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Draft Beer

How To Clean a Kegerator: The Basics of Beer Line Cleaning

Protect the flavor of your beer when you learn how to clean beer lines. 

cleaning kit

There’s no faster way to ruin the taste of your draft beer than by not keeping your draft lines clean. All sorts of nasty things can collect or grow in lines that aren’t kept clean, including bacteria, mold, yeast, and sediment (beer stone). These contaminants can create foaming and taint the taste and aroma of your beer.

If you are among the lucky souls with your very own kegerator, please, for the love of all that is good and holy in this world, clean your lines. It’s really not an optional thing.

How often should I clean my beer lines?

It is recommended that you clean your draft lines with a caustic beer line cleaning solution a minimum every two weeks or at least every time you change kegs.

Once a quarter (every three months), your draft lines should also be cleaned with an acid-based beer line cleaner to remove inorganic materials, such as beer stone and sediment, from your draft lines. 


How to clean draft beer lines

How to clean beer lines with a hand pump cleaning kit

beer line cleaning

For home use, we suggest beer line cleaning kits that use air pressure (either hand-pumped or powered by your CO2 tank) to push a cleaning solution through the beer lines of your kegerator or draft system. Doing this is simple and quick, and it wipes out all the gunk that harms the taste of your beer and can cause excess foaming. 

 

What tools you’ll need to clean your beer lines

Step 1: Disconnect your draft components 

Start by turning off the CO2 tank and then disconnect the coupler from the keg. Place a check ball lifter in the coupler, engage the coupler, and place it in the bucket to collect spent water and cleaning solution. Disconnect the draft faucet using the spanner wrench. (Pro tip: Now is a good time to clean your faucet. See our how-to clean your draft faucet video to learn more.)

Step 2: Flush and clean beer lines 

Fill the cleaning jar with the cleaning solution and warm water, and connect the line to the faucet shank on your kegerator. Be sure to use a beer line washer between the shank and the connector for the cleaning jar. 

Pump about half of the cleaning solution through your draft lines, and then disengage the keg coupler. Allow the solution to soak in your lines for 5-10 minutes before re-engaging the coupler and pumping the remaining solution through the lines.

Open the cleaning jar and thoroughly rinse it out before filling the jar with clean water. Pump the water through the lines to rinse them. Repeat this step to make sure all the cleaning solution is flushed out of your system.

Step 3: Reconnect your kegerator

Disconnect the cleaning jar from your kegerator and reattach your draft faucet using the spanner wrench. Take your coupler out of the bucket and give it a good rinse to remove any residue from the cleaning solution. Ensure to disengage the coupler and take out the check ball lifter before reattaching to your beer keg. Then you can turn your CO2 back on, and you’re ready to start enjoying pints from freshly cleaned lines!

Download the Beer Line Cleaning Kit Instruction Guide (pdf)


How to clean beer lines with a cleaning keg

cleaning keg

If you don’t want to pump your cleaning solution through your system by hand, then you can get a pressurized cleaning keg that uses your CO2 to flush and clean your system.

 

What tools you’ll need to clean your beer lines

Instructions for using Draft Beer Cleaning Keg

Step 1: Place the bucket under your draft faucet

Step 2: Remove the cap from the cleaning keg, and fill it with a mixture of warm water and the proper amount of cleaning solution

Step 3: Disconnect your coupler from your keg, and connect it to the cleaning keg. The bottle will pressurize and fill the line with cleaning solution

Step 4: Open your faucet and allow liquid to flow until you can begin to see cleaning solution coming out. Then close the faucet and allow the solution to soak inside your lines for 5-10 minutes 

Step 5: After letting your lines soak, open the faucet and allow at least 2 liters of solution to flush through your system

Step 6: Once you’ve run enough solution through your lines, disconnect the keg coupler from the cleaning bottle

Step 7: Pull the pressure relief valve on the bottle to relieve pressure. Unscrew the cap on the bottle and empty out any remaining cleaning solution, and thoroughly rinse the cleaning keg

Step 8: Refill the cleaning keg with cold, clean water, and cover keg with the cap. Reattach your keg coupler

Step 9: Open the draft faucet to allow the fresh water to flush out any remaining cleaning solution. You should allow at least 2 liters of fresh water to flow through your lines

Step 10: Disconnect your keg coupler from the cleaning keg, and reattach it to your beer keg


Cleaning Beer Lines with an Electric Recirculating Cleaning Pump

recirculating beer line cleaning pump

An optimal solution for commercial and long draw draft systems is an Electric Recirculating Line Cleaning Pump. When using the electric recirculation pump, your draft lines are connected to create a loop that allows cleaning solution and water to flow through the pump and system. The turbulent flow created by the pump is a much more thorough way to clean than simply soaking the lines in the cleaning solution. Electric pumps are simple to use with an on/off switch and a built-in timer that shuts the pump off automatically. 


Draft Beer Cleaning Log

A draft beer cleaning log helps to keep track of when your draft system was cleaned. This is especially important for bars, restaurants, and breweries with multiple staff members. This ensures that line cleaning will be followed up regularly. Keep a draft beer line cleaning log posted inside your cooler or near your draft system so that the information is readily available.

Download your FREE Draft Beer Cleaning Log

kegworks-how-to-clean-beer-lines-1

Enter your email address to get your draft beer cleaning log to track when you clean your kegerator or draft system.

 

Public ‘Last Cleaned’ Date

Publicly posting when your draft system was last cleaned lets your friends and customers know you are serious about providing them with the freshest product possible from your draft system. A great way to deliver this message is by posting it on your beer menu, especially if you use a chalkboard or whiteboard to show what is on tap. You can also share the information through your social media channels.


How to clean draft beer faucets & keg couplers

In addition to cleaning your beer lines, we recommend cleaning your draft beer faucet and keg coupler regularly. Bacteria and/or mold can hide in the crevices of these items which can taint your beer the same way dirty beer lines can. Click the links below to learn more about how to clean your faucets and couplers.

How To Clean Keg Couplerskegworks-how-to-clean-keg-coupler-1Learn More

How To Clean Draft Faucetskegworks-draft-beer-101-the-basics-of-beer-line-cleaning-1-600x400-1Learn More


Follow these tips at home or your bar, and we guarantee you’ll be serving the freshest, most flavorful beer possible.

KegWorks

KegWorks

KegWorks has been selling cool tools for drinking and serving knowledge on tap since 1998. We are all about enjoying good drinks with good friends.

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