Cleaning draft lines.. Brettanomyces

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TrickyDick

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Hey all,

I did it! I kegged some beer and then added some Brett to the kegs, plus Crooked stave dregs. Beer is finished and I want to clean the tap lines. I used some commercial duty stuff that's blue according to directions on bottle. It was like one fl oz per gallon of water, let it dwell in lines for five minutes, then flush with clean water.
Tapped a cream ale. The cream ale tastes of Brett character, especially the first draw.
Suggestions??

It will not be easy to swap the tubing by the way. It's a perlick draft system with recirculated air in the Tower. Lines are buried in PVC. Be a real bitch to swap and I'd probably hire it out.

Bleach cleaner? I know it's bad for stainless, but for one flush? Boiling water?? Bueller??

TD
 

stpug

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How about using something like BLC or PBW? Fill serving line with a hot solution of one of these cleaners and let it sit for a longer period of time (24 hours even), then flush with hot water, and repeat for another 24 hours. Then flush with hot water, and fill with a slightly stronger-then-suggested starsan solution for 24 hours, and then drain. Then try serving some beer from it. You could probably reduce the time to 12 hour increments even.

I also don't see harm in flushing some near-boiling water through the lines, particularly between cleaner flushes.

Brett cannot eat into plastic (serving lines) and is much larger than the bacterial microbes probably found in Crooked Stave bottles which can hide in minute abrasions in plastic. Brett DOES however create a protective pellicle around itself though and it's this pellicle that needs to be broken down in order to gain access to the yeast cell(s) hiding inside to kill them.

I'm interested in hearing how this works out for you because I have yet to put something with either brett or bacteria through my serving lines for fear of having to change lines afterwards (or designate a "sour" line). I'm less concerned with brett than I am living bacterias.

Lastly: The flavor characteristics imparted by Brett take time to develop. Is it possible you're tasting something else? Bourbon? Oak? Cleaner? and mistaking it for Brett?
 

m00ps

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Yeah that's what I was thinking. Even if the cream ale gets infected from the tap lines, it wont develop brett flavors any time soon...
 
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TrickyDick

TrickyDick

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It's definitely Brett character I'm tasting in the beer. No mistake. Last Brett beer was a saison. Straightforward, no oak etc. the cream ale has a very weak flavor and it is subtly like the saison was. A hint, but it's there.

I will report back after further time spent on this chore.... Have two lines that I ran Brett through, one is still going though.

I'll try BLC. The guy installed the system gave me the other cleaner solution and told me he thought was better than BLC. I forgot the specific name. I have star san, the iodine star brite or whatever it's called, BLC, PBW, etc.

I think I'll let some hot PBW dwell for a while, which will probably de-gas the adjacent beer lines... Oh well.
Then flush, and run in some BLC and let dwell overnight, and then flush with water.
Then a final star san flush and dwell overnight with a rinse after that.
I'll take notes.

I'll also clean the whole faucet and ball lock connectors, since that was also connected to the last keg.

TD
 

dstar26t

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Find out the temp rating of your lines before applying hot fluids. For example, Bev-seal Ultra 235 is only rated for 150F. Above that they don't guarantee nothing will exude from the plastic.
 
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TrickyDick

TrickyDick

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I'm told hot but not boiling water is OK.

I'm told to use AB 401 plus AB dissolve and let sit overnight.

Funny though, I had a friend over Saturday to taste some new homebrews on tap. He and I both thought the taste was fine, so maybe was my imagination??? I think I'll let this one ride. I have another tap with Brett in the lines, and I'll be a bit more aggressive at cleaning those lines when the time is right.


TD
 

stpug

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Thanks for sharing your info and process. Makes me feel better about putting a bretted beer on tap without worrying too much. Cheers!
 

DrKnow

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I use five star beer line cleaner and I've never had an issue running a clean beer after having brett/sour beers on that line. I have a 4 tap keezer, I try to only use the one line and one specific keg just in case but I always end up putting a clean beer on that line eventually. After spilling some line cleaner on my wooden countertop and seeing it pretty much instantly eat the finish right off, I figured it's going to be hard for anything to survive in the beer line. I usually just flush the line, and leave it full of cleaner for an hour or two (or overnight) and then rinse well with hot tap water, sanitize and hook up a new keg. I even had an imperial stout sit on that line for about 6 months and never had an issue. I think the whole "brett and bacteria are impossible to kill" thing is a myth. These organisms are often times more fragile than people want to believe. I've pitched pure cultures into beers and came back 6 months or a year later and been disappointed because they've had little or no effect on the flavor of the beer (not often, but has happened a few times). I think brett/bacteria typically being spoilage organisms has led people to believe that microbes have some kind of superpowers. It's not a bad idea to keep your soft/plastic sour gear separate just in case but in reality it's probably overkill. Brett works slowly. With very few cells that may have survived a line cleaning and the cold temp in the beer dispensing unit, it's highly unlikely to go to work on the beer in the line between pours (at least not enough to taste it). And it can't crawl back the line and into the keg and establish itself there. It's just not possible. Sorry for the rant. The point is, don't be afraid. I think tasting brett in your cream ale is most likely your imagination. Get yourself some good line cleaner and sanitizer and you'll be good to go.
 
