Brewery Policies

Brewery Policies on Line Cleaning

Brewers know the importance of proper line cleaning and the impact it has on their products, reputation, and sales.

A review of the individual brewery policies reveals that there is a consensus that it is important to clean a draft system at a minimum of once every two weeks. Long draw beer systems in excess of 25 feet in length, and accounts serving large volumes of draft beer should be cleaned more frequently. Once a week is the recommended frequency for cleaning lines in these high volume and long-draw accounts.

No matter how much care and attention the brewer put into it, the beer in your glass is only as good as the draft system it’s poured through at a restaurant or bar. Dirty beer lines or taps can quickly turn the flavor from fresh to foul. Everybody who puts money down for a good beer deserves what they’re expecting,

A brewer may take up to several months to brew, finish, and package a keg of beer. The quality and flavor of that beer can be ruined in the few seconds it takes for a beer to travel from a keg to the faucet in a draft system that has not been properly maintained.

The enemies of draft beer may include the following:

  • Yeast - May result from an extremely small amount left from the brewing process, or it may be wild yeast which floats in the air. It is usually found as a surface growth on components of a beer system that is exposed to the air such as faucets, keg couplers, and drains and can be recognized by its white or grey color.

  • Mold – is usually introduced into a beer system through exposure to the air. It also is usually found as surface growth on components of a beer system that are exposed to air such as the faucets, keg couplers, and drains and is usually brown or black in color.

  • Beer stone – The raw materials, grains and water, that are used in the brewing process contain calcium. Oxalic acids or salts are present in hops and may be created during the process of changing barley into malt. The combination of these ingredients and the fact that beer is dispensed at cold temperatures may result in Calcium Oxalate deposits known as beer stone. Beer stone will build up and eventually flake off on the inside of the beer tubing if the system is not properly maintained. High amounts of beer stone may also have a negative effect on taste. These flakes are often grey or brown in color.

  • Bacteria – Bacteria found in beer are not significantly hazard to human health; however, its effect is noticeable in the appearance, aroma, and taste of beer. The presence of bacteria results in an “off taste” and cloudy appearance that makes beer unappetizing. A beer that tastes sour, vinegar-like, or smells like rotten eggs may indicate a beer system is contaminated with beer spoiling bacteria.

Failing to clean and maintain a beer system on a regular basis will result in the ability to pour a “brewery fresh” beer.

Line Cleaning Chemicals -

An effective line-cleaning chemical must be used when cleaning lines to attack the enemies of beer that were previously mentioned. Line cleaners will be either caustic with a high PH, or acidic with a low PH depending on the line conditions and the type of system being cleaned.

Alkaline (Caustic) cleaners attack and dissolve proteins, carbohydrates, hop resins and bio-films. They also are very effective in killing mold, bacteria, and yeast.

Acid line cleaners dissolve minerals that are commonly referred to as beer stone.

Both caustic and acid line cleaners can be very dangerous if not handled and used properly.

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Tapman Services, LLC

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Phone. 206-432-7982

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