Keg Cleaning

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Gizzygone

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I’ve had the Mark’s keg washer, and it HAD been working great... until I began fermenting in my kegs...

Now it just can’t seem to “scrub” the remnants off like it once had (it seems to leave behind Krausen on the wall).


Would one of the home-made keg-washers work better? (With their much larger pumps?)... Or am I better off just buying some brushes and hand-washing going forward? (I was thinking a toilet-brush, over the Carboys brushes).
 

jdauria

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Buying a brush and scrubbing would work, but you could try after just emptying the keg, fill it with hot water and PWB or Oxiclean and let sit for a few hours before using the keg washer, that might help loosen the dried krausen.
 
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Gizzygone

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Buying a brush and scrubbing would work, but you could try after just emptying the keg, fill it with hot water and PWB or Oxiclean and let sit for a few hours before using the keg washer, that might help loosen the dried krausen.
So a higher-powered pump likely wouldn’t do much more?
 

Qhrumphf

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There are four pillars of good cleaning- temperature, chemical strength, time, and mechanical action. If you don't want to actually scrub (the ultimate mechanical action), a stronger spray and cascading flow from a stronger pump will also help (as that is also mechanical action). Hotter (up to maybe 150-160 I think is top end for PBW), stronger PBW for longer will as well. Soaking overnight should allow it to rinse off easily as well.
 

lump42

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You could try changing the pump to a larger size. They just run on submersible pond pumps. I wasn't happy with the default spray pattern for buckets, so I made on multi-direction sprayer head out of a pvc end cap that I drill small holes. It now sprays in 180 deg. Or you could try getting a CIP spray ball.

I've had similar problem with my fermenters, so I usually give them a quick rinse to get the bulk loose stuff out, then let the washer run for a 15-20 min. I'll then check to see if there's a ring left and wipe it out with a rag (I use HB microfiber cloths so I don't scratch buckets), and then let it run for another 10-15 min.
 
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Gizzygone

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You could try changing the pump to a larger size. They just run on submersible pond pumps. I wasn't happy with the default spray pattern for buckets, so I made on multi-direction sprayer head out of a pvc end cap that I drill small holes. It now sprays in 180 deg. Or you could try getting a CIP spray ball.

I've had similar problem with my fermenters, so I usually give them a quick rinse to get the bulk loose stuff out, then let the washer run for a 15-20 min. I'll then check to see if there's a ring left and wipe it out with a rag (I use HB microfiber cloths so I don't scratch buckets), and then let it run for another 10-15 min.

Can I ask what pump you went with?

I did add a CIP ball to their pump, but I felt the single stream was better in the end... So maybe I’ll try a CIP on a bigger oil-free submersible pump
 

lump42

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Can I ask what pump you went with?

I did add a CIP ball to their pump, but I felt the single stream was better in the end... So maybe I’ll try a CIP on a bigger oil-free submersible pump

I'm still using the stock pump, since a simple wipe down after it runs a few minutes takes care of the stuck on stuff I can see. I debated on whether to build my own or get the keg washer. I received the Marks keg washer for Christmas. If I hadn't I was going to use a 5-gal bucket and this pump from harbor freight. It would have to be stepped down from 1-1/2" but for $60 and 3,000 GPH, it should have enough pressure. If you wanted to use the same basin, this utility pump doesn't have a float switch, so it would work in the shallow basin. For intermittently used pumps, I've had good luck with the Harbor Freight pumps. I wouldn't trust them to keep my house dry though.

The spray ball I built works well on wide buckets and PET carboys. I took one of these just a 1/2" threaded pvc end cap and drilled holes so it was similar to this one below.

Homebrewfinds also had an article and some links to spray balls that others have used with the washer. https://www.homebrewfinds.com/2016/04/reader-photo-stainless-steel-spray-ball-for-sparging.html

5130FzlAToL._SL1000_.jpg
 
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Gizzygone

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I'm still using the stock pump, since a simple wipe down after it runs a few minutes takes care of the stuck on stuff I can see. I debated on whether to build my own or get the keg washer. I received the Marks keg washer for Christmas. If I hadn't I was going to use a 5-gal bucket and this pump from harbor freight. It would have to be stepped down from 1-1/2" but for $60 and 3,000 GPH, it should have enough pressure. If you wanted to use the same basin, this utility pump doesn't have a float switch, so it would work in the shallow basin. For intermittently used pumps, I've had good luck with the Harbor Freight pumps. I wouldn't trust them to keep my house dry though.

The spray ball I built works well on wide buckets and PET carboys. I took one of these just a 1/2" threaded pvc end cap and drilled holes so it was similar to this:
5130FzlAToL._SL1000_.jpg


Homebrewfinds also had an article and some links to spray balls that others have used with the washer. https://www.homebrewfinds.com/2016/04/reader-photo-stainless-steel-spray-ball-for-sparging.html

Ah, I see: I thought you were suggesting I get a bigger pump than the pond pumps.

I suppose I’ll just resort to micro fibers for now... Makes the most sense... I was just hoping to get away with the set-n-forget mentality!
 

lump42

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Ah, I see: I thought you were suggesting I get a bigger pump than the pond pumps.

