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June 2, 2020
Last updated

How To Clean Brewing Equipment

Owner of Clawhammer Supply
how to clean brewing equipment

Cleanliness and sanitation are extremely important to the brewing process. It’s an indisputable fact that you can’t make good beer with dirty or unsanitary equipment. PBW, or Powdered Brewery Wash, is an environmentally friendly alkali cleaner and it's widely considered the gold standard by commercial and homebrewers for cleaning brewing equipment.

We have a lot of experience brewing beer at home. In fact, we just had a brew day here at the office and in this tutorial, we’ll be showing you the steps we took to clean our brewing equipment with PBW. Specifically, we will be cleaning our 10 Gallon 120 Volt Brewing System but this process can be used for our 240 volt 20 gallon system as well.

Cleaning Vs. Sanitation

Before we explain how to clean brewing equipment, it's worth noting why it's so important. Preparing a brew system for making beer is a two part process that first involves cleaning and then sanitation. Cleaning is the process of removing debris from the equipment. Sanitation is the process of eliminating microbes like wild yeast and bacteria. If cleaning does not happen first, sanitation will not be effective.

How To Clean Brewing Equipment

We actually clean our brew system after every batch of beer. That's when it's easiest to clean because debris has not hardened yet. It's also the ideal time to clean because storing dirty brewing equipment can lead to all sorts of problems.

You'll need a few items for this process. We suggest the following:

  • PBW
  • Gloves and goggles
  • Dirty brewing equipment

Cleaning Steps

1. After a brew day, drain any remaining wort from your equipment and rinse it with water. Reconnect all your hoses after rinsing.

our brewing equipment after a brew day

Our brewing equipment after a brew day

2. Fill your brewing kettle with water. We filled our 10-gallon kettle (37.9 liters) with 7 gallons (26.5 liters) of water - if you’re using a 20-gallon (75.7 liter) kettle fill it with 14 or more gallons (53 liters).

3. Put on safety goggles and gloves - you may notice we did not do this, but safety equipment is always recommended when handling cleaning chemicals.

4. Weigh out 1-2 ounces (28.3 - 56.7 grams) of PBW for every gallon of water - for our 7 gallons of water we weighed out 10.5 ounces (297.67 grams).

looking at PBW

Instructions are conveniently located on the back of every PBW container

weighing out PBW solution

Weighing out PBW solution

5. Pour this into your brewing kettle and heat water to 130° - 180° F (54.4° - 82.2° C).

pouring pbw into our brewing kettle

Pouring solution into kettle

turning our digital brewing controller on to start heating up water

Turning our digital brewing controller on to start heating PBW solution

6. Turn the pump on and recirculate your PBW solution for one hour.

recirculating PBW solution

Recirculating our heated PBW solution.

7. After one hour, empty the PBW solution from your equipment and replace it with an equivalent amount of freshwater.

8. Heat the clean water to 130° - 180° F (54.4° - 82.2° C) and recirculate it for an hour as well.

9. After recirculating hot clean water for an hour, you’re brewing equipment is ready to brew another beer!

Extra Step: Recirculate a Star San solution after these steps in order to sanitize your equipment. Even though boiling wort can sanitize your brewing equipment during the brew day, it can only help to sanitize beforehand.

Star San is used to sanitize brewing equipment after it's been cleaned.

Kyle Brown is the owner of Clawhammer Supply, a small scale distillation and brewing equipment company which he founded in 2009. His passion is teaching people about the many uses of distillation equipment as well as how to make beer at home. When he isn't brewing beer or writing about it, you can find him at his local gym or on the running trail.

  • I don’t know how to run my still safe

    Posted by Anthony on November 13, 2021
  • what all kind of products do you sell

    Posted by larry cruce on November 30, 2020
  • nice to have a cip video, thanks for the procedures!

    Posted by Mike on November 30, 2020

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