If you have a beer tap or beer engine in your home bar. Then just like the taps and pumps in a pub, the lines will need cleaning. Obviously in a home bar there is not the amount of beer lines a pub would have. But how often should I clean my beer lines?
Maybe it should be every week, or perhaps every four weeks. Perhaps it should be every time you change a keg. The aim is to find out the best time to clean your beer lines, and how to do it easily.
How Often Should I Clean My Beer Lines?
Once per week is good practise and will keep your beer lines in tip top condition. As long as your keg is used up within a reasonable time period, then between kegs should also be good practise. The type of cleaning solution used may determine the method used to clean your lines. And every care should be taken to follow the products instructions.
Always use safety equipment when using cleaning chemicals. Gloves and eyewear should always be worn.
Is It Important To Clean My Beer Lines?
In a word, yes. If you don’t keep beer lines clean then it can affect the beer. This can make your beer smell and taste off.
Unwanted contaminants can build up in the beer lines if they are not properly maintained. Bacteria, yeast and calcium deposits will all cause problems for your beer.
Breweries work hard to perfect their beer, so its a crying shame if the beer is spoilt by dirty beer lines and taps.
The same goes if you have hooked your homebrew up to a draught system. All the work you put into brewing the beer, only for your beer lines to spoil it.
Also known as beer stones can build up in the beer lines if they are not cleaned regularly. These little stones can end up in the beer. They won’t improve the taste of the beer. Off flavours will be the result and your beer is spoiled.
On top of that if they are left to build up long enough they can eventually clog up the lines. This will slow down the beer delivery and may stop it completely.
Yeast Build Up
When you get yeast building up in the beer lines, it will change the taste of the beer, and not for the better. It will also affect the parts of the beer line, like the tap for instance. This will appear as an off white colour around the tap and drip trays.
You don’t want that in your beer.
Bacteria’s can also build up in beer lines if not regularly cleaned. We deal with small amounts of bacteria all the time. However a build up within the beer lines can be harmful, and it won’t do any favours for the beers taste either.
Mould can be another problem in beer lines and taps. Anything exposed to air and mould can grow, it is not good for the beer or our health.
So it is important to keep our beer lines clean.
How Often Should I Clean My Beer Lines?
Now we know how important it is to keep our beer lines clean, not only for health reasons, but for the purpose of good beer.
It is back to the question of how often we should clean beer lines?
The answer varies depending on who you ask. Some say every week, some say two weeks. Others say every four weeks while I have even heard of six weeks.
When it comes to a commercial set up, these varying time scales may be down to other elements. It can be to do with the system the pub or bar has installed. As well as the method used by the person cleaning the lines.
Some pubs will have a company that comes in and takes care of the line cleaning. This again will be varying time scales.
Home Bar beer Line Cleaning
Home bar beer line cleaning while still the same principal as a commercial set up. Will be on a different scale, there may be only one or two lines to clean.
However they still need cleaning regularly. There seems to be no real guidelines for a personal draught system at home.
That said cleaning beer lines is still important. The intervals in which you clean your beer lines seems to come down to personal choice.
A quick search reveals the large variation between how often home bar owners clean their beer lines. A popular time is after a keg is finished, clean the line before connecting a new keg. While others say monthly and even every two to three months.
Personally it seems that between kegs is acceptable and it works well for many home bar owners.
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How Do I Clean My Beer Lines?
Whether you are using beer taps or pumps on a bar, or a kegerator, those lines will need to be cleaned.
Although it may seem daunting to clean beer lines, it doesn’t have to be. We don’t have to install an expensive and fancy set up to clean one or two beer lines.
You can buy electric pumps, or use your gas system to pump the water and cleaning solution through your pipes. Also there are beer line cleaning kits available too.
But an easy DIY system can be the simplest way to go for a home bar.
When we keep it simple, the job in hand is simple too. So don’t get complicated with this.
All you need is a garden pressure sprayer and a keg coupler adapter to replace the spray wand, along with a hose clip. Remove the spray wand and slip the hose connector over the end of the hose. Insert the neck of the adapter into the hose. Tighten the hose connector and you have your own beer line cleaning system.
Beer Line Cleaning Process
The process will differ depending on the cleaning solution you choose. Always read the instructions and perform the cleaning to those instructions.
However it is simple system to build and use.
- Put the correct diluted cleaning solution into the sprayer.
- Connect the sprayer to the end of your beer line (via the correct adapter).
- Pressurize the sprayer.
- Pull the cleaning solution through the line by operating the tap/pump.
- Leave the cleaning solution in the line for the specified time (instructions).
- Thoroughly wash out the sprayer, then fill with fresh water.
- Connect the sprayer back to the beer line.
- Operating the tap/pump flush the system with plenty of water.
- Connect your beer and pull through until beer flows.
- Pour yourself a beer.
It is important to thoroughly rinse the beer line to make sure no cleaning solution is left in the beer line.
What Beer Line Cleaner Should I Use?
As I have already mentioned, the most important thing is to follow the instructions to whatever product you decide to use.
A tip is to read the instructions before you buy and pick the one with the simplest process.
The clear thing is that all beer lines need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Whether that be in a commercial or home bar environment.
Just as it is important to keep the beer lines clean, it is also important to keep the beer tap components clean too. In fact it is important to keep everything that comes into contact with the beer clean. That also includes your beer glasses.
For the sake of your beer as well as your health make sure you maintain your beer lines.