Thursday, November 29, 2012

Keg Cleaning

Fact: Kegs save time over bottling.
Fact: You still have to clean kegs.

I remember listening to a podcast about sour ales with Jamil Zainachef and he said something to the effect of, "I clean my kegs every time. I take them apart, clean them, and replace the seals." This led me to ask myself? do I care enough to do that? "Yes" I answered, "at least once." So bought a set of new seals for less than five dollars and got to work on an emptied keg.

(read more about keg cleaning after the break.)

First I opened the keg. The double IPA inside had long since expired. This was just a bitter beer now. The aromatics and flavors that had once accompanied and exceeded the bitterness were now all but gone. So I dumped it. Another possible alternative would have been to force carbonate some bottles, but this wasn't a beer I wanted to save.

Next I rinsed the keg to get all of the large particles out.

With all of the obvious large particles out I gave the surfaces of the keg a good brush down. I remove the beer-out post and give the dip tube a scrub. They make special brushes to get inside of the keg offering the very best in scrubbing power.

With the dip tube cleaned, I replace it in the keg and re-attach the post.

PBW your new friend:
PBW is an industrial cleaner for kegs and keg parts. It works very well. There are directions on the side of the container to follow depending on your soil level.

After I've followed the instructions for PBW I like to drain this through my taps to clean the lines and the hardware.

Then it's time for another rinse.

Then star-san for an hour or so, run through the hardware again.

Then it's ready to be emptied and refilled.

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