You work so hard to make your homebrew perfect. Why brew everything right and go to so much hard work to not keep your draft lines clean? We all are guilty of it! But, it’s something that really shouldn’t be ignored. And lines are easy to clean! So make it a commitment clean your draft lines right away.
Why do you need to keep your draft lines clean?
First and foremost, homebrew is unfiltered, which means the yeast works its way through the system. Flushing out the old beer in the line is the first step. Mold, yeast, and bacteria and find their way in, so it’s important to properly keep draft lines clean.
Over time plaque (a layer of calcium oxalate or beer stone) can accumulate on the lines. This plaque harbors spoiling bacteria, that can promote bad head retention, and of course, off flavors. You may even end up with white floaters in your beer.
How to keep your draft lines clean:
Professional bars have it made. They often employ a cleaning service that will flush a cleaning solution through every beer line for several minutes. But this isn’t a practical method for many homebrewers and you can do it yourself. Since most home draft lines are shorter, there is no need for this either. A simple soak and rinse method should work just fine.
- Run a cleaning solution of Beer Line Cleaner through the draft line under pressure until the flow runs clear.
- Wait (around 15 minutes) while the solution soaks in the lines
- Run clean water through the draft line under pressure to flush out the solution.
- Tap the next keg.
- Open the faucet and let it run until beer flows out.
Prepare your cleaner solution in an empty keg, pressurize it with carbon dioxide, and push it through the line the same as you would beer. Then repeat using a keg of plain water. You don’t need to use full kegs; a quart per line is all that’s needed. All of this pressurizing, though, is a waste of carbon dioxide, so consider purchasing a keg cleaning pump.
Finally, don’t forget that beer lines should be replaced periodically. The more beer you make and drink, the more frequently you should replace your lines. It’s common to replace them once a year.