How often to use PBW for keg

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fluxxsimon

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Hi!

I just recently started kegging (yes, it is awesome!). I was wondering how often you guys clean with PBW (or equivalent)? Is it before every new batch of beer you keg or like every 10:th?
Will it suffice to rinse it out good and even give it a good scrub with a brush and then use SaniClean for most time and only use PBW every now and then? Or will this cause some kind of build-up of "dirt" that will be harder to clean out later?

Actually, this question is also applicable on brewers (I have the Bulldog Brewer). Do you clean it with PBW or is that unneccesary?

All the best!
Simon
 

kh54s10

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I use Oxyclean, but have only used it in a keg that I allowed to dry. Usually I just thoroughly rinse out the keg. I disassemble the posts etc and rinse them also.

I never sanitize anything for storage. To me that is a waste of time, especially in something that cannot be sealed like closing the lid on a keg. I also do not pressurize the kegs for storage. I feel that may compress the seals and deform them.
 

TechFanMD

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I rinse kegs several times with hot water and expel some water through liquid out every time, then Star-san and expel some through liquid out. I do not do PBW every time....maybe every third. I do take the posts apart and inspect the poppets and swirl it all around in Star-san every time. The posts probably aren't necessary but it only takes me a few minutes.

Before use, I re-sanitize with Star-san. (I sanitize everything cold side after use and again before use).
 
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speavler

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after each use. i have a utility pump with a CIP ball attached via a pvc pipe. pump goes in the bucket. pbw goes in the bucket. disassemble and flip keg over onto the pump. easy peasy. basically the Mark's Keg Washer (which I have), but with a stronger pump and CIP ball. kegs are then filled with santizer, evacuated with CO2 and ready to go.
 

cubalz

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I clean every keg each time it is emptied with PBW in hot water. I then sanitize with starsan and pressurize the keg to store until filled. I resanitize the keg shortly before filling.
Yes this.
 

kevin58

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tll77 has the right answer. You can use PBW... you can use Oxyclean Free... you can clean with a CIP... but however you do it, clean right after the keg is empty, sanitize, pressurize, store and sanitize again before the next use.
 

Rev2010

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I clean it after it empties and sanitize it before filling. I also do not leave the lid clamped on when not in use, same as how I don't leave my SS Brew Bucket lids clamped when not in use. I fell it extends the life of the seal. Pressurizing it for storage is a waste of CO2 IMO.


Rev.
 

Dland

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I sanitize any recently emptied kegs that are around on brew day, as I will already be running a PBW/Starsan(orSaniclean)cycle to clean tubing, chiller and fermentor. Then I purge and store with about 10PSI CO2. If there is still pressure in them when I go to keg, I know the seal is good and they are ready to do a closed transfer.

If keg has been sitting empty for a while, had an off batch of beer, or first time use for beer, then full disassembly of posts and tube(s), seal replacement, poppet replacement if needed.
 

kh54s10

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tll77 has the right answer. You can use PBW... you can use Oxyclean Free... you can clean with a CIP... but however you do it, clean right after the keg is empty, sanitize, pressurize, store and sanitize again before the next use.
Why is that right? Rev2010 and I both gave reasons why we do not pressurize the keg for storage. And if it is not sealed, sanitizing is both a waste of time and sanitizer.
 

BarleyStanding

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It depends. If I just finished an Pale yesterday, and a Pale is going back in today; I'll rinse with hot water, sanitize and refill (unless there's something really funky looking or smelling in the keg). If switching beer styles, or the keg has been sitting in the kegerator empty for more than a few days, it will get PBW and sanitize before re-fill. Whatever cleaning and sanitizing treatment they get, it all goes through the dip-tube and liquid post too. Kegs always get sanitized before fill. I too, store empties sanitized and at low pressure; if a stored keg isn't pressurized, I know to check for leaks before using it.
 

TechFanMD

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Why is that right? Rev2010 and I both gave reasons why we do not pressurize the keg for storage. And if it is not sealed, sanitizing is both a waste of time and sanitizer.
For me - I already have Star-san made up and it is re-usable, so it isn't a waste. Sanitizing it really takes a few minutes. Necessary? Probably not.....but I prefer to sanitize and leave moist with sanitizer and sealing rather than worry about a stink bug or house centipede finding its way in there and dying in the dip tube. (I've found stink bugs inside sealed gas cans....they get everywhere).

