than it is designed to can cause brew hose failure. A hose’s minimum bend radius, measured from the inside edge of the hose and not its centerline, can cause the hose to kink, or over time in extreme cases, split. This is more commonly seen on high pressure hoses or vacuum hoses.
10) Improperly Selected Fittings and Collars
Clamps, collars and fittings that are not sized properly can result in the fitting being ejected – sometimes quickly – from the end of the hose. The hardware must be carefully mated so that it locks together during the hose assembly process. Ejection can also result from the mixing and matching of incompatible hose, fittings, collars and/or clamps.
9) Kinking At or Near a Fitting
If the barb of a fitting cuts into the liner of the hose, the product being conveyed can escape into the reinforcement layers. This leak can eventually lead to bubbling or blistering of the cover at, or within several feet of, the hose end. To avoid this situation, only experienced hose assembly technicians, using the proper, dedicated equipment, should crimp fittings and collars.
8) Twisting a Hose During Installation or Service
Twisting a hose, rather than naturally bending it, will reduce its life. It is estimated that a twist of just 7% made when installing a hose in a permanent application can reduce the hose life by 90%.
Brew hoses are flexible components that will degrade over time. Shelf life and service life vary widely and depend on the hose’s composition, application, environment, storage and care. Older hoses can become discolored and stiff or burst even at low pressures and temperatures. Do not risk your safety – or the safety of others – by using hoses and assemblies that are past their useful life.
6) Temperature Exposure
Excessive hot or cold temperatures can lead to brew hose discoloration, cracking, hardness or failure. Most brew hoses are engineered and manufactured to endure temperature extremes. If a hose accidentally gets used for the wrong brewing process however, such as a cold process hose hooked up to a hot process, problems can arise. Remember, too, that as temperatures increase, pressure ratings decrease.
5) Contaminated Media
Foreign particles or residue flowing through a liner can damage or wear out the hose prematurely. Cross contamination is another risk – it is vital that the ingredients from one product do not mix with another. Following instructions on cleaning brew hoses to ensure there is no matter left from a previous use is essential.
4) Liner or Cover not Compatible with Fluids or Environment
Incompatibility can result in discoloration, swelling, sponginess, or the breakdown of the hose’s construction. This is especially important when it comes to the liner of a brew hose, as liner breakdown can introduce impurities and lead to off taste.
3) External Damage to the Hose Cover
Kinks, crushed sections, and cover damage that exposes reinforcement will eventually break down the layers and lead to hose failure. Some brew hoses are designed to withstand incidents like being stepped on or occasionally being run over with a forklift, while others are not. The way hoses are stored, draped over hard piping and hanging down, laid flat on a shelf, etc., can impact covers and hose integrity, too. Hoses should be inspected prior to each use and replaced when cover damage is discovered.
2) Swelling from Excessive Working Pressure
Hose failure caused by swelling usually appears as a large bubble or burst area with torn reinforcement, typically along the outside of a bend. Brew hoses are engineered to withstand a range of pressure and vacuum but should not be used beyond their recommended limits. Some hose suppliers test samples to ensure that hoses meet or exceed specifications, but it is sometimes necessary to request this order or perform your own testing. A hose containing too much pressure can be dangerous for those around it when it bursts, not to mention that the beer is all over the floor.
Perhaps the greatest cause of failure is using a brew hose in an application for which it is not designed. Hose specifications should be carefully examined, and application recommendations thoroughly considered, before the purchase of a hose for any purpose.
About the Author:
Joe Linquist loves everything beer. He was responsible for BrewSavor’s business development in the craft brew and homebrew markets and has decades of experience in the beer and brewing industries. Joe has developed educational content and technical training programs for brewery employees, designed university curriculum, owned and operated a beverage dispensing installation and Service Company, and managed keg beer operations for a major brewer.