How do you guys clean your tap lines and tap?

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redrocker652002

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My latest keg finally emptied last night, so I was thinking, I have never taken the whole thing apart to clean it. Also, this might be a good time to take a look at the beer line and see if shortening it up might help with the foam I get on the first pour of the day. My ritual up to now was I would fill the keg with Alkaline Brewery wash and run it thru the lines and tap like I am pouring a beer. I do this for about 3 to 4 gallons and they switch and clean out the keg with warm water and flush the lines that way. I tried to take the tap apart once, but got scared as I could not get the stem out without forcing so I quit. I am guessing as long as the cleaner hits the same spots as the beer then I am ok, but just kinda curious what you all do. Also, after I am done with that, I usually run StarSan thru it the same way. I get alot of foam out of the tap, but heck, that must mean it's doing it's job, right?

As far as the foam issue, my line is about 5 feet long I believe, and it runs up from the keg, thru the little freezer area and up to the tap. My tower is pipe that you would buy at home depot, and it has an insulation tube in it like you would wrap pipe on your water heater or outside pipe to keep it from freezing.

Anyway, any feedback would be most appreciated.
 

wepeeler

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I used to add PBW to keg with hot water and shake the crap out of it. Run the PBW cleaner through the liquid line as well. Then rinse, run water through liquid line, then same thing with Star San. I've since gotten keg washers, so I don't have to take apart the In and Out posts any more. There's a pump that recirculates PBW through the In and Out posts, and CIP ball that washes the inside. MUCH easier, but more time consuming.

As for your liquid line, the shorter the length, and smaller the ID, will result in more foam than necessary. Most guys here use 5/16 ID liquid lines and run about 7-10 ft of liquid line, depending on PSI. 7ft works great for my system, but everyone's is different.
 
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redrocker652002

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I used to add PBW to keg with hot water and shake the crap out of it. Run the PBW cleaner through the liquid line as well. Then rinse, run water through liquid line, then same thing with Star San. I've since gotten keg washers, so I don't have to take apart the In and Out posts any more. There's a pump that recirculates PBW through the In and Out posts, and CIP ball that washes the inside. MUCH easier, but more time consuming.

As for your liquid line, the shorter the length, and smaller the ID, will result in more foam than necessary. Most guys here use 5/16 ID liquid lines and run about 7-10 ft of liquid line, depending on PSI. 7ft works great for my system, but everyone's is different.
Thank you for the reply. I also use a homemade bucket washer that fits the keg as well. Sorry, I forgot to add that. I also have a connection that i hook up that runs cleaner thru the liquid line and the floating dip tube. Then I do my process as described above. So, really, my process is more to clean the lines in the kegerator that to clean the keg. My bad, I did not include the washer part.

Also, thanks for the input on the line. I will have to measure it to make sure. Maybe adding a few feet might help. Funny, I was thinking of cutting it down a bit, glad I did not. LOL
 

odie

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I just run about 1/2 gal of very hot water thru the whole line and hook up a fresh keg. every few kegs I will dissaemble and clean the faucet and QD.
 

sibelman

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I use a pump sprayer with a ball lock post on the hose to move about a gallon of beer line cleaner solution through the line and faucet. Rinse with a gallon of hot water (using another ball lock post on a hose from the sink) before and after the BLC. Rarely, I'll disassemble a faucet and soak the components in alkaline cleaner. brewhardware.com has a great selection of bits and pieces for this sort of thing.

Cleaning the kegs is a separate operation.
 

stevetreesh3

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My latest keg finally emptied last night, so I was thinking, I have never taken the whole thing apart to clean it. Also, this might be a good time to take a look at the beer line and see if shortening it up might help with the foam I get on the first pour of the day. My ritual up to now was I would fill the keg with Alkaline Brewery wash and run it thru the lines and tap like I am pouring a beer. I do this for about 3 to 4 gallons and they switch and clean out the keg with warm water and flush the lines that way. I tried to take the tap apart once, but got scared as I could not get the stem out without forcing so I quit. I am guessing as long as the cleaner hits the same spots as the beer then I am ok, but just kinda curious what you all do. Also, after I am done with that, I usually run StarSan thru it the same way. I get alot of foam out of the tap, but heck, that must mean it's doing it's job, right?