As for compressing the seal.....not sure that is a big worry. I work with high and ultra-high vacuum systems with all kinds of o-rings and gaskets and this generally isn't an issue.

I mainly pressurize just enough to hold the lid on if the latches are opened. It doesn't use much CO2 at all - just a puff. Its more a habit from dealing with vacuum and pressure systems. If the kegs were cooled, air inside would contract and draw in outside air....which might draw in dust or whatever.....again, not a valid worry but habit.

The big issue here is in how long you're storing a keg. Your method might make more sense if it is being stored empty for months.....while myself and others might keep the turnover going based on number of kegs and be storing empty for a week or so.
 

tll77

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Why is that right? Rev2010 and I both gave reasons why we do not pressurize the keg for storage. And if it is not sealed, sanitizing is both a waste of time and sanitizer.

As far as I'm concerned the right answer is what works for you.
There are plenty of brewers that leave kicked kegs sit until they need them and clean it then. I'm sure that works for them.

And, let's not confuse you giving your reasons why you don't do something, as being reasons why it someone else shouldn't do so.

I do pressurize the sanitized keg so the lid seals and stays sealed. Now when I go to fill the keg, the first charge of co2 needed for purging is already in there, thus I have not used any more time, sanitizer or co2 than otherwise.
 

Rev2010

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Now when I go to fill the keg, the first charge of co2 needed for purging is already in there, thus I have not used any more time, sanitizer or co2 than otherwise.
You said in your first post, "I then sanitize with starsan and pressurize the keg to store until filled. I resanitize the keg shortly before filling."

If you store unfilled and then re-sanitize before using how are you not using extra sanitizer and CO2? The CO2 in the keg will be released when you re-sanitize no? So that's two gas fills and two sanitizes.

Rev.
 

kh54s10

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As far as I'm concerned the right answer is what works for you.
There are plenty of brewers that leave kicked kegs sit until they need them and clean it then. I'm sure that works for them.

And, let's not confuse you giving your reasons why you don't do something, as being reasons why it someone else shouldn't do so.

I do pressurize the sanitized keg so the lid seals and stays sealed. Now when I go to fill the keg, the first charge of co2 needed for purging is already in there, thus I have not used any more time, sanitizer or co2 than otherwise.
I wasn't trying to question the method. What I was questioning was " tll77 has the right answer. "

The mention of insects getting in is something to take into consideration. Though I put the lid on, so I have never had any insects get in.

The time is not of much consequence, but it does take time to sanitize, and pressurize. It also does consume co2. I, so far don't purge my kegs so you are using at least that much more than I am.
 

day_trippr

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If I can't get to cleaning a kicked keg right away I leave it sealed up and stick it in one of my fridges until I get a 'round tuit. At that point it goes on the Mark II with two tablespoons of PBW in as hot water as the tap delivers (~130°F iirc). After a thorough rinse and a quick pressure check it gets parked until needed, at which time I'll do a Star San purge before filling...

Cheers!
 

Dland

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Just noting that when used in their original use for soda dispensing, the systems are under much greater pressure than in home brewing use, so I doubt seals are harmed by constant 10PSI, which is even a little less than I run my beer at.

Anyway, to each their own, I have and use a lot of C kegs. Seals, O rings and poppets probably should be replaced every now and then anyway.
 

tegman

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I fully disassemble after every kicked keg. Full rinse followed by about a gallon of PBW solution with a good sloshing. Then I run a pipe cleaner through the dip tube and a carboy pipe cleaner around the inside of the keg. All parts are soaked in a bowl of the PWB solution during this time. Reassemble and fill the keg with Star San which I then push out with CO2. I then release most of the pressure and store until needed. If I'll be putting a heavily hopped beer into the keg I will purge again with CO2 before filling with beer. Otherwise I'll briefly purge the remaining Star San and then keg. Probably overkill but I fear the oxidation.
 

tll77

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how are you not using extra sanitizer and CO2?
after pressurizing the keg to seal the lid, the sanitzer is pushed out of the liquid post and back into its storage keg leaving the serving keg void of sanitzer and pressurized with 'mostly' co2. when I want to use the keg again, the sanitizer is pushed into the liquid post, which, yes does vent co2, but I'm purging the keg anyhow, so no matter. then when it is repressurized to push the sanitzer back to the storage keg it is purged further.
If you're not purging serving kegs then this is certainly more co2 than you would use, if you are purging serving kegs then you are using this co2 anyhow.


