Quantcast

Cleaning a freshly purchased corny keg that smells bad?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

bstreiss

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Hi!

Fairly new to cider and loving it. I've purchased a used corny keg and some other parts from a guy locally. While I was there to pick it up he realized he'd left a kiwi beer in the keg (I don't know how long). There was a thick brown film on inside when I got the keg that didn't come off by rinsing it. I soaked it in a cleaner I'd gotten from the local brew supply store (can't remember if it was Star San, Five Star, or something else - it was just in a little baggie so no label) for 24 hrs in household hot water. Everything looked good so I let it dry, replaced all the rubber, reassembled it, and sealed it. About a week later I opened it and it smelled just the same. I then let it air out for a week and resealed. Same result. Thinking I'd not cleaned it enough I again soaked it for 24 hrs (including inverting it in a bucket of the cleaner), and let it air for a week before reassembling it. Again, it smelled when I opened it. Its a sort of fruit beer smell. Not bad, not also not pleasant, and not what I next batch of cider to taste like.

My fiancee says I "just need to scrub it more", but I feel like there's something else I'm missing. I just read the April 12, 2020 post "Odour in stainless steel". Wondering if I should tried a different cleaning method (if so, what?) or try to passivate the keg, or something entirely different.

Thanks
 

BigEd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2004
Messages
2,883
Reaction score
378
But a gallon of white vinegar and dump that in with a gallon of very hot water. Shake it well, let it stand for a few hours (turning it upside down for half the time), then empty it and rinse with clean, hot water. When you empty it I'd suggest blowing some of the vinegar solution through the out tube at 30psi. Also check the gas in tube to make sure there is no lurking crud in either the out or in. Taking the fittings off and soaking them in the vinegar solution isn't a bad idea either.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
15,646
Reaction score
6,063
Location
Pasadena, MD
My fiancee says I "just need to scrub it more"
Listen to her!

Starsan is NOT a cleaner! It's a sanitizer.
Remember, you cannot sanitize a surface that's not clean in the first place.

OK, just reread your OP, you said you got a baggy, so it's not Starsan, which is a liquid.
You probably got some sort of cleaner, similar to those listed next.

You need to use a real cleaner, such as washing soda, (Generic) Oxiclean (Dollar store) or (homemade!) PBW. Store bought PBW is ridiculously expensive for what it is. You can make 5 pounds for the price of 1 pound of the brand, store bought.
For heavy duty cleaning, use 1-2 tablespoons per gallon. One or 2 gallon is all you need if you periodically shake or invert the keg, to keep everything soaked.

Using these cleaners hot is best. Let soak for a few hours to a day, then brush. That should get most if not all crud out. Pay attention to places you can't see as well, like under the top. Be careful, the mouth can have sharp edges, smooth them out (use fine sandpaper or a Dremel) if you need to stick your arm in there.

Once the big dirt has dislodged and cleaned, you need to take the posts off and dip tubes out, and soak/clean everything. You may want to buy a 3' long "draw brush" to clean the long diptube inside. Get one with a 5/16" perhaps even 3/8" diameter, such as this one, they're the most useful. The 1/4" diameter "diptube brushes," like these, work, but may be a tad too narrow for a good scrub job, IMO. You need some friction!

Also buy a can of BarKeeper's Friend ("BKF") from the hardware store for a light, non scratching scouring action to remove anything left after soaking and brushing. It's safe for stainless. Clean the inside of the dip tubes (especially the long one) with BKF too, using that long brush. You'll be amazed at the crud coming out of those.
 
Last edited:

firerat

F-You I'm Drunk
HBT Supporter
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
1,474
Reaction score
840
Location
Weston, FL
Get some Oxy clean free (no dyes or perfumes) and let it soak at least a day.

Rinse. Repeat as necessary.

I've had kegs needing 3 or 4 soaks to get all the smell out. A lot depends on what was in it.
 

Snuffy

Whatever...
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Messages
238
Reaction score
234
Once it's PBW clean and Starsan sanitized, add a nice batch of Pliny the Elder and I guarantee it won't smell like fruit anymore. Hope you like hoppy cider. I'd replace all the O-rings as well.
 
OP
B

bstreiss

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Listen to her!

Starsan is NOT a cleaner! It's a sanitizer.
You cannot sanitize a surface that's not clean in the first place.

You need to use a real cleaner, such as washing soda, Oxiclean, or (homemade!) PBW. Store bought PBW is ridiculously expensive for what it is. You can make 5 pounds for the price of 1 pound of the brand, store bought.
For heavy duty cleaning, use 1-2 tablespoons per gallon. One or 2 gallon is all you need if you periodically shake or invert the keg, to keep everything soaked.

Using these cleaners hot is best. Let soak for a few hours to a day, then brush. That should get most if not all crud out. Pay attention to places you can't see as well, like under the top. Be careful, the mouth can have sharp edges, smooth them out (use fine sandpaper or a Dremel) if you need to stick your arm in there.

Once the big dirt has dislodged and cleaned, you need to take the posts off and dip tubes out, and soak/clean everything. You may want to buy a 3' long "draw brush" to clean the long diptube inside. Get one with a 5/16" perhaps even 3/8" diameter, such as this one, they're the most useful. The 1/4" diameter "diptube brushes" ones are too narrow for the job, IMO. You need some friction!

Also buy a can of BarKeeper's Friend ("BKF") from the hardware store for a light, non scratching scouring action to remove anything left after soaking and brushing. It's safe for stainless. Clean the inside of the dip tubes (especially the long one) with BKF too, using that long brush. You'll be amazed at the crud coming out of those.
Thanks for all the tips. We've got a big box of powdered Oxiclean for the laundry - is that the same stuff? Any recommendations on how much to add?

