Cleaning old, OLD kegs

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Razorback_Jack

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A friend donated to me a couple 5-gallon pin lock kegs that he hasn’t used in years. I gathered it has been something like 8-10 years. There is a tad bit of beer left in one, and the other is almost half full. Besides questioning my friend’s sanity for leaving a keg of homebrew unfinished, what do I do? I have purchased new o-ring and valve o-rings. I’m just going to pour out the old beer, rinse the kegs, then soak overnight with oxiclean, maybe a couple of times. Also soak the lid and valve pieces. Then I’ll StarSan. I’ve got a new regulator and hoses to hook up to it. Questions are: Is this enough? With beer sitting in a keg for nearly ten years (or maybe longer) are there other steps I should take to ensure that they’re clean? Also, what about the drip tubes? Will they fill up with the cleaning solution just from filling up the keg, or should I soak them separately? Should I brush inside the keg and drip tube?

Many thanks for all your advice, and have a great one!
Jackson
 

day_trippr

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I would definitely invest in a dip tube brush. No telling what might be lurking therein after all this time. And removing the posts and cleaning them out is a good idea, the Out posts especially could have all kinds of crud in them.

Give the kegs a good cleaning then use a good flash light to inspect the interior. If there are any deposits remaining, that's when you might want to employ a brush.

You cannot sanitize something that isn't clean so be thorough...

Cheers!
 

ba-brewer

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Your plan seems reasonable. Might want to get more poppets too.

I would remove the dip tube and drop it in the keg to soak then run the brush thru it later. I would soak the gas dip tube, posts and poppets in a jar to help from losing them.

If they were stored under co2 pressure they probably are not too funky.
 
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Razorback_Jack

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Thanks very much! I will remove the posts and lid, and soak them in oxiclean overnight, then sanitize as well. Like I said, I purchased new o-rings for each post and the lid too, as well as some kind of lubricant they advised to put on them. As for the dip tube, keep it in the keg while soaking in oxiclean? Or soak separately? I hear ya on the dip tube brush. I’ll get one.

But all of that, and you think the kegs will be usable despite the old beer?
 
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Razorback_Jack

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Your plan seems reasonable. Might want to get more poppets too.

I would remove the dip tube and drop it in the keg to soak then run the brush thru it later. I would soak the gas dip tube, posts and poppets in a jar to help from losing them.

If they were stored under co2 pressure they probably are not too funky.
Your plan seems reasonable. Might want to get more poppets too.

I would remove the dip tube and drop it in the keg to soak then run the brush thru it later. I would soak the gas dip tube, posts and poppets in a jar to help from losing them.

If they were stored under co2 pressure they probably are not too funky.
Thanks ba-brewer. I did get new poppets, too. Thank you for the detailed tips on soaking the small pieces. I don’t think there’s any Co2 pressure left in the kegs though.
 

day_trippr

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If you are thorough enough there will be no worries about contamination risk.
fwiw, some of the kegs I own are nearing 50 years old and have had dozens of brews run through them without issue.
There was a lot of elbow grease involved when I first received them (hint: a heat gun makes quick work of stuck labels) but once they were nice and shiny inside and out they were good to go...

Cheers!
 

ba-brewer

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If they smell funky and not just like old beer I would soak and rinse a few time and then when you think you have them clean seal them up and check again after a couple hours. They dont need to be put on CO2 pressure just the lid on snug.

I had one used keg that had some sort of citrus soda smell that seemed to stick inside. It would smell OK after cleaning but if I closed it up the smell came back. Took a few cleanings rinsing cycles to get rid of the smell.
 

augiedoggy

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I aquired very old kegs like this myself... some were completely full of soda pop others were 10 gallon pepsi kegs from the 50's... I just removed the poppets and replaced any seals that looked as if they needed replacement as well as the poppets and orings, soaked everything in starsan and cleaned the kegs like normal, soaking them in a pbw solution if they were difficult to clean out.. I second the dip tube brush suggestion as well

The thing with stainless is that its not porous and its really just as easy to clean with pbw or bar keepers friend and a scrubby regardless of how long it sat with liquid sealed inside. Bar keepers friend will actually scour and remove any surface buildup including the top layer of stainless (thats how it polishes) and thats the other thing.. Unless the beer was infected when it was filled or the seal failed there shouldnt be any nasty infections to worry about in the first place...
I have just over 20 kegs at home I havent used since I opened my brewpub now so they have also been sitting (some with bad homebrew at this point) but I wouldnt hesitate to clean them up as normal since Ive never had a problem doing this in the past.
 
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augiedoggy

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But all of that, and you think the kegs will be usable despite the old beer?
YES stainless is not poruous it cant become "infected" and there are many surface cleaners out there that will remove any stains in the surface layer which would be extremely unlikely from beer storage.
 

IslandLizard

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I hear ya on the dip tube brush. I’ll get one.
Get one of those line cleaning "draw brushes." They're made from 3' (or 6') long flexible (twisted) steel wire with about 5" of actual nylon bristle material at one end.
The 5/16" brush (as measured with calipers) I got is the most useful. I use it for pretty much everything, racking canes, dip tubes, vinyl racking hoses, etc. The 1/4" "dip tube brush" (also measured with calipers) is a bit too thin/narrow to efficiently clean dip tubes or 3/16" ID beverage hose, they don't have enough friction to scrub inside well enough.
On first cleaning use a little Barkeeper's Friend on the brush to clean Stainless tubes and racking canes. You may surprise yourself how much crud build up they accumulate. Repeat until really clean.

After doing a search, the 5/16" brush seems to have been replaced with a 3/8", which may well be the same thing. :tank:

After use, rinse/clean, dry off with a cloth and hang on a nail to dry/store. The ones I have have a galvanized coating. Don't leave them wet or use in Starsan, they'll rust.
 

TallDan

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I'd taste the half-keg before you dump it. Just me?

If the keg held even the slightest bit of pressure, it might be drinkable. Likely would need to be recarbonated. Depending on the type of beer, it could even be good.
 

IslandLizard

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After a 1-2 day presoak/prescrubbing/precleaning, use some hot PBW (Oxiclean plus 30% TSP or TSP/90 added) to really clean. Using it hot and a (new/clean toilet) brush (or shaking) is more thorough than only a cold soak alone. Use BKF for polishing (if needed), and repassivate (if needed).
I'd gang them up and reuse (reheat) the gallon or so of cleaning liquid from keg to keg. So they're all in different stages of cleaning while you move through the line up.
Hot PBW (brush/shake) ==> rinse well ==> Starsan.

Look into "100% liquid pre-purging" kegs using Starsan to exclude all air (oxygen) from your kegs before filling with beer. Fill through the liquid out post using a QD with the racking hose attached to it. The lid remains on until the next cleaning.
 
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