I suppose I’ll just resort to micro fibers for now... Makes the most sense... I was just hoping to get away with the set-n-forget mentality!

I haven't come across a foolproof set-n-forget cleaning route. When I was just filling and soaking, I would always rinse and wipe with a soft cloth before hand. I was still carefully inspecting everything afterwards too. I switched to the keg cleaner because I haven't ran water to my basement yet and I was hauling everything upstairs to the far end of the house into the mudroom sink to clean. With the cleaner, I just haul 4 milk jugs of water and I can clean, rinse, and sanitize all my kegs and fermentors. It was more about not hauling everything around the house, minimizing annoying my wife with equipment scattered across the house, and conserving water and cleaners.

I've still thought about making a second washer so I can have one being cleaned and one rinsing. As it is, I clean everything, empty the washer, then rinse everything.
 

speavler

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I used my Mark II about twice before I switched to using a much stronger utility pump in a bucket and a CIP ball. Kegs sit on the pump and kind of wedged upright using some big pvc pipe and leaning against my utility sink. Not pretty but gets the job done very well. I use the same pump and CIP ball on my chronical fermenters. I always go back over it with a scrubbing pad, but there's usually nothing left to clean.
 
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Gizzygone

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I used my Mark II about twice before I switched to using a much stronger utility pump in a bucket and a CIP ball. Kegs sit on the pump and kind of wedged upright using some big pvc pipe and leaning against my utility sink. Not pretty but gets the job done very well. I use the same pump and CIP ball on my chronical fermenters. I always go back over it with a scrubbing pad, but there's usually nothing left to clean.

Do you know what pump?
 

IslandLizard

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Also, dried-on krausen is hard to remove by just spraying, even with a garden hose sprayer. But wetting it and let it soak for a few hours first, makes it much easier.
 

Imhoppy

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I like to drop a scrub pad in and use a long stick(yard stick) to run it up and down the walls and bottom. A few minutes and it's perfect.
Simple low-tech solutions like that are the way to go! It's not rocket science after all.

As soon as the keg is kicked, clean it. Rinse it out good with water, then partially fill with hot water using a few drops of dishwashing soap and scrub with a keg brush a few times. Same with the dip tube (using a dip tube brush) and all the other keg parts. Rinse throughly and sanitize everything with Starsan. When the keg is ready to use again, dump it out and fill it up.


No need for special pumps, sprayers, and high-tech cleaning gizmos and gadgets. Not to mention the space required to store it all. Instead, save the money to buy more ingredients for the next batch of brew or two. [emoji481]
 
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Gizzygone

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I was looking at the Oil-Free version of that Superior pump...

Then I started looking at the “The Keg Cleaner” which is essentially cloth attached to a drill extension... That almost seems like the better way to go at this point... (although it likely doesn’t hit the lid area..)

I’ve tried the cloth and stick trick... and even just shoving my arm in there (but that gets nerve racking quickly... always close enough to not getting my arm back out to concern me!)
 
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Gizzygone

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Non-potable use, max temp of 120°F...

I’m curious what the proper pump would be? Obviously bigger breweries use dedicated pumps for cleaning... but I’m curious if there’s anything comparable at a smaller size?

Most of the brewery pumps I see are more for moving wort... Not for high volume flow of cleaning fluid...
 

day_trippr

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I'd be concerned that the "non-potable" implies there's some kind of lubricant that might leak.
As well, when I clean kegs I'm using straight hot tap water right out of my utility room (like 4' of plumbing) and the boiler is set to the factory default 140°F.

I don't buy anything based on "maybe" aside from beer...

Cheers! ;)
 

Qhrumphf

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I’m curious what the proper pump would be? Obviously bigger breweries use dedicated pumps for cleaning... but I’m curious if there’s anything comparable at a smaller size?

Most of the brewery pumps I see are more for moving wort... Not for high volume flow of cleaning fluid...
If you've got a March pump or whatever, use that. Basically CIP the pump in the process.
 

SEndorf

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I fill them with hot PBW and let them sit overnight. Everything just rinses off then.
No pump, no hassle.

^This.
All of these other options seem horribly complicated and unnecessary.
I've never wiped, scrubbed or pumped.
Hot PBW soak for at least a day.
The PBW gets dumped in a bucket for other uses.
The keg gets 4 half-fills with hot water, sealed and shaken a few times, then turned upside down to dry.
I do remove the posts and poppets for soaking in another cup.
 

BeerFst

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^This.
All of these other options seem horribly complicated and unnecessary.
I've never wiped, scrubbed or pumped.
Hot PBW soak for at least a day.
The PBW gets dumped in a bucket for other uses.
The keg gets 4 half-fills with hot water, sealed and shaken a few times, then turned upside down to dry.
I do remove the posts and poppets for soaking in another cup.

agreed. Empty the trub from the keg, rinse off what I can with the sink sprayer. One tbsp pbw per gallon of water. 2.5-3 gallons in the keg warm pbw let sit with keg upright for 30 minutes, flip, another 30 minutes. 99% clean every time
 

Imhoppy

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Car wash places have high pressure pumps. Take your keg there and get it full-service detailed too. Nothing better than a professionally cleaned keg.
 
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