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Any brewer would agree that you can’t make good beer with dirty equipment. It’s also true that you can’t serve good beer with a dirty keg or tap line. It’s not a secret that cleanliness and sanitation is the most important part of commercial brewing and homebrewing. Here in our office, we like to serve our homebrew from kegs, so it’s important that we clean them between different beers to avoid cross-contamination and off-flavors. If you also serve your beer from kegs, follow the steps below to learn how to properly clean them between beers.
If you’re more of a visual learner, here’s a video tutorial.
PBW is used by commercial brewers and homebrewers
- Rubber Gloves
- Tube cleaning brush
- Prepare a PBW solution - wear gloves and goggles to ensure safety
- Follow the instructions on the container, we’re making a 5-gallon solution so we weighed out 3.75 ounces (106.3 grams). If you’re cleaning smaller kegs, you’ll need to use less
Weighing out PBW using a scale
- Pour PBW into 5 gallons of water and heat to 150° F (65.5° C)
We heat our PBW solution up using our 120V Digital Brewing Controller
- You’ll want it to dissolve - we do this by circulating it through our brewing system, which cleans that as well, but you could also just stir it
- While your solution is heating up to 150° F (65.5° C), follow the steps below
- Rinse your keg 2-3 times to remove any old beer that’s in there
- Wipe any keg lube off of your liquid and gas posts if you use that
- Use a wrench to remove the liquid and gas posts and place them in a bowl along with the lid of your keg - leave the long liquid post in your keg
- Fill the bowl with your heated PBW solution and make sure everything is submerged
Removing all of our keg parts and submerging them in a heated PBW solution
- After submerging all your parts, fill your keg with heated PBW solution
Filling our keg with PBW solution
- Remove the liquid post and stir it around in the keg
- Make sure to move any gaskets in order to clean underneath them
Here's a small gasket on the end of our liquid post, beer residue could be hiding underneath it
- Run a long tube cleaning brush through the liquid post a few times
This is the brush we use to clean our liquid posts
- After thoroughly cleaning the liquid post, reassemble your keg with the PBW solution still in it
- Flip your keg upside down in order to let the other side soak - let it sit for about 5 minutes
- The final step is to rinse your keg with warm water
- Don't leave any PBW behind in your keg
These are all the steps you need to know in order to effectively clean your kegs, but it’s important to remember that cleaning and sanitizing are two different things. Use Star San to sanitize equipment, especially kegs. An unsanitized keg could lead to an unwanted secondary fermentation that could produce off-flavors and ruin your beer.
Star San is used to sanitize brewing equipment after it has been cleaned