How often to sanitize taps/feed lines?

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Dirk_Gently

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Hello,

I'm not a home brewer yet, though is like to start at some point. I do have a kegerator with a couple taps though. How often do you all recommend cleaning the lines running from keg to tap?

On the surface, it seems like anytime the keg won't be used for a day or two everything should get rinsed out. I mean, the tower of the kegerator isn't cooled, so that's going to encourage things to grow as the beer sits in the line - gross.

Or, do you all just fill a cup and dump the beer that was in the line or what?

Thanks!
 

jbschuyler

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Whenever a keg kicks, I flush the line with first water, then a run of PBW, which I let sit for 30 min or so. Then another rinse with water before tapping the new keg.

If I don't have a new keg ready to go and the lines sit empty for a period of time, I will run Starsan through the beer line before tapping the next one.
 
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Dirk_Gently

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Whenever a keg kicks, I flush the line with first water, then a run of PBW, which I let sit for 30 min or so. Then another rinse with water before tapping the new keg.

If I don't have a new keg ready to go and the lines sit empty for a period of time, I will run Starsan through the beer line before tapping the next one.

That makes sense, but I assume you dump the beer that was sitting at room temperature (the beer in the line) before getting a glass to actually drink? I'm just assuming if there's a week in between glasses of beer, there's going to be a bacterial load in the room temp portion of the lines. I suppose a tower cooler would help
 

jbschuyler

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That makes sense, but I assume you dump the beer that was sitting at room temperature (the beer in the line) before getting a glass to actually drink? I'm just assuming if there's a week in between glasses of beer, there's going to be a bacterial load in the room temp portion of the lines. I suppose a tower cooler would help
Yes - if it has been a day or longer since the last pour, I routinely dump the first couple ounces that flow out.
 

BrewinInPA

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Second .. when a keg kicks, I disconnect, purge, open, rinse with hot water, close and shake, dump, rinse again, fill halfway with water and 2 ounces of power punch plus, seal and shake, let sit 10 minutes, invert, let sit another 10 minutes, tap, use low co2 pressure so as to not waste gas, tap out about a half gallon, let the cleaner sit in the lines for about 15 minutes, then tap the rest, dump out the pot, disconnect, purge keg, open , rinse again with clean water, dump, refill halfway, add about 1/2 ounce star-san, let sit about 5 minutes, invert and let set another 5 minutes, tap the star-san thru, purge and open and then ready to keg my on-deck fermenter contents. Pro tip, put your pump siphon INSIDE the star-san keg while you are letting it sit and its ready to go to keg your new (hopefully ready to go) batch. If you don't have a new batch already fermented 2-4 weeks and ready to keg, you are doing it wrong. If you want a steady supply of ready-to-drink beer, you need at least 2 kegs and 2 fermenters. I do the keg clean, sanitize and keg next batch all in the same day. Then, clean your fermenter with some brewery wash, let it sit full of hot water overnight and then brew the next batch within 72 hours. If you are using kviek or some other fast acting yeast and not brewing Belgian styles, you will NEVER run out of beer this way. I force carb new batch @20 psi for about 3 days and start drinking it at 7 or whenever previous keg kicks. YMMV.
 
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TheMadKing

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Second .. when a keg kicks, I disconnect, purge, open, rinse with hot water, close and shake, dump, rinse again, fill halfway with water and 2 ounces of power punch plus, seal and shake, let sit 10 minutes, invert, let sit another 10 minutes, tap, use low co2 pressure so as to not waste gas, tap out about a half gallon, let the cleaner sit in the lines for about 15 minutes, then tap the rest, dump out the pot, disconnect, purge keg, open , rinse again with clean water, dump, refill halfway, add about 1/2 ounce star-san, let sit about 5 minutes, invert and let set another 5 minutes, tap the star-san thru, purge and open and then ready to keg my on-deck fermenter contents. Pro tip, put your pump siphon INSIDE the star-san keg while you are letting it sit and its ready to go to keg your new (hopefully ready to go) batch. If you don't have a new batch already fermented 2-4 weeks and ready to keg, you are doing it wrong. If you want a steady supply of ready-to-drink beer, you need at least 2 kegs and 2 fermenters. I do the keg clean, sanitize and keg next batch all in the same day. Then, clean your fermenter with some brewery wash, let it sit full of hot water overnight and then brew the next batch within 72 hours. If you are using kviek or some other fast acting yeast and not brewing Belgian styles, you will NEVER run out of beer this way. I force carb new batch @20 psi for about 3 days and start drinking it at 7 or whenever previous keg kicks. YMMV.

