There’s nothing like taking a sip of an ice cold, crisp draught beer. With just the right amount of fizz and foam, the taste is crafted to excellence. And that taste is not something to be tampered with. Having dirty beer lines can take your draught beer from enjoyable to sickening in no time. To keep your draught beer tasting crisp and refreshing, it is important to keep those lines clean.
Without proper beer line cleaning, your draught beer could become tainted from any of these substances (courtesy of MicroMatic):
Yeast: Your beer is alive with yeast. When the yeast builds up, it can clog your lines and taint the taste of your beer. It can be recognized by its white or grey color and 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. Yeast build up may result from an extremely small amount left from the brewing process, or it may be wild yeast which floats in the air.
Mold: Not only will mold taint the taste of your draught beer, it can also be very hazardous to your health, and not something you will want to deal with when going to enjoy a sip of beer. Mold is usually introduced into a beer system through exposure to the air. It’s usually brown and black in color and found as surface growth on components of a beer system that are exposed to air such as the faucets, keg couplers, and drains.
Beer Stone: During the brewing process calcium and oxalic acids or salts are combined and at cold temperatures, resulting 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 cleaned. Beer stone has a negative effect on the taste and quality of the beer.
Bacteria: Although the bacteria found in beer is not significantly hazard to human health, it can affect the appearance, aroma, and taste of the 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.
The Do’s of Beer Line Cleaning:
- Do use effective line cleaning chemicals. Line cleaners will be either caustic with a high PH, or acidic with a low PH depending on the line conditions and the type of system being cleaned.
- Do remember to flush the beer from the lines with water before cleaning. Leaving beer in the lines can dilute the cleaning properties in the chemicals and gives an unsatisfactory cleaning. Flushing the lines will ensure that they are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized in order to maintain the integrity of the beer.
- Do clean lines regularly. For commercial use, its best to clean the lines every 2 weeks, and for residential use its best to be cleaning lines every 6 weeks (or after every finished keg), for the brew to taste its very best.
The Don’ts of Beer Line Cleaning:
- Don’t just use soap and water. Using soap and water to surface clean the areas around the tap is fine; but the lines need a more thorough cleaning. Soap and water will not attack and dissolve proteins, minerals, carbohydrates, hop resins, and bio-films like cleaning chemicals do. Soap and water will also not kill mold, bacteria, or yeast. Also, the cleaning process and chemicals used to clean and sanitize the system will also vary with the type and length of the beer dispensing system.
- Don’t forget to wear protective gear when handling line cleaning chemicals. Beer line cleaners typically contain toxic chemicals, so always wear personal safety equipment including eye protection and rubber gloves when handling them.
- Don’t forget to flush chemicals from the beer lines with water after cleaning. It is recommended to check the ph level with a ph tester or litmus paper to ensure that no cleaning solution remains in the lines. Leaving chemicals behind can be dangerous and can contaminate the beer.
Experts at Clean Beer can ensure that your commercial or residential beer tap system is properly cleaned and maintained to produce the finest quality and tasting draught beer. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our services, or would like to schedule an appointment.