What I was questioning was " tll77 has the right answer. "
I question this myself :rolleyes:
 

4of7

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The keg will be PBW after its rinsed first then it will be star san ,lid put on with a label saying that it had been starsan before use it will be ready star San .. I do the star San step often .is it a waste of time? Not to it is not ,, just make sure to label the keg's..
 
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I clean with (homemade) PBW as soon as the keg kicks, including the posts... then pour in a cup of StarSan, and store with just enough pressure to keep it sealed. I don’t care about the CO2 cost and have never noticed my seals wearing out. I like having sanitized kegs ready to go.
 

madscientist451

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Use PBW "as needed" OR when you feel like it. If you want to use PBW every time, go ahead. PBW solution can be used over and over, just get an extra bucket and label it.
 

TechFanMD

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Use PBW "as needed" OR when you feel like it. If you want to use PBW every time, go ahead. PBW solution can be used over and over, just get an extra bucket and label it.
Used PBW doesn’t have the extra boost from the oxy, so won’t work as well after a day or so. If I were ok with an inferior cleaner, I wouldn’t pay so much money for PBW or go to the effort of making my own in the first place.
 

mongoose33

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There was a thread on HBT about, oh, a year or so ago where there was discussion about not cleaning kegs before refilling. The theory/argument was that they're already "sanitary" provided you didn't have an infection.

I tried that once on a whim, that is just refilling a kicked keg w/o cleaning it first. I had no adverse indications, i.e., the new beer tasted fine and normal.

That's the only time I've ever done it. In a pinch, I'd do it again, but not as a general rule.

Why not? Every time I clean a keg there's always a thin layer of...something...on the bottom. I presume it's proteins, yeast, maybe hop trub, who knows what, that has settled out of the beer as it clears. If I add another beer, I'm doubling that layer. To the extent that there are components in that layer that over time will degrade and create off-flavors in the beer....like dead yeast undergoing autolysis, perhaps....then over time it's not an advantage.

**********

I use a keg washer, hot water and PBW. rinse with hot water, then a rinse with a half-cup or so of sanitizer. I'll put the lid on, hit the keg with a charge of CO2, then blow out that sanitizer through the OUT post. This rinses the OUT dip tube, and lets me completely clear out the sanitizer.

I usually let kicked kegs sit until I have enough to clean that it's worth hauling out the equipment to clean them. I don't get any caked-on stuff in there, the humidity is 100 percent inside the sealed keg.
 

madscientist451

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Used PBW doesn’t have the extra boost from the oxy, so won’t work as well after a day or so. If I were ok with an inferior cleaner, I wouldn’t pay so much money for PBW or go to the effort of making my own in the first place.
I've used recycled PBW to clean glass carboys that have had red wine aging in them for years. The "OLD" PBW gets the red wine residue off just fine. Maybe using fresh PBW would work faster, I've never done a side by side comparison.
I can't find anything on the 5 star chemical's web site regarding the product losing effectiveness if stored and re-used.
 

balrog

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I lazy. I never get to cleaning keg until I have no free keg but do have a fermenter to rack. Empty kegs sit in cool basement, sealed and dirty. Naturally, I am hoping the beer elves come in and clean them, but up to now I've not had much luck with that. I have to spend a day MarkII-ing with homemade oxytsp90pbw, rinsing, StarSan-ing because it'll sit a long while before use and I don't want anything to grow after nice wash before next use.