I did disassemble everything both times and the film did come off, but it sounds like there might be a lot non-visible film left.
 
OP
B

bstreiss

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
But a gallon of white vinegar and dump that in with a gallon of very hot water. Shake it well, let it stand for a few hours (turning it upside down for half the time), then empty it and rinse with clean, hot water. When you empty it I'd suggest blowing some of the vinegar solution through the out tube at 30psi. Also check the gas in tube to make sure there is no lurking crud in either the out or in. Taking the fittings off and soaking them in the vinegar solution isn't a bad idea either.
Sounds like a good starting point! :) Are we talking tap hot (like 135) or more like boiling?
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
15,646
Reaction score
6,063
Location
Pasadena, MD
Thanks for all the tips. We've got a big box of powdered Oxiclean for the laundry - is that the same stuff? Any recommendations on how much to add?

I did disassemble everything both times and the film did come off, but it sounds like there might be a lot non-visible film left.
I've edited/updated my reply a few times...

Yeah, that's the same stuff. It's one of the main 2 components in PBW.
Use 1-2 tablespoons per gallon. Again, using it hot (140-180F) works better.
Scrubbing should remove that film. BKF is your friend.
 

wsmith1625

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2014
Messages
269
Reaction score
128
Location
Manchester, NJ
I clean my kegs the same or next day with very hot water and OxyClean and I never have a problem with lingering odors. For removing odors in my plastic bucket fermenter I've used a long soak in hot water with baking soda.


Cleaning - PBW or OxyClean
Sanitize - StarSan
Deodorize - Baking Soda

Of course there are other solutions, but you can't go wrong with these.
 
OP
B

bstreiss

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Makes sense. Stainless steel shouldn't retain odors.
All the o rings (rubber) was replaced after the initial "cleaning". It's sounding more and more like I actually skipped the "cleaning" step, and went straight to sanatize. I agree that stainless shouldn't carry an odor and that's what led to my frustration / posting. Learning a lot - thanks to everyone.
 

LittleRiver

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2017
Messages
1,110
Reaction score
1,277
...We've got a big box of powdered Oxiclean for the laundry...
As long as it's not scented it will work fine. As others have mentioned, use hot water.

Also be aware that the oxy effect is most potent for only about 20min, so don't expect a solution that's been sitting around for a while to work like a newly mixed batch.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
15,646
Reaction score
6,063
Location
Pasadena, MD
Also be aware that the oxy effect is most potent for only about 20min, so don't expect a solution that's been sitting around for a while to work like a newly mixed batch.
After the oxygen has dissipated, what's left over is washing soda. Still a pretty darn good cleaner. All that oxygen action may look good on TV, but is much overrated, IMO.

Washing soda was used for decades as the main component in laundry detergents. It still is.
 

LittleRiver

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2017
Messages
1,110
Reaction score
1,277
Where I've noticed the most difference with the oxygen action is soaking labels off bottles. With a fresh hot batch of oxy cleaner some labels (Sam Adams & others) will float to the surface after several minutes.

Thankfully I now keg and have a good supply of clean bottles, so I don't have to do that anymore.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
15,646
Reaction score
6,063
Location
Pasadena, MD
We've got a big box of powdered Oxiclean for the laundry - is that the same stuff?
Yeah, although the active ingredient is the same stuff (Sodium Percarbonate), laundry products may have scents added. You should check. You don't want to use scented products on your brewery equipment.

The scent-free product is called "Oxiclean Free" or get some "scent free" generic:
Use Oxyclean Free rather than standard Oxyclean....
 

OtisLamb

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Mar 6, 2013
Messages
53
Reaction score
4
Location
Reno
This is as good an explanation as can be given.

Listen to her!

Starsan is NOT a cleaner! It's a sanitizer.
Remember, you cannot sanitize a surface that's not clean in the first place.

OK, just reread your OP, you said you got a baggy, so it's not Starsan, which is a liquid.
You probably got some sort of cleaner, similar to those listed next.

You need to use a real cleaner, such as washing soda, (Generic) Oxiclean (Dollar store) or (homemade!) PBW. Store bought PBW is ridiculously expensive for what it is. You can make 5 pounds for the price of 1 pound of the brand, store bought.
For heavy duty cleaning, use 1-2 tablespoons per gallon. One or 2 gallon is all you need if you periodically shake or invert the keg, to keep everything soaked.

Using these cleaners hot is best. Let soak for a few hours to a day, then brush. That should get most if not all crud out. Pay attention to places you can't see as well, like under the top. Be careful, the mouth can have sharp edges, smooth them out (use fine sandpaper or a Dremel) if you need to stick your arm in there.

Once the big dirt has dislodged and cleaned, you need to take the posts off and dip tubes out, and soak/clean everything. You may want to buy a 3' long "draw brush" to clean the long diptube inside. Get one with a 5/16" perhaps even 3/8" diameter, such as this one, they're the most useful. The 1/4" diameter "diptube brushes," like these, work, but may be a tad too narrow for a good scrub job, IMO. You need some friction!

Also buy a can of BarKeeper's Friend ("BKF") from the hardware store for a light, non scratching scouring action to remove anything left after soaking and brushing. It's safe for stainless. Clean the inside of the dip tubes (especially the long one) with BKF too, using that long brush. You'll be amazed at the crud coming out of those.
 
Top