Reinforced Silicone Hose – How It’s Made And How It’s Used in Brewing
A large portion of the brewing process involves transporting liquids that exceed 170°F, so it’s important to make sure the tubing and hose you use can withstand these high temperatures and won’t alter the flavor of your final product. That’s where silicone comes into play.
Silicone is a thermoset material – one that undergoes a chemical reaction by heat or ultraviolet light with a catalyst in order to retain its form after processing. Our reinforced silicone hose, Silbrade®, begins with raw materials that are fed into an extruder. This process produces unreinforced tubing, which ultimately becomes the liner of the hose, and is coiled by machine onto a temporary stainless steel spool. This liner is fed through a braiding machine where polyester braid is applied to the exterior of the tubing, then it’s sent back through the extruder again for the outer layer of silicone. These two layers bond together, then the hose is imprinted with the product’s name, size and other specifications before being coiled. Peroxide cured silicone tubing and hose like Silbrade must be baked in an industrial oven after extrusion. This finishes the curing process, dissipates any by-products in the silicone rubber, and gives the product its desired properties. The hose is then wiped down, bagged, labeled and stored.
So now that you know how it’s made, how and why is it used in brewing?
Silicone is typically used on the hot side of brewing due to its ability to withstand temperatures up to 350°F. Using tubing and hose not rated for high temperatures can have a negative impact on your beer, so you need something that can handle the heat of your wort without any odor or taste migration. Silicone’s temperature ratings also make it easy to heat sanitize when cleaning your transfer hoses.
Flexibility plays a huge role in the use of reinforced silicone in brewing. Its flexible design and construction allows for a tight bend radius and also permits installation into restricted spaces without impeding flow. The open mesh polyester braiding of our Silbrade hose offers higher pressure handling capabilities than unreinforced tubing and helps prevent tubing collapse or kinking. The hotter the liquid, the lower the pressure capabilities, so the braid reinforcement also helps protect against dangerous hose bursts when transferring hot wort or caustic solutions.
In addition, our reinforced silicone hose has a translucent natural color, making it easy to see the flow of beer inside. It’s NSF-51 listed, free of BPA and phthalates, and made in the USA with solar power. Request a free sample of Silbrade here and consider using silicone for the hot side of your brewing process.