Having your own draft beer system comes with a price - you have to know how to clean beer lines and do it on a regular basis if you want your beer to stay fresh and safe for everyone who drinks it.
In this article, we cover the basics of the beer line cleaning and how you can do it easily at home using just a few simple products provided by Beverage Craft.
Why Should You Clean Your Beer Lines and How Often to Do That?
Whether you have a small home bar with a kegerator or a pro-level multi-tap draft beer system, cleaning beer lines - and faucets, for that matter - is one of the most crucial things you must do to maintain the best possible quality in the beer you pour.
Without regular cleaning, yeast can build up and form all kinds of nasty bacteria in your beer lines making your beer not only poor tasting but also unsafe to drink. So, tip #1 is to clean your beer keg lines on a regular basis. How regular?
Recommendations differ, depending on the source. Beer distributors typically clean their restaurants’ lines bi-weekly (which is also what IBDEA recommends). If you are simply a home bar owner, you should clean beer lines kegerator at least once a month or when you change a keg.
How to Clean the Lines in a Kegerator: Step-by-Step Guide
When it comes to cleaning beer lines, your two main options are:
- doing it yourself using a beer cleaning kit and cleaning solution
- calling a draft installer in your area who can clean beer lines for you
Needless to say, the first option is a more viable one since the cleaning process is not all that hard and anyone with just a basic set of DIY skills can do it - we’ll explain how to clean beer tap lines in a moment. Plus, you get to save some money, which is never a bad thing.
Now, let’s take a look at how to clean beer keg lines starting with the equipment you’re going to need.
What Equipment Is Needed to Clean Beer Lines
There’s not a lot of equipment required to clean beer lines - you’re only going to need the following:
- Beer line cleaning solution
- Cleaning pump
- Spanner wrench
- Keg lifter (to take the ball off of the coupler)
Instead of purchasing all these items separately, you can easily get a beer line cleaning kit, like this one right here from Beverage Craft, or get a more advanced version of it in the form of a pressurized beer line cleaning kit.
Now, let’s see how to clean kegerator beer lines, step by step.
- Start by turning off your CO2, taking your keg out of the kegerator, and disconnecting the coupler. Put the loose coupler end into an empty pot.
- Unscrew the coupler from the beer line and then unscrew the faucet using a spanner wrench. Disassemble the faucet and put all the parts into the pot too.
- Fill the cleaning pump with hot water and add a cap full of the beer line cleaning solution. Connect the cleaning pump via a plastic tube to the faucet by screwing it into the same place where the faucet was. Tighten the connection with a spanner wrench.
- Pump the cleaning solution through the beer lines (it should come out right into the pot where your faucet parts are) to clean out all the residue that’s inside.
- Using the brush, clean the faucet parts thoroughly and then rinse with cold water
- Once you’ve pumped all the cleaning solution through the beer lines, fill the cleaning pump with cold water and pump it through the system to rinse out whatever solution is still there.
- Disconnect the cleaning pump, put the faucet back together, and reattach it to the beer tower.
- Connect the coupler back to the keg and turn on CO2.
That’s how to clean draft beer lines - you’re ready to serve fresh, cold beer once again!
How to Clean Beer Lines Without a Kit
Technically, you can clean your beer lines without a kit using a DIY beer line cleaner. Although this is not something we would recommend doing, especially if you are not a pro-level DIY expert, it is still possible.
You will have to use some of your DIY skills to build a homemade keg cleaner. Here are the main components:
- Pressure cleaner (obtained from any DIY store for ~$10)
- Liquid post
- 17 mm spanner wrench
- Thread tape
Once all your cleaning components are ready, follow these steps to clean beer lines without a kit:
- Start by taking the original nozzle off and, after applying some thread tape to create a tight seal, attach the liquid post to the pressure cleaner.
- Tighten it with the spanner wrench.
- Next, fill the pressure cleaner with some hot water and add a cleaning solution (PBW or similar). Connect the dirty beer line to the liquid post on the pressure cleaner.
- Tap the faucet to let out all the beer that’s left in there and then pump some cleaning solution into the beer line. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with cold water.
We highly recommend always using a specific beer-line cleaning solution, rather than vinegar, baking soda or any bleach-containing substances for the cleanest and safest results.