Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: wingnut on November 19, 2010, 08:33:48 PM

Title: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: wingnut on November 19, 2010, 08:33:48 PM
I am relatively new to kegging, and I have read up on it a bit… but I had the following brain storm and I am looking for comments/experience, on if my thoughts are critically flawed or not.

Basically, I went to kegging as a means to reduce oxidation in my beers, and a more speedy packaging day is a nice benefit too!

My thought was that once I kick a keg, it is full of CO2 and a bit of beer residue.  What if I filled a keg with StarSan and pushed that into the sealed keg… essentially dispense the StarSan into the sealed keg… and shake the Star San around… invert the keg to make sure the top of the keg gets a good dose as well… basically rinse the keg with StarSan, and keep the keg full of CO2.  That way when I am ready to fill the keg again with a fresh batch, the keg will already have CO2 in it and be sanitized.

Obviously, the keg will need to be completely dis-assembled every three or four batches to keep the poppet and such extra good… but is a complete dis-assembly necessary after EVERY beer?

I look forward to learning from everyone’s wisdom!

Thanks!
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: theDarkSide on November 19, 2010, 08:53:39 PM
First, I'm not sure how affective a cleaner Star San is.  I know on the Brew Strong episode with Five Star they said it would be affective in cleaning inorganic compounds but organic stuff should be cleaned with an alkaline solution, like PBW.  Also, when I kick a keg, I usually have more than just a bit of residual beer in the bottom.  I wouldn't feel like I could get all that stuff up the diptube.

Secondly, it seems like a waste of CO2 to push 5 gallons of sanitizer in then push 5 gallons out the other side when it's just as easy to open the top, dump in your cleaner, and then dump it out.  I do push a little sanitizer out to kill the bugs in the line and diptube but not 5 gallons worth.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: bluesman on November 19, 2010, 09:02:56 PM
My cleaning/filling procedure is as follows.

When a keg kicks, I remove the keg from the kegerator and rinse the keg with water to remove any sediment. The keg is then filled with warm PBW solution and soaked overnight. The PBW solution is then removed and the keg is rinsed again and filled with about a quart of starsan solution and pumped through the dip tube leaving some starsan solution in the keg for storage. The keg is then pressurized to 30psi and stored until the next use.

When ready to keg the pressure is released and the starsan solution is drained. The keg is then filled with a new batch of beer.

Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: tom on November 19, 2010, 09:49:21 PM
I would recommend a cleaning cycle.

I rinse out the keg with hot tap water. Then soak in hot PBW for at least 30 minutes. Either dump it out or pump into another corny. Rinse with hot tap water and inspect the inside.

When the keg is needed, fill with warm StarSan for at least 5 minutes and then push into another corny with CO2. I usually have several cornies ready to be sanitized.

This procedure leaves the corny clean, sanitized, and full of pressurized CO2.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: narcout on November 19, 2010, 11:12:51 PM
All you really need to do is rinse a few times with hot water, let dry, and store. Before the next use, rinse with hot water again, sanitize, and purge with CO2. I've never used PBW or oxyclean on any of my serving kegs (fermenting kegs are a different story).

I do think it is a good idea to break kegs down completely after each use though (remove posts, poppets, and dip tubes - rinse them all thoroughly with hot water and utilize a dip tube brush if necessary). 
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: tubercle on November 19, 2010, 11:18:19 PM
Once a keg kicks if I have a batch ready I just take off the lid, fill, put the lid on, pressurize & purge, set the pressure.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: oscarvan on November 20, 2010, 12:40:25 AM
THAT makes sense....... ;D
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: euge on November 20, 2010, 03:15:56 AM
Breaking a keg down is so easy I do it every time.

I like the idea of saving time by just rinsing with hot water. It's ok if you're going to keep the refilled keg at refrigerator temps. Done it many times. However, open a keg up and remove the dip tube. Look down it. See all the gunk built up in there? I swab my dip tubes out like a rifle barrel every time. Usually my kegs sit at room temps until they go into the kegerator and might develop an infection if the kegs aren't sanitized.

First the kegs get rinsed. Then I add a Tbs of oxyclean and about a quart of hot water. Shake the crap out of the keg. Drain and rinse. Particulate matter, sludge and gunk still there? Repeat. Otherwise break down and rinse well. Assemble and sanitize if using right away. Regardless, I always sanitize with starsan before racking.

