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DIY Recirculating Beer Line Cleaner

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dmcman73

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FiddlersGreen87

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Thanks for posting this. I was going to make the hand pump posted by the guy above, but I really don't see the point for 10$ more I can make this and just let it run while I do other things on a brew day.
 

dmcman73

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Also, maybe it's just me but, why would you want to recirculate all the gunk back into the beer lines that you're trying to remove? I would think you would want to at least use another bucket to collect the gunk.
 

rekoob

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I like the idea, thanks for posting.
I would also catch the first liquid to come out of the tap to keep it cleaner.
Think I'll order a pump. :mug:
 

FiddlersGreen87

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Also, maybe it's just me but, why would you want to recirculate all the gunk back into the beer lines that you're trying to remove? I would think you would want to at least use another bucket to collect the gunk.
Eh valid point, but I would imagine the small stuff removed from beer lines once suspended in PBW or BLC would be broken down enough that its ability to restick or collect anywhere would be minute. It's a valid point though since the intent is to clean them. I think the benefit of the recirculation would be that the constant flow of cleaning solution would essentially erode through the cycles more so than that initial push of water would remove much if anything. Either way, I think it's so small that the benefit of re-running it would outweigh the chance of gunk collecting, and doubling the amount of cleaner required.
 
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jsmit209

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Eh valid point, but I would imagine the small stuff removed from beer lines once suspended in PBW or BLC would be broken down enough that its ability to restick or collect anywhere would be minute. It's a valid point though since the intent is to clean them. I think the benefit of the recirculation would be that the constant flow of cleaning solution would essentially erode through the cycles more so than that initial push of water would remove much if anything. Either way, I think it's so small that the benefit of re-running it would outweigh the chance of gunk collecting, and doubling the amount of cleaner required.
This. Plus the dilution in the water/cleaner solution would prevent any sort of re-contamination. May be a best practice to catch the first runnings in a glass.
 

Bobby_M

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You'll do a rinsing step anyway. I do agree that you'd want to catch the first 2 ounces in a dump can first but recirculation from that point is how it becomes hands/worry free. If you go from one bin to the next, you have to be there to shut the pump off.
 
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jsmit209

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You'll do a rinsing step anyway. I do agree that you'd want to catch the first 2 ounces in a dump can first but recirculation from that point is how it becomes hands/worry free. If you go from one bin to the next, you have to be there to shut the pump off.
It isn't "hands free" entirely. You still have to switch out the attachment for each keg line, which involves shutting off the pump. It's just much better than the alternatives:
  • Hand pumping all of the liquid through the lines yourself = much more effort
  • Hooking up a spare keg with cleaning solution and pushing it through the line with CO2 = waste of CO2
This was the most effortless method I found.
 

rekoob

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Got home to my pump sitting on the counter. Had a beer line with a swivel nut on each end. Took one end off and put the pump outlet adapter on one end. Rummaged through a box of connectors and what not. Couldn't find a gas post so took one off a keg I s
That still needs a rebuild. Now needed to adapt that to the swivel nut. Saw a check valve I took off a regulator to add a cut off/check valve too, fit perfect. But the valve in the gas post was hitting the check valve, took it out. Then realized the check valve was the wrong way. Popped out the valve parts. Screwed them together.... Bam... Success in about 15 minutes of looking for parts!
Dropped the pump into some water to test it out, works like a champ.
Thanks for the post, when a keg kicks I can now just connect the pump and run some starsan through my lines/taps without using CO2... AWESOME!
 

beertastic

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It isn't "hands free" entirely. You still have to switch out the attachment for each keg line, which involves shutting off the pump. It's just much better than the alternatives:
  • Hand pumping all of the liquid through the lines yourself = much more effort
  • Hooking up a spare keg with cleaning solution and pushing it through the line with CO2 = waste of CO2
This was the most effortless method I found.
I wouldn't say hand pumping is all that much more effort. I give about 10 or 15 pumps to start her up. I run some cleaner through each of 3 taps off those pumps. I come back in 5 minutes, give another few pumps and run some (fresh) cleaner through each tap again.

I come back every 5 minutes until the cleaner runs clear, which is usually 3-6 times depending on how disgusting my lines are.

Then I do a hot water rinse, and a star san rinse, which should be about the same for either method.

I think if I could use a pump and have it split and do all 3 taps at once, I might be sold.
 
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jsmit209

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I think if I could use a pump and have it split and do all 3 taps at once, I might be sold.
That does sound like a great idea. Although, the higher flow rate pump would probably be a bit more expensive. I usually clean my line between hooking up kegs b/c we run through them at a decent pace. If you end up getting the splitter going, please post a picture/video.
 

millstone

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Looking at ClaudiusB post, I have some questions. I have a couple of the "small black pumps" that folks are using instead of the larger brew pumps and they work very well. I use one for the HLT and one on a small HERMS. Now I tried to adapt one of the pumps to be my line cleaner. My hookup of the pump is not submersed but attached to the outside just like you would on a HLT without a valve. I'm using a 2 gallon frosting bucket as my cleaning/recalculating tank. My pump specs are almost identical to yours, 3.8 head, 600L/H 12v. I'm using 1/2" tubing (about 18") from the pump to the beer lines and the beer line are 5' long. My flow is minimal at best, and I keep fussing with connecting - un connecting the ball lock connector to get it to flow. Is there something I'm doing incorrectly? Is the pump not the correct one? Is 1/2" tubing too large? Really sorry for the long post and so many questions. Any help would really be appreciated. And, nice tap handles!

thanks

tom
Line Cleaner.JPG
 
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