Keep it Clean
Backup your hard drive. Check your tire pressure. Floss after every meal. Clean your draft lines.
You’re doing all of these, right? Well, we can’t help you with your teeth but how about those lines? Think about this:
Your Drink Can Only Get Worse On Its Way To the Tap
Don’t ruin a good thing. Organic matter builds up. Things start to grow. Flavors get funky. Cleaning is not optional.
Now for you TLDR-types, here how you do things by the book:
- Every 2 weeks: Clean your lines with caustic cleaner, disassemble & hand-clean faucets, hand-clean couplers
- Every 3 months: Acid rinse your lines, disassemble & hand-clean both faucets and couplers
- Every year: Replace your PVC/vinyl lines
If you’re selling product, this is more than just a good advice – it’s good for business. If you have kegs at home, you can dial back your level of anal retentiveness but the goals are the same: consistent, high-quality drinks on tap.
The Right Tools for the Job
For routine cleaning, caustic line cleaners are the way to go. Kegtron recommends SAFECID CR919 Alkaline Beer Line Cleaner for its professional-grade cleaning power and its safety for both you and the environment. Homebrewers reflexively reach for percarbonate brewery cleaners like PBW or OxiClean. These can be used, but are not nearly as as effective at cleaning, don’t dissolve well at lower temperatures and are more difficult to rinse. Also remember sanitizers like StarSan are not cleaning agents and are no substitutes for true beer line cleaners. Remember:
- Only use products intended specifically for draft line cleaning
- Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for dilution, temperature, contact time and rinsing
- Always rinse with water when complete – not with your beverage!
- Be cool to the environment: Don’t dump chemicals outside – put these down the drain
- Be safe: Protect your eyes & skin when using
Should I Drop Acid?
Periodic acid rinsing is recommend to prevent accumulation of beer stone (calcium oxalate + proteins). Over time, beer stone can harbor bacteria and other off-flavor producing contaminants. Caustic cleaners won’t remove beer stone – hence the need for acid to dissolve it.
Here’s the thing: acid is nothing to mess with. Conventional acid rinse solutions are dangerous, corrosive and require hazmat shipping. Amateurs who don’t follow directions or get careless with protective gear are asking for a bad trip.
If you want to keep your draft system free of beer stone and be safe, there’s really just one solution (pun intended): SAFECID HAR102 Acid Replacement Beer Line Cleaner. Like the CR919 Alkaline Cleaner above, SAFECID’s acid rinse formula has the same power and conventional acids without the safety issues & environmental hazards.
What About Keg Monitors?
Any surface that comes in contact with your drink needs regular cleaning – and that includes keg monitors. Fortunately Kegtron designed our gear to be cleaned just like you clean your lines. Since they are installed inline between your keg coupler and faucet, you can implement a clean-in-place (CIP) routine. Easy.
Here is some product-specific cleaning advice:
- Unplug the power during cleaning to save your stats (you won’t lose any data)
- Unplug at the USB end of the cable to prevent wear & tear at the rubber grommet
- Always ensure cleaning liquid flows in the proper direction to ensure the internal flow sensors are cleaned. Reverse flow, or back-flushing, is not recommended
- Manual Cleaning Mode: From the Cloud Dashboard settings page, click the Cleaning “Start” button for each keg monitor
- Auto Cleaning Detect: If continuous liquid flow is detected above and beyond the ‘Cleaning Auto Detect’ threshold then all liquid measurements will be ignored
- You can flush cleaning solutions in either forward or reverse directions
Remember: Keep the funk in your playlists, not in your draft lines!