If you want to add co2 to avoid oxidation just connect and purge the keg before filling.

Basically the wisdom part is why risk the very beer you worked so hard to produce by slacking at the very end?



Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: lonnie mac on November 20, 2010, 03:52:19 AM
Most of my kegs are well over 12 years old. I rarely if ever disassemble them. Some of them have never been disassembled to this day. I think I have posted my cleaning regiment here somewhere here before. There is not a single spot inside your keg that beer can touch, and sanitizer wont...

http://www.youtube.com/colplink#p/u/10/OaFVkNP_WAA (http://www.youtube.com/colplink#p/u/10/OaFVkNP_WAA)
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: bluesman on November 20, 2010, 04:04:39 AM
Basically the wisdom part is why risk the very beer you worked so hard to produce by slacking at the very end?

Words to brew by Euge.  :)

Brewing is a discipline of sorts. As a homebrewer, one must find that discipline through experience.
I find that some things you just can't live without and the cleanliness and sanitation of my kegs are important.

Clean and sanitized kegs are a key requirement for the health and longevity of the beer we brew.
Take a few minutes of time now to ensure the good health of the brews of our labors.  ;)
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: bluesman on November 20, 2010, 04:12:47 AM
Most of my kegs are well over 12 years old. I rarely if ever disassemble them. Some of them have never been disassembled to this day. I think I have posted my cleaning regiment here somewhere here before. There is not a single spot inside your keg that beer can touch, and sanitizer wont...

http://www.youtube.com/colplink#p/u/10/OaFVkNP_WAA (http://www.youtube.com/colplink#p/u/10/OaFVkNP_WAA)


Very sound process Lonnie.  8)

Very nice video too.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: lonnie mac on November 20, 2010, 04:19:22 AM
Well I certainly can't never poo-poo ANY great keg cleaning regiment. Nothing wrong whatsoever with taking a keg apart as it is so easy to do! This is just what I do.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: bluesman on November 20, 2010, 04:25:24 AM
Well I certainly can't never poo-poo ANY great keg cleaning regiment. Nothing wrong whatsoever with taking a keg apart as it is so easy to do! This is just what I do.

As you have seen from my post, we are following a very similiar procedure.
IMO...Taking a little extra time to clean and sanitize your keg is worth it in the big scheme of things.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: HydraulicSammich on November 20, 2010, 05:22:27 AM
What do you gentleman think about leaving a little pressurized starsan in a keg that isn't in use?  What with the stainless and all.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: euge on November 20, 2010, 05:28:07 AM
Nice video. I might use that sometime for a quickie but without the PBW soak.

What do you gentleman think about leaving a little pressurized starsan in a keg that isn't in use?  What with the stainless and all.


Isn't it iodophor that shouldn't be in contact w/stainless for a long time? I'm sure a couple days is fine. I.O. Dophor  ;D I'm curious too about the starsan.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: tom on November 20, 2010, 04:18:41 PM
Chlorine can damage stainless, don't know about iodine or StarSan.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: tumarkin on November 20, 2010, 04:29:51 PM
I really like Lonnie Mac's cleaning procedure. Homebrewers are an inventive lot and this is great.

Not being a metallurgist, I don't know if it's safe to store Star San in a stainless keg. I have done it without any apparent pin holes, leaks or problems..... but maybe I should add "yet". 

But unless you're storing the Star San for future use, there's no real reason to leave any significan quantity of it in the keg. If you fill the keg with Star San, or partially fill it & shake it around, it is just as effective to blow the solution out of the keg & leaving it empty and under pressure - especially if it's been first cleaned with PBW before the Star San. The Star San would dry, leaving perhaps a minimal amount of liquid and the keg would be fully sanitized.  Very unlikely that anything would grow to the point of being a danger to the beer that would be next put into the keg.

Disassembly & cleaning of dip tubes is another issue - should be done regularly in my opinion, but not necessarily every time. More of an issue when dry hopping in the keg.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on November 20, 2010, 06:27:04 PM
All you really need to do is rinse a few times with hot water, let dry, and store. Before the next use, rinse with hot water again, sanitize, and purge with CO2. I've never used PBW or oxyclean on any of my serving kegs (fermenting kegs are a different story).

