Beer line cleaning is a must for the professional brewers and the home-brewers as well. Without proper cleaning and maintenance of a beer system regularly, you may not be able to pour a glass of ‘brewery fresh’ beer.
It is not too difficult to keep the beer line cleaned and maintained. With the help of an effective beer cleaner or keg cleaner, you can do it without much hassle. There are two basic methods that are widely used for cleaning a draft beer dispensing system.
The cleaning systems
1.Re-circulating cleaning – This method makes use of a motorized electric pump for beer line cleaning. Such pumps are usually equipped with connectors that enable cleaning the entire system – from the faucet end. This cleaning method is simply perfect for long draw systems with a length of more than 20 feet. The vigorous flow of the cleaning solution is up to almost 80 times more effectual than just allowing the beer line cleaning solution to soak inside the lines as is the case of pressurized cleaning.
2.Pressurized cleaning – This method is implemented by simply putting the cleaning ingredient into a metal or plastic container and forcing it to go through the beer lines with the help of gas pressure (compressed air or CO2) or a hand pump. The container is connected to the beer system through a coupler for the beer tap or a faucet (tap) adapter. Forced and pressurized cleaning container makes it easy and quick to clean up the direct draw, picnic pumps and short-draw systems of less than 20 feet extent.
The cleaning procedure
Irrespective of the cleaning system you use, it is always recommended to apply the 3-step cleaning procedure that ensures that the beer lines are cleaned and sanitized properly to maintain original integrity of the beer.
·Kick off by flushing the beer out from the lines with turbulent flow of water. This removes all the residue from the lines so that it doesn’t dilute the full-fledged cleaning properties of the beer line cleaner.
·Now clean the lines with appropriate cleaning solution. Let the chemicals soak or circulate in the lines for a minimum of 10 minutes. There are basically two kinds of brewery approved chemicals available in the market and widely used by the customers for cleaning beer lines – they are either acid or alkaline based depending on the condition. But you should always strictly follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on proper ratio of mixing the chemicals, proper temperature and enough contact time.
·And finally thoroughly flush the out the chemicals from the line with water. Once the water rinse cycle is over, you should check the pH balance with a pH tester or a litmus paper to ensure that no cleaning solution is left inside the lines. Now reconnect the keg lines and allow a small amount of beer to run through the tap and then refill the lines fully with beer.
It is pertinent to mention that not only should draft line cleaning be done at least once in every fortnight but also the faucets and the couplers. These parts are also required to be cleaned as they too come in contact with the beer and thus needs proper cleaning and maintenance at the same level as the beer line.