As far as the foam issue, my line is about 5 feet long I believe, and it runs up from the keg, thru the little freezer area and up to the tap. My tower is pipe that you would buy at home depot, and it has an insulation tube in it like you would wrap pipe on your water heater or outside pipe to keep it from freezing.

Anyway, any feedback would be most appreciated.
I use silicone beer lines and when I clean them I just put about 1 gal of boiling water in an empty keg and pump it through the line and out the faucet. No cleaner. Been doing this for 20 years without any problems.
 
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redrocker652002

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I use silicone beer lines and when I clean them I just put about 1 gal of boiling water in an empty keg and pump it through the line and out the faucet. No cleaner. Been doing this for 20 years without any problems.
Cool. That sounds pretty easy. LOL. Kinda like what I have been doing, so I am not going to change much of my process there. Thanks for the reply
 

tld6008

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Thank you for the reply. I also use a homemade bucket washer that fits the keg as well. Sorry, I forgot to add that. I also have a connection that i hook up that runs cleaner thru the liquid line and the floating dip tube. Then I do my process as described above. So, really, my process is more to clean the lines in the kegerator that to clean the keg. My bad, I did not include the washer part.

Also, thanks for the input on the line. I will have to measure it to make sure. Maybe adding a few feet might help. Funny, I was thinking of cutting it down a bit, glad I did not. LOL
This might help you Beer Line Calculator - Balance A Keg System - Beer Line Restriction - BrÜcrafter
 
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I also use a BLC, water & starsan Step process. I have a 5 tap setup. Your process seems very thorough. I have a bucket with a pump which I put the liquids listed which pushes the liquids through 1/2 tubing/fittings so that all of the beer lines are done together. I‘ll open/close taps and flow controls to get all the surfaces. The times I’ve taken apart taps they’re clean. You have me thinking that when I purge a keg; CO2 pushing out starsan, I could easily run some through the taps.
BTW, I use 3/16ths I.D. vinyl beer lines for all my lines.
 
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redrocker652002

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Cool. Thanks for all the info guys. My next batch won't be ready for the keg for about a week, so I have some time to look at the line and see what I have. I will post it separately I think. Thanks for all the good info.
 

HopSing

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+1 for BLC. It will make lines that serve kegs of stout look brand new. A bottle of it will last a long time depending on how often you feel the need to clean your lines.

In terms of the process, I have 4 taps and I daisy chain them together using 3/4 silicone hose and ball lock jumpers. Here's the ball lock jumpers that will join two (or more) liquid lines together. Ball Lock Keg (free flowing) QD Jumper Post for Cleaning

Out of the bucket (I use a 1 gallon plastic pitcher with a bottling bucket spigot) I connect to my brew pump. Out of the brew pump I connect to tap1 using the 3/4 ID silicone hose. It fits snugly over the tip of the tap. No disassembly required. Line1 and Line2 beer lines connect using the aforementioned ball lock jumper. Tap2 and Tap3 connect using a short piece of 3/4 silicone hose. Line3 and Line4 connect using another ball lock jumper, and Tap 4 has another silicone hose that returns to the plastic pitcher or another dump pitcher depending on if I'm recirculating or flushing.

Once all the open taps and lines are daisy changed together, I'll flush all of the lines with warm water to remove beer. I'll then add BLC to the pitcher mixed with the correct amount of warm water. I'll let this run for a minute or two then kill the pump and let it soak for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat this 3x or until the lines look clean. If the lines are really dirty, I'll let the BLC recirculate a bit longer. During the cycles when the pump is off, I'll open and close each tap several times to ensure all moving parts are in contact with the BLC solution.

After the lines are clean, I'll dump the BLC mixture and replace it with clean warm water and flush a full gallon through all taps and lines. Remove all jumpers and reconnect lines to kegs and flush with a cup or two of beer. Done.

It's simple and effective, but it does take some time to setup and tear down. As a result, I clean my lines 2 or 3 times a year. I recently saw this thing and I'm going to add it to my wish list. I've seen others do something similar with a garden sprayer, but this device looks even simpler to use, which may increase the number of times per year I clean each line individually vs. the daisy chain method.

As for foam, I used to run long coiled lines, but after switching over to the small diameter Eva barrier, I've had zero foam issues and use far shorter lines that are much more flexible that the other lines I was using. Worth the investment, IMO.

~HopSing.
 
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