Why Cleaning Matters

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A first cleaning can be nasty! These faucets had some build up in them. Would you want to drink a great beer that flows through all that?!?

Faucets should be broken apart and cleaned every cleaning.
Couplers should be brushed every cleaning.
Glycol Pumps and/or Condensing Unit turned off every cleaning.
System Soaked or
Circulated for minimum of 15 minutes.

Enemies of Draft Beer

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Yeast - May result from an extremely small amount left from the brewing process, or it may be wild yeast which floats in the air. It is usually found as a surface growth on components of a beer system that is exposed to the air such as faucets, keg couplers, and drains and can be recognized by its white or grey color.
Mold – is usually introduced into a beer system through exposure to the air. It also is usually found as surface growth on components of a beer system that are exposed to air such as the faucets, keg couplers, and drains and is usually brown or black in color.
Beer stone – The raw materials, grains and water, that are used in the brewing process contain calcium. Oxalic acids or salts are present in hops and may be created during the process of changing barley into malt. The combination of these ingredients and the fact that beer is dispensed at cold temperatures may result in Calcium Oxalate deposits known as beer stone.

Beer stone will build up and eventually flake off on the inside of the beer tubing if the system is not properly maintained. High amounts of beer stone may also have a negative effect on taste. These flakes are often grey or brown in color.
Bacteria – Bacteria found in beer are not significantly hazard to human health; however, its effect is noticeable in the appearance, aroma, and taste of beer. The presence of bacteria results in an “off taste” and cloudy appearance that makes beer unappetizing. A beer that tastes sour, vinegar-like, or smells like rotten eggs may indicate a beer system is contaminated with beer spoiling bacteria.

Line Cleaning Techniques

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Pressurized Cleaning – This method usually is done by putting the cleaning agent into a plastic or metal container and forcing it through the beer lines via the use of a hand pump or gas pressure (CO2 or compressed air).
The containers have a means of to connect the beer system either through a faucet adaptor or a coupler for the beer valve (tap).
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Re-circulating Cleaning – Uses a motorized electric pump that is especially built for beer line cleaning. These pumps are equipped with connectors to enable the cleaning the system from the tap or faucet end.
Re-circulating cleaning is always the best choice for long draw systems that are over twenty feet. The turbulent flow of the cleaning solution is up to eighty times more effective than simply allowing the cleaning solution to soak inside the beer lines as is the case through pressurized cleaning.

Basic Procedures

Begin by flushing the beer from the lines with water. This eliminates beer from the lines so as not to dilute the cleaning properties of the chemical.
Next, clean the lines with the appropriate solution. Allow chemicals to circulate or soak in the lines for at least fifteen minutes. Two types of brewery approved chemicals are commonly used for cleaning, either alkaline or acid based depending on the conditions. Always be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on proper mix ratio, correct temperature, and ample contact time. Brush all couplers and break apart to clean all faucets.
The final step is to thoroughly flush the chemical from the lines with water. After the water rinse cycle is completed, it is recommended to check the ph level with a ph tester or litmus paper to insure that no cleaning solution remains in the lines. Then reconnect the kegs and allow some beer to run through the faucet and discard to make sure all the lines are completely refilled with beer.