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May 15, 2020

How to Clean a Keg

how to clean kegsAny 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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Tutorial

If you’re more of a visual learner, here’s a video tutorial.

Items Needed

PBW or Powdered Brewery Wash

PBW is used by commercial brewers and homebrewers

  • Wrench
  • Bowl
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Tube cleaning brush

Steps

  • Prepare a PBW solution - wear gloves and goggles to ensure safety
    • Follow the instructions on the container, we’re making a 5-gallon (18.9 liters) 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

Weighing out PBW using a scale

  • Pour PBW into 5 gallons (18.9 liters) of water and heat to 150° F (65.5° C)

    digital brewing controller set to 150 degrees fahrenheit

    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 keg posts

      keg parts submerged in PBW solution

      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 keg with 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

      liquid post gasket

      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

        liquid post and tube cleaning brush

        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 

         Star San is used to sanitize brewing equipment after it has been cleaned

         

         

         

         

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