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Old 11-28-2012, 04:09 PM   #1
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Default Sanitizing Kegging System: How far do you go?

How far upstream does a kegging system need to be sanitized (if at all)? Should I sanitize all the way back through the regulator? This seems like it would be impractical and I would doubt that any bars/restaurants do any sanitizing of their equipment. Should I just hook everything up and go?

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Old 11-28-2012, 04:37 PM   #2
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I think most of us sanitize the keg and everything downstream (all keg pieces, coupler/QD, bev lines, shank, faucet). The easiest way to to this is to adapt a squeeze bottle to fit a QD, then push cleaner, hot water, then sanitizer through all the tubing and out the faucet. I have a cleaning kit that works the opposite way, you unscrew the faucet and it goes right on the shank. A little less convenient but it works fine.

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Old 11-28-2012, 04:41 PM   #3
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Sanitize everything from the keg to the faucet. You do not need to sanitize the gas tank or gas lines. In fact, you REALLY want to keep any moisture, especially sticky moisture like wort, out of the regulator.

I normally clean each keg every time I fill it, but I don't empty them that often. I usually also clean each faucet with every keg swap. If I drank a keg in like a month, I'd probably skip cleaning and sanitizing each and every time.

Places that serve beer on tap are required to clean their lines every 2 weeks in Michigan.

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Old 11-28-2012, 04:42 PM   #4
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Sanitize the liquid side, completely. I run Star San through the liquid line, from the keg (once making sure it's had enough time to do it's job there, and coated the entire inside) all the way to the glass. Unless you have things creeping up into your gas lines, you should be fine there. IF you have beer going into your regulator, you should clean it out and resolve that issue ASAP. Beer should NOT be going up the gas side, at all.

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Old 11-28-2012, 04:51 PM   #5
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I am no expert with three batches kegged. But I have sanitized my kegs between every batch. I usually do this with a gallon (or two) of sanitizer solution in the keg. I vigorously shake the sealed keg with the solution inside. Then I use my CO2 to drive the sanitizer solution through the beer lines and faucet. Then I rinse by doing the same thing with warm to hot water.

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Old 11-28-2012, 04:54 PM   #6
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I typically clean 3-4 kegs at a time, moving through a hot rinse, hot clean, then a cold sanitizer. I'll typically push the cleanser & sanitizer from one keg to another, sending it in the gas-side to give that poppet a good what-for without having to take it apart. The first keg I invert and manually run a bit out, but it's not much.

When moving out of the last keg, I run the cleanser & sanitizer through the dispense setup. I typically pack the lines with the hot cleanser and let it sit for a while, sometimes overnight. I discard the rest of the cleanser (or use it to clean the brewing equipment I used that day). I'll let the sanitizer hang out in the final keg for however long I'm soaking the lines with cleanser, then use it to sanitize the lines. It only takes a few minutes of contact time to assure a good kill.

The final two peices to worry about are your connectors and faucets. I take them off and disassemble for a cleanser - sanitizer soak once and a while. I find that doing a little bit here and there makes doing a lot less frequent.

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Old 11-28-2012, 04:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeinCT View Post
I am no expert with three batches kegged. But I have sanitized my kegs between every batch. I usually do this with a gallon (or two) of sanitizer solution in the keg. I vigorously shake the sealed keg with the solution inside. Then I use my CO2 to drive the sanitizer solution through the beer lines and faucet. Then I rinse by doing the same thing with warm to hot water.
I use 2-3 quarts in my kegs. Shake the snot out of them, let them rest for a bit (to reduce the amount of foam I generated) then run it through the liquid line. I typically run hot PBW through first, followed by clean/clear water (to rinse) and then the Star San solution. I don't fill a dirty keg, nor do I use lines that have beer in them on a fresh keg. For the little amount of time, and effort, it takes to clean (and sanitize) the lines, I feel it's well worth it. Especially since you know the lines are clean and sanitized. I usually leave the Star San solution in the beer line until the keg is ready for drinking.
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:14 PM   #8
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I usually rinse out the empty keg thoroughly, then fill it with warm sani-water mix. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then I pressurize it and run the whole keg through the faucet. I usually do a short rinse afterwards too. I haven't used a beer line cleaning solution yet, and I have been kegging for over a year. I have not had an infection or off-flavors yet.

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Old 11-28-2012, 05:19 PM   #9
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I was concerned that there might be contamination in the regulator or gas lines that would be flushed into the beer when hooked up (primarily because I have an old regulator that's been riding around in the toolbox of my truck for the last couple of years... still new in box though).

Based on all of these responses, it looks like that's not really a concern.

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Old 11-28-2012, 05:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokingGunn View Post
I was concerned that there might be contamination in the regulator or gas lines that would be flushed into the beer when hooked up (primarily because I have an old regulator that's been riding around in the toolbox of my truck for the last couple of years... still new in box though).

Based on all of these responses, it looks like that's not really a concern.
Run some CO2 through the regulator before you connect any kegs to it. If it's still in the box, and the box is sealed, you'll be fine. If it's been exposed to who knows what, then you might want to clean it out (or make sure it's clean) first.
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K1:
K2: Epic mead
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