Who has the customer support number for those danged beer elves anyway? I have to give them a piece of my mind.
 

balrog

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I've used recycled PBW to clean glass carboys that have had red wine aging in them for years. The "OLD" PBW gets the red wine residue off just fine. Maybe using fresh PBW would work faster, I've never done a side by side comparison.
I can't find anything on the 5 star chemical's web site regarding the product losing effectiveness if stored and re-used.
I believe the oxy part that attacks the organics so well (sodium percarbonate) lasts about 20m and is gone. After that you're really just using the sodium metasilicate (TSP90) degreaser/cleaner.
 

Dland

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The practice of not cleaning kegs between brews is apparently common among some small commercial breweries, a brewer friend told me they did this where he had worked, especially with in house kegs that they knew handling history. Many times these beers are filtered in some way, so the cold crash residue would not build up the way does with many of us home brewers.
 

madscientist451

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I believe the oxy part that attacks the organics so well (sodium percarbonate) lasts about 20m and is gone. After that you're really just using the sodium metasilicate (TSP90) degreaser/cleaner.
I guess OXYclean is cheaper than PBW? Maybe I could add a dose of Oxyclean to my recyled PBW and it would work faster?
 

Rev2010

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I guess OXYclean is cheaper than PBW? Maybe I could add a dose of Oxyclean to my recyled PBW and it would work faster?
Oxyclean Free is cheaper. I used to use it exclusively for years. I have also used the regular scented Oxyclean with no noticeable issues as well but I would buy Free whenever I could find it just for the sake of it. I bought a tub of PBW a number of months back and have been using that for now until it runs out, then I am going right back to Oxyclean. I don't see any difference in cleaning ability, PBW cost noticeably more, and personally I find PBW takes waaay more rinses to wash off completely than Oxyclean.


Rev.
 

balrog

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I buy 10# bags of sodium percarbonate off amazon/ebay and 4# bags of Red Devil TSP/90 same place(s) and mix 2:1.
 
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fluxxsimon

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Thanks for all these replies on my thread! I think I've got a better understanding on how you all think and what to do in different situations!
 

balrog

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Its the interwebs, and HBT's idiosyncratic corner thereof -- so if you ask a question, you'll have no shortage of answers. And jokes. Maybe goats too.
 

SEndorf

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The practice of not cleaning kegs between brews is apparently common among some small commercial breweries, a brewer friend told me they did this where he had worked, especially with in house kegs that they knew handling history. Many times these beers are filtered in some way, so the cold crash residue would not build up the way does with many of us home brewers.
Those small breweries apparently have a shortage of hopeful home brewers wanting the experience of the big time. Working for free, or for beer.. blasting kegs with the hose... dressed in rubber boots...coveralls....

Seriously... Inferring practices between commercial breweries and homebrewing is a slippery slope. How many of us refill kegs with the same brew?
For me, a small amount of PBW for a soak and a rinse is a small task which I would not cut corners for my brew day.
Commercial breweries have to decide the cost/benefit in large volume. Maybe it makes sense for them.
 

Dland

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^^^No problemo & I concur, just adding to conversation, as someone else mentioned not washing each time...
 

BarleyStanding

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Who has the customer support number for those danged beer elves anyway? I have to give them a piece of my mind.
The only beer elves I've ever encountered are the ones that show up in my garage and drink my beer. I've never encountered a species of beer elf that cleans kegs; and when I do ask the beer drinking elves about the beer equipment cleaning elves, they all vanish. Oh well.
 

mongoose33

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The only beer elves I've ever encountered are the ones that show up in my garage and drink my beer. I've never encountered a species of beer elf that cleans kegs; and when I do ask the beer drinking elves about the beer equipment cleaning elves, they all vanish. Oh well.
That reminds me of the story of the Little Red Brewer.
 

Blazinlow86

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If I can't get to cleaning a kicked keg right away I leave it sealed up and stick it in one of my fridges until I get a 'round tuit. At that point it goes on the Mark II with two tablespoons of PBW in as hot water as the tap delivers (~130°F iirc). After a thorough rinse and a quick pressure check it gets parked until needed, at which time I'll do a Star San purge before filling...

Cheers!
I do the same. Cheers
 

Cantina De Jefe

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I do exclusively 10 gallon batches so i wait until i have 2 empty kegs. Then i pbw one. Rack the pbw into the other. Rinse. Same thing with the sanitizer. Then i rack in the new beers. This saves me time and money.
 
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