I do think it is a good idea to break kegs down completely after each use though (remove posts, poppets, and dip tubes - rinse them all thoroughly with hot water and utilize a dip tube brush if necessary). 

+1

This is pretty much my process too. Works very well -- minimal work and it does the job.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: wingnut on November 21, 2010, 02:42:34 PM
Thanks everyone one for their comments!

I was somewhat inspired by Lonnie's technique for cleaning kegs, as his procedure is not too different from what I was thinking of doing.  The difference being that I was going to use CO2 instead of city water, and I was going to only partially fill the keg and shake it around. 

Essentially, I agree with most people's comments that taking apart a keg is not a big deal... heck I have been doing bottles for the past 35 batches or so... so a little keg tear down is really no big deal!  The real goal was to keep the keg purged with CO2 and do so "as efficiently as possible". 

However, most of what I am hearing from reading through the comments is that there is simply too much "gunk" left after a keg kicks, and the only really good way to be sure it is out of the keg, is to open it up and look.  Yeah, I may save some CO2 by just putting some Star San or PBW in and shakeing a few times, and then pumping it out, but the reward is not all that significant compared to the risk of leaving some gunk behind.

Cheers!
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: tom on November 21, 2010, 04:09:50 PM
And keep the keg parts together with each keg. I put the parts in a hop bag and hang it in the keg while it's full of PBW.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: bluesman on November 22, 2010, 12:00:24 AM
And keep the keg parts together with each keg. I put the parts in a hop bag and hang it in the keg while it's full of PBW.

+1

I also soak the lid in the pbw. This is sound advice.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: wingnut on November 22, 2010, 12:39:48 AM
And keep the keg parts together with each keg. I put the parts in a hop bag and hang it in the keg while it's full of PBW.

Indeed, I learned that one the hard way.  When I bought my 8 used kegs, I later found that one was not a "true" coney keg, and the poppets were slightly different.  Fortunatly, I kept all the old poppets and was able to diagnose the reason one of the kegs would not seal at the posts!  (of course I already had 5 gallons of beer in it when I found out!)

I guess for now, I will keep up with the same procedure I used when I got all 8 kegs.  What I did was something similar to what Lonnie is doing.  I took a spare 1/4 hp "sump pump" I had around the house... filled up a sink  and keg with PBW, and connected the sump to the gas and liquid posts.  Then I turned on the sump and let it pump hot PBW thorugh the tanks for a half hour a piece.  It worked great since I had 8 kegs to do and I just swapped each one every half hour or so during the day.  Then I re-built each one with new poppits and gaskets.

It seems a bit overkill for just one keg at a time, so I will probably rinse each one as it dies, and then when I get two or three..do the same thing I did when I got them.

Knowing the most critical things to makeing beer is sanitation, sanitation, sanitation, sanitation, good fermentation, and avoid oxidation... my hope to be able to be a bit more lazy may not be advisable!



Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: octess on November 22, 2010, 02:28:20 AM
Most of my kegs are well over 12 years old. I rarely if ever disassemble them. Some of them have never been disassembled to this day. I think I have posted my cleaning regiment here somewhere here before. There is not a single spot inside your keg that beer can touch, and sanitizer wont...

http://www.youtube.com/colplink#p/u/10/OaFVkNP_WAA (http://www.youtube.com/colplink#p/u/10/OaFVkNP_WAA)


very nice indeed! and makes a lot of sense too.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: micsager on December 01, 2010, 06:44:14 PM
I made the keg cleaner that was on the AHA page a few months back.  Basically a pond pump in a sink full of PBW water, with a T to split the hose into both the out and in on the corny.  The corny fills with the PBW water, and overflows into the sink.  I just leave for an hour.  But, I only do that every three or four fills.  Other than that, I rince immidiately, purge both poopets, and store until next use.  Then I sanitize and fill.
Title: Re: Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure
Post by: cheba420 on December 04, 2010, 05:00:43 PM
Up until now, my procedure was to rinse with hot water, fill with cleaning solution (pbw or oxyclean), pressurize to run solution through the diptube, hose and faucet. Wait. Drain. Rinse. Fill with sanitizer, pressurize to run a little sanitