Draft Beer System Cleaning: Part 2-Equipment & Procedures

Draft Beer System Cleaning: Part 2-Equipment & Procedures

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Part 2: Draft Beer System Cleaning Equipment and Procedures

Recap of Part 1:

In Part 1, we talked about all beer systems requiring cleaning and maintenance.  We covered chemical safety procedures, design considerations, replacing lines, the frequency of cleaning (every two weeks and every quarter), the difference between acid based and caustic based cleaning, and the three types of cleaning (flow, static, and mechanical).  We also provided links to some resources including a cleaning log and a cleaning tutorial.

In part 2, we will cover the Draft Beer System Cleaning Equipment and Procedures needed to clean your beer system.  All beer systems are unique and require a cleaning procedure exclusive to that system.  There is not a single solution for all systems.

All systems will require both hand cleaning and some form of mechanical cleaning.  This is different from the 3 Types of Draft Beer Cleaning Processes mentioned in Part 1.

  • Hand cleaning: Faucets, couplers, exterior surfaces, and parts.
  • Mechanical cleaning: Mechanical cleaning is used to clean the inside surfaces that can’t be reached by hand cleaning.

There are two types of cleaning systems:

  • Electric Pumps
  • Static or Pressure Pot Cleaning

Electric Recirculation Pumps

Electric cleaning is the preferred method of cleaning beer systems. Pumps recirculate chemicals at an increased flow rate.  This higher rate adds mechanical cleaning action (through turbulence) during the cleaning process. Recirculation cleaning is up to 80 times more efficient than Static Pressure Pot Cleaning. Recirculation cleaning is up to 80 times more efficient than Static Pressure Pot Cleaning.

Micromatic ebc300plus Recirculating Beer Line CLeaning Pump

MicroMatic Recirculating Pump Beer Line Cleaner. Shows In Hose and Out Hose attachment points along with the feeder hoses. Gage is to show line pressure during use.


Cleaning considerations

  • The cleaning flow should be reversed from normal serving flow during cleaning.
  • The flow rate during cleaning should be twice normal serving flow rate.
  • Line pressure during cleaning should never exceed 60 psi.
  • Minimum cleaning time is 15 minutes.
  • If flow rate during cleaning is less than 2 gallons per minute, increase the cleaning time.

Flow rate can be controlled by increasing or reducing the number of lines cleaned at one time.  Flow rate can be tested to verify the length of cleaning time.  It can also help determine if the correct number of lines are connected for cleaning.

[bctt tweet=”Recirculation cleaning is up to 80 times more efficient than Static Pressure Pot Cleaning.” via=”no”]

Static Pressure Pot Cleaning

Pressure Pot Static Cleaning is not the recommended cleaning option because it is a much less effective cleaning method.

  • Static cleaning does not allow the mechanical cleaning action flow cleaning provides.
  • The Static cleaning also requires longer cleaning time to make up for its reduced effectiveness.
  • Pressure pot static cleaning is recommended for short runs of less than 15 feet. Cleaning time is 20 minutes of chemical contact before rinsing.

MicroMatic 4-head stainless steel cleaning canister can

View of the MicroMatic 4 Port Pressurized Cleaning Canister for Beer Line Cleaning. This pressurized can is used in Static Pressure Pot Beer Line Cleaning. The canister is filled with cleaning solution, pressurized, and used to pack the beer line being cleaned before statically sitting for 20 minutes while the solution statically cleans the inside of the beer system.


Equipment Used In Recirculation Flow Cleaning

Here is some of the equipment required for flow cleaning.

  • Recirculation Pumps
  • Couplers
  • Cleaning Coupler Adapters
  • Jumper Lines
  • Fill Bucket (water bucket)
  • Chemical Bucket
  • Measurement Container (for flow)
    • Pitcher
    • Specific Volume Container

Check Before Starting Cleaning Starts

Cleaning procedures need to be undertaken and performed in the proper order.  Here are some items to check before cleaning starts.  Not all may be required for each system.

  1. Turn the gas supply off to beer pumps.
  2. Set flow valves to backflush if your beer pump has this setting. If not, check with your installer for a different cleaning method for your system.
  3. All lines that split to feed more than 1 tap must be separated and cleaned as individual lines.

Recirculating Flow Cleaning Procedure Steps:

  1. Connect Couplers without engaging the check valve ball override.
  2. Remove Faucets (Taps) from their shanks.
  3. Connect the second set of couplers when cleaning four lines for kegs in series.
    1. Connect couplers to gas lines
    2. Place series caps with check ball lifters on all other couplers
  4. Connect Out Hose from pump to first tap shank.
    • When Cleaning 4 Lines
    • Attach out hose from Recirculating Pump to the first shank
    • Connect other shank in the second loop with a jumper hose
    • Attach drain hose to the second faucet
    • Verify drain hose and out hose are not on the same loop
  1. Fill water bucket with warm water and place In Hose into water.
    1. Turn on recirculating pump and flush all beer from lines
    2. Discard flushed beer before continuing
  2. Turn Recirculating Pump back on and allow water to run into a clean chemical bucket.
    1. Measure flow rate using a Measurement Container
    2. Verify flow rate of 2 gallons per minute
      • If flow rate is too low when cleaning 4 lines
      • Clean each line individually
      • Clean for a longer time
  3. Fill bucket until the end of the In Hose is submerged.
  4. Add the correct chemical amount to achieve 2% — 3% cleaning solution based on age and condition of lines.
    1. Move the In Hose from fresh water bucket to chemical bucket
    2. This closes the loop and drains into the same bucket from which the cleaning solution is pulled
  5. Allow chemicals to recirculate for a minimum of 15 minutes.
    1. This is a perfect time to clean the external surfaces of the beer system including faucets
    2. Fill clean bucket with cold water for rinse cycle
  6. When cleaning time is up, move In Hose from the chemical bucket back to clean water bucket filled with cold water.
  7. Continue recirculating pumping until all chemical has been removed from the lines.
    1. Dump chemical bucket as needed
    2. Continue until all solid matter has been flushed from lines
  8. Shut off the recirculating pump and reassemble the system.

Check At End of Flow Cleaning

  1. Return all system components to original function.
  2. All lines that were split to clean individually need to be reassembled.
  3. Check to verify beer pump flow valves are not set to backflow.
  4. Reset FOB’s and diverters.
  5. Turn the gas supply on to beer pumps.


Equipment Used In Static Or Pressure Pot Cleaning

Pressure pot cleaning uses less equipment for the cleaning process than Flow Cleaning. It relies on the chemicals sitting statically in the lines for a set amount of time for cleaning. Therefore, pumps, measurement flow containers, and in and out buckets are not required.

  • Cleaning Canister
  • Series Caps

Static Cleaning Procedure Steps:

  1. Fill Cleaning Canister with clean water.
  2. Untap Keg and Tap the Cleaning Canister.
  3. Open the Faucet until all beer is flushed from the system and clean water is flowing.
  4. Untap Cleaning Canister.
  5. Fill the Cleaning Canister (or use a second canister) with the proper chemical amount to achieve a 2%–3% cleaning solution based on the age and cleanliness of the beer lines.
  6. Tap the chemical canister.
    1. When applying Co2 to a cleaning canister containing a caustic cleaning solution the C02 will weaken the solution.
    2. Do not shake the solution or agitate it more than necessary
    3. Let the solution stand no longer than necessary
    4. Do not use “Spitting Action” pressure pots which inject C02 into the outfeed solution
  7. Open the Faucet until water is flushed and the chemical solution is seen pouring from the faucet.
  8. Shut off the flow and untap the chemical canister.
  9. Shut off gas supply on pneumatic pump systems.
  10. Remove faucet and clean before replacing the faucet.
  11. Retap the chemical canister.
  12. Refill the lines with cleaning solution and let set for 20 minutes or more.
  13. Untap the chemical canister.
    1. Retap clean cold water canister or
    2. Clean chemical canister and fill with clean cold water before retapping it
  14. Open the faucet and flush cleaning chemical until clean water flows from the faucet and no solid matter is in the water.
  15. Untap the cleaning canister and retap the keg.
  16. Finish by pouring beer until it flows clear.

Check At End of Flow Cleaning

  1. Return all system components to original function.
  2. All lines that were split to clean individually need to be reassembled.
  3. Check to verify beer pump flow valves are not set to backflow.
  4. Reset FOB’s and diverters.
  5. Turn the gas supply on to beer pumps.


Glycol Chiller Cleaning

Many systems also have Glycol Chillers as additional equipment to cool beer trunk lines. The Glycol Chillers require scheduled cleaning in addition to the flow and static cleaning of beer lines themselves. Glycol Chillers are frequently seen in long draw beer systems and help maintain the beer temperature over long runs between keg and tap.

It is much more expensive to replace a glycol chiller than it is to maintain it properly. The chiller should be cleaned and maintained along with your beer line cleaning and maintenance program.

These checks should be performed along with normal beer line cleaning.

Glycol Chiller Cleaning Considerations:

  1. Keep the cover of the Glycol bath closed to prevent humidity from diluting its strength.
  2. Verify the temperature of the Glycol Bath is at the correct temperature.
  3. Check the pump motors for proper operation and fix or replace as needed.
  4. Check motors for smooth operation and normal temperatures with no overheating.
  5. Listen for any noises that may indicate wear or issues.
  6. Check pumps, connections, insulation, and overall condition of the Glycol Chiller system for any signs of problems.
  7. Inspect condenser for dirt or clogged air flow. Remove and clean grills, filters, condenser fins, and the unit as needed at least every quarter.
  8. Inspect trunk lines for ice buildup, leaking, and missing insulation when performing line cleaning or at least every six months.
  9. Check Glycol strength and viscosity of the glycol-water mix at lease every six months.
  10. Check Freezing point of Glycol-water mix every 18 months using a refractometer using manufacturers recommendation for glycol concentration. Replace mix as needed.

Lancer Siberian Elite Glycol Chiller

This freestanding Lancer Siberian Elite Glycol Chiller located inside a Walk-In Cooler. This chiller has a Glycol Bath below the black lid and a circulation pump visible above the unit.



We have seen in this Draft Beer System Cleaning Equipment & Procedures section that proper maintenance and cleaning can be performed with mechanical cleaning or static pressure pot cleaning techniques.

Mechanical action using recalculating pumps utilizing flow cleaning is the recommended option for most systems as it offers better cleaning results.

Static pressure pot cleaning is a less optimal cleaning method as it does not provide any mechanical cleaning advantage.  It should only be used for short runs of 15 feet or less.

We covered the equipment and steps to perform cleaning using both methods of cleaning.

Additionally, we covered checks to perform for maintaining a proper Glycol Chiller system.

All these cleaning steps and techniques will help you maintain a proper draft beer system for your establishment.  It will help you understand the process of what it takes to clean and maintain appropriate procedures for an optimal pour for your customers every time.

If you need additional assistance or have questions about what you have read, please feel free to contact us so that we can clarify or help answer your questions.



Download our Cleaning Log

Additional Information