Beer line cleaning is a critical process in the operation of any bar, restaurant, or brewery. Clean your beer lines regularly to minimize the growth of bugs and bacteria and protect the health and safety of your patrons. Clean beer lines keep your beer fresh and tasting as the brewer intended. Fresh, true-tasting beer is key to attracting new customers and retaining your valued old ones.
Beer line cleaning is a process that should be done periodically to ensure the quality of the beer and maintain true taste. Homebrewers, micro-brewers, and small independent brewers invest a lot of time and energy into brewing up the best brews. Bars and restaurants invest significant capital into choosing the right selection of beers to serve their customers. Beer lines are the delivery vehicle of all of this work and investment, they should be maintained and cleaned on a regular basis.
Let’s look at best practices for beer line cleaning.
The following suggested guidelines are from the Brewers Association
- At a minimum, you should clean your draught line every two weeks with an alkaline detergent cleaner to remove protein and films that build up quickly.
- The cleaning chemical should be recirculated through the product line for a minimum of 15 minutes at a velocity up to two gallons/minute. Soaking product lines is not recommended, but the cleaning solution should be left in-line for at least 20 minutes if recirculation is not an option.
- All faucets should be completely disassembled and cleaned every two weeks. Make sure to replace any damaged seals or gaskets.
- Acid cleaning should be performed quarterly to remove inorganic compounds such as “beer stone,” which are mineral deposits.
- All vinyl jumpers and vinyl direct draw lines should be replaced annually.
- Couplers should be replaced based on condition. Inspect the coupler bottom seal and O-rings, to make sure they are properly lubricated with a food-grade lubricant.
- Good quality, well-maintained couplers, faucets and shanks can last a lifetime. Parts that are 100 percent stainless steel are the most reliable and will provide the best quality experience for your staff and customers.
- Always make sure to rinse lines with clean water after cleaning!
- Draught lines may need to be replaced after pouring root beer, fruit or pepper-flavored beers, sour beers, margaritas or ciders in order to avoid permanent flavor influence.
Proper beer line cleaning is meant to mitigate against yeast, mold, beer stone and bacteria. All of these can ruin a beer’s taste. Choosing the right chemical to clean your beer lines can help you prevent all of these. You will want to use the strongest solution with a high pH value and you should always wear proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
Beer lines that are properly cleaned and maintained will help ensure an ideal smell, taste and overall flavor experience that you are creating for the intended consumer. Beer line cleaning should become a routine item on your maintenance schedule.
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