Minor Misadventures in Keg Line Cleaning
TL;DR, one home-brew life-hack superseding another, not before I went shopping for something I already had. 😅
One of my hobbies is home-brewing beer and cider; it’s something I’m still quite a novice at but there’s a great community around it and it’s something I get to enjoy the output of as well as the creative process!
It was about time that I cleaned out my spent kegs and the Fermzilla, along with the various other bits of brewing paraphernalia such as keg lines1. Generally they look after themselves but you’ll want to flush and clean them out if you’re not constantly pouring.
Ideally you have an empty vessel that you can then fill with cleaning solutions like PBW2 or sodium percarbonate. You then briefly hook up your CO2 bottle to that to give it a little pressure. Finally you hook the vessel up the keg lines and open your tap, hey presto, the cleaning solution pours through. You want to leave that in there for a little while, ~15-20 minutes, to dissolve any gunk, then repeat the whole process with water to flush the cleaner out3.
So, that empty vessel, eh? Well, I’d seen a video some time ago that looked like a handy little life-hack. Get a hand pump from Bunnings, replace the nozzle with a liquid keg post and universal poppet. You now have a vessel you can hand pump your solutions through the keg lines with, neato! All up it’s less than $20, no big deal.
So off I trundle to my LHBS, Brewmart. Pretty good shop, the staff are nice and friendly. One of the them ask me if I need any help and I tell him what I’m looking for and why. They ask if I know of the Coke bottle hack. Why no, I don’t! Turns out you can get these universal posts4 that screw onto Coke bottles. There’s the cleaning vessel, with one part, purchased for less than $5. Now, I actually already have one of these posts for the other common purpose, which is transferring beer from your keg to a smaller bottles. An easier way to get your home-brew to a party or function, basically.
A trip to the grocery store later and I’m now in possession of a 2L soda water bottle, very soon to be used for cleaning my keg lines. I’ll have to ponder how I forgot the line cleaning possibilities of that carbonation cap over a beer or two.
Lengths of tubing that connect a keg up to a tap for serving. ↩︎
Powdered Brewery Wash is an alkaline, non-caustic, environmentally and user friendly cleaner. ↩︎
If you’re going to leave the lines empty for some time, you may want to flush the line with a no-rinse sanitiser like Starsan or similar instead of water, to kill anything that might be living inside the line. Note that you’ll just want to push the sanitiser out of the line with CO2 and with water; if you did that, you’d be undoing all your sanitising efforts! ↩︎
Generally, the kegs that are used in home-brewing have a gas and a liquid post for gas in and liquid out respectively. These posts are slightly different so that you can’t put the wrong thing in the wrong place. ↩︎