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Brett yeast will be killed off easily with boiling water. However, this is tricky unless your lines can handle 212 degree liquid. Warmed StarSan also helps. I'm not sure about cleaning souring bacteria such as lacto.
 
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TrickyDick

TrickyDick

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Nah. It's not infected. One of my picky beer drinking friends said he didn't taste any off flavors. It must've been my imagination..
I don't taste any problems either.
 

DrKnow

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What's the protocol for the kegs you use with the soured and brett beer?

TD
I just use one specific keg for brett/sour beers. The only thing I really worry about is the o-rings (since they are porous something could potentially hide there). I don't feel like changing them to put a clean beer through them so I just use a different keg. Most of the kegs we all have are used so chances are there could have been all manner of critters growing in them at some point over the years...
 

m00ps

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Im resurrecting this thread. I've got a 100% brett IPA fermenting right now and I was thinking about kegging it to make the hops character last as long as possible.

What should I do with the tap lines and other dispensing eqpt once the brett beer is spent? I want to try and make sure nothing is surviving in the lines. I regularly bottle a dozen or so beers from each keg using a beer gun. I'm mostly worried about harboring an infection somewhere in that equipment and passing it along to future bottled beers. I dont want to send an unknowingly brett'd beer to a competition...
 
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TrickyDick

TrickyDick

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The beer lines should not be a problem.

There is a product called 401 or 401a or something that works great too.

I would recommend that you clean as you normally would. I like to clean my lines once per year thoroughly as well. I don't usually clean between kegs though.

I have run Brett through at least three of my lines and have not had problems with contamination afterward of clean beers. I have NOT bottled from these same lines however. Keep a second set of beer gun tubing if you are going to use it to bottle funky or sour beers.

For thorough cleaning, I use warm rinse water, 401 warm and let it dwell up to 30 minutes, then rinse with warm water. If pouring a sour, you might also consider using additional sanitizers prior to a final rinse. There is a 401A boost product that I use for this.

TD
 

m00ps

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The beer lines should not be a problem.

There is a product called 401 or 401a or something that works great too.

I would recommend that you clean as you normally would. I like to clean my lines once per year thoroughly as well. I don't usually clean between kegs though.

I have run Brett through at least three of my lines and have not had problems with contamination afterward of clean beers. I have NOT bottled from these same lines however. Keep a second set of beer gun tubing if you are going to use it to bottle funky or sour beers.

For thorough cleaning, I use warm rinse water, 401 warm and let it dwell up to 30 minutes, then rinse with warm water. If pouring a sour, you might also consider using additional sanitizers prior to a final rinse. There is a 401A boost product that I use for this.

TD
Thanks thats helpful. Maybe I'll keg my brett IPA. depends on how attached I am to the hop aroma.

Where do you buy that stuff? A cursory search just found some wholesale sites
 

highgravitybacon

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Brett isn't some biofilm forming super ebola mers death agent. It's just a damn yeast. It'll die exactly the same way as any other yeast. If you kegged an abbey beer then used the same keg for a light lager, whatever you did to keep your lager from tasting like a trappist beer will do the same for brett.

And honestly, beer line is maybe 39 cents a foot. You can get 100' box of it for $25. That's a lot easier than busting a nut cleaning everything for hours on end and hoping it will come out squeaky.
 
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TrickyDick

TrickyDick

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Yeah,
That's all kinda true to a point.
Cost per foot depends on how much it'll cost to run the line from point a to b. In a kegerator its all very simple. Not everyone has such a simple setup however and replacing the line is NOT an insignificant expense.
Don't forget the nylon seals and sanitizing the keg fittings and flare nut setup too. Anything in the beer path should be broken down for regular cleaning and sanitization.
 

stpug

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Boiling works wonders on anything stainless and any plastic that can handle it.
 
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