This is bonkers on complexity and you could be cleaning your lines and your keg in parallel. Making them dependant processes isn't terribly efficient.

When a keg kicks I rinse with hot water, pull off the liquid out post, fill with PBW, and let it soak for a few days before rinsing.

I use a $12 pond pump from home depot and 2 pieces of tubing to recirculate hot Brewery line cleaner caustic solution from a bucket through my tap lines. Then rinse with water twice, then star san.

FWIW Pediococcus loves to live in beer lines and forms an intense biofilm. You can't break it up with PBW without at least 24 hours of soaking. BLC is a much stronger caustic and works better for this.

I do this about once a month or so

I also don't understand why Belgians should take longer than other styles?
 

TheMadKing

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That makes sense, but I assume you dump the beer that was sitting at room temperature (the beer in the line) before getting a glass to actually drink? I'm just assuming if there's a week in between glasses of beer, there's going to be a bacterial load in the room temp portion of the lines. I suppose a tower cooler would help

Your lines should not be at room temp at any point. If that's the case you're going to have lots of infected lines and foamy pour issues. Lines need to be refrigerated
 

BrewinInPA

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This is bonkers on complexity and you could be cleaning your lines and your keg in parallel. Making them dependant processes isn't terribly efficient.

When a keg kicks I rinse with hot water, pull off the liquid out post, fill with PBW, and let it soak for a few days before rinsing.

I use a $12 pond pump from home depot and 2 pieces of tubing to recirculate hot Brewery line cleaner caustic solution from a bucket through my tap lines. Then rinse with water twice, then star san.

FWIW Pediococcus loves to live in beer lines and forms an intense biofilm. You can't break it up with PBW without at least 24 hours of soaking. BLC is a much stronger caustic and works better for this.

I do this about once a month or so

I also don't understand why Belgians should take longer than other styles?

Filling kegs halfway with warm water and inverting them doesn't really strike me as "complex", but OK. I was just trying to provide a walkthrough of an easy way to end up with a clean, CO2 purged and santized keg ready to refill while cleaning your kegerator lines at the same time.

It may not be the most efficient way, but requires no additional equipment and it lends itself to a methodical process that can be interrupted to break up kid fights, do other tasks, etc at the cost of using a little more cleaner and CO2. It is also the procedure that the Brulosophy guys recommend. YMMV.

As far as Belgian styles taking longer, I find that for dubbel, trippel, quad etc both the fermentation and subsequent aging take quite a bit more time, so if your goal is to have a steady flow of kegged beer to drink with your friends, those aren't the best styles to focus on, unless you have many additional kegs to age them in, or intend to bottle age. The same would apply for Barley Wines, Imperial Stouts and Imperial IPAs. Belgian regulars and witbiers, on the other hand, I can turn around in about 4 weeks grain to glass, same as anything else that I brew.
 
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Oleson M.D.

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My lines get cleaned, but I am lazy, so the cleaning is every two months. It takes that long to empty a keg.

Often, a keg will be filled with very hot water, and then the water will be run through all of the beer lines and taps. This is very easy and effective.

For more in depth cleaning, a pump is used and BLC is recirculated through the lines for 20 minutes. Then plain hot water is recirculated for about 10 minutes.

The lines do not get dirty, but the taps will grow a dark fungus like substance if not cleaned frequently, perhaps weekly.
 

odie

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I flush my lines with hot water after every keg...unless I swap a new one immediately to keep the party going.

I use a mini keg with 1/2 of hot water and flush the whole thing, QD to Faucet and then a new keg.

My faucets get rinsed after every session. The nozzles screw off and are rinsed. The faucet is sprayed up inside with Starsan and drips clean
 

Golddiggie

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Typically, I use a keg that's loaded with Starsan to flush the line(s) when a keg kicks. Even if there's another ready to take it's place. IF I need, I can load up a keg with PBW solution to run through the setup as well. I actually haven't needed to do that in some time. All the lines are within the keezer, with just the shanks going through the collar. I'll either leave Starsan solution in the line until it's ready for a keg, or purge with CO2 after I let the Starsan sit for a bit (more than long enough to do it's job). IF the lines look dirty, and don't come clean with a Starsan rinse, I replace them. I'd rather spend money on more tubing than risk beer. ;)
 

BrewinInPA

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I use PBW for scrubbing fermenters and my brew kettle, but I find that for general line maintenance the Green Power Punch works great.
 
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