Should there always be beer in the tap line?

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WalkingStickMan

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Couldn't find any threads on it, maybe because it's such an obvious part of kegging...

But should there always be beer in the tap lines? I'm assuming that the pressure in the keg is going to push the beer into the tap line until it's full, I just wanted to make sure that this was standard for everyone's system (as it appears to be on mine).

If this is in fact the way that everyone's system works, do you include the beer that had been sitting in the lines in your next pour? I'd be inclined not to waste that beer, but I'm curious whether the beer picks up any weird flavors while sitting in the line, assuming that your lines are clean.

Thanks for the help!
 

SD-SLIM

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Hello...I hope I read your question correctly...after your keg is connected, pressurized and then the tap handle is pulled...then yes the line is filled with beer that will come out in your next pour.
The beer in your line shouldnt change too much in flavor between pours....unless your lines are not refrigerated and/or you go a long period between pours. I would recommend that between kegs you clean your lines...there is a great DYI line cleaner on this site that will keep your lines clean and give you optimal flavor.
 

genes

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I've found the beer in the line tastes a little weird if it has in there for a week or two. I always purge the beer in the line into a glass. Drink it. Then fill as normal.
 
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WalkingStickMan

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Thanks! Did everyone clean their lines before their first use, or only after their first keg had gone through the lines.

I guess I'm wondering about the sanitation aspect of the lines, and whether they need to be soaked in Starsan before use, or if the cleaning is just to remove beerstone deposit, etc.
 

Airborneguy

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I clean mine every two kegs. When I clean them, break everything down, clean each piece with detergent and hot water, then soak everything in StarSan, usually overnight.
 
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WalkingStickMan

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So is there a risk of infecting the entire batch if one doesn't sanitize the beer lines?

I'm thinking that the amount of time the beer would stay in contact with anything nasty in the line is what determines if some sour or off-flavors might occur. However, even if something did develop in the lines, couldn't one pour off what was infected in the lines, and then continue to pour the remaining beer without detriment (as long as that beer didn't then sit in the lines again for an extended period of time)?

I guess what I'm saying is, if the line does indeed have an infection, wouldn't it only really show up in the beer that had been sitting in the lines for some time, and wouldn't the flavor of the rest of the beer being poured that day or night remain unaffected?
 

2puttbird

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Thanks! Did everyone clean their lines before their first use, or only after their first keg had gone through the lines.

I guess I'm wondering about the sanitation aspect of the lines, and whether they need to be soaked in Starsan before use, or if the cleaning is just to remove beerstone deposit, etc.
FWIW, I plan to clean mine before the first use ... if nothing else, it will be good practice. Cheers! :mug:
 
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And there is no need for an overnite soak with starsan. It requires a 30 second contact time. It's going to do it's thing in that time frame.
 

Baldy_Beer_Brewery

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So is there a risk of infecting the entire batch if one doesn't sanitize the beer lines?

I'm thinking that the amount of time the beer would stay in contact with anything nasty in the line is what determines if some sour or off-flavors might occur. However, even if something did develop in the lines, couldn't one pour off what was infected in the lines, and then continue to pour the remaining beer without detriment (as long as that beer didn't then sit in the lines again for an extended period of time)?

I guess what I'm saying is, if the line does indeed have an infection, wouldn't it only really show up in the beer that had been sitting in the lines for some time, and wouldn't the flavor of the rest of the beer being poured that day or night remain unaffected?
Risk of infection from properly maintained beer lines and faucets should be minimal. My kegerator days predate my homebrewing days and all I've ever used are BLC, Clean flo or Oxyclean.
 

SD-SLIM

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I clean my lines before I connect a keg of beer...when I got my lines in the beginning, I had no idea what precautions the manufacture took to keep them clean, so I cleaned them.
I also clean them between kegs, to prevent flavors intermingling and to ensure that if I do have an issue with a beer flavor, it's not due to my keg.
Cleaning them everytime requires very little star-san using this DYI cleaner: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/diy-beer-line-cleaner-226497/ You can also put star-san in your keg and run it thru, but that wastes co2.
 

ao125

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Typically in between kegs, I'll fill up my 2nd keg with water + idophor and then connect back up to the system and let run through the tap for 30 sec. I also pull the tap handle & faucet off every once in a while as well, and give them a good soak.

I do this to break up any deposits that the hot water doesn't remove. It seemed to work on one once, so I've kept doing it.
Ever since I switched to a Perlick, I don't have as much encrustulated gunk. The Perlick's internal mechanism seems to also be less complex, and therefore less prone to gunking & failure.
 

SpanishCastleAle

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Beware of repeatedly soaking for long times. I know the lines will get tacky to the touch and leave a sticky residue on your hands from doing that with blow-off tubes (and that's also long PBW soaks followed by long Starsan soaks so YMMV). If it gets tacky to the touch AND leaves a sticky residue on my hands...I can only imagine what it's doing to the beer. But then consider how often one (of one, total) blow-off tube gets cleaned vs one of four tap lines cleaned every other keg.
 

tmurph6

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Go on YouTube and watch the kegging series from craigtube. Should answer any and all questions about cleaning and sanitizing.
 

itzkramer

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I have a 2 tap kegerator. When I finish a keg I rinse it with hot water very well, then add oxyclean and shake the hell out if it. That then gets ran thru the lines/faucet for 30 seconds.

Then the posts come off for a dip in the oxyclean. Then everything gets rinsed and put back together for a final shake with starsan. The starsan gets ran thru the lines and stays in the lines(until I hook up a new keg), but I disconnect the keg and empty it.

Every keg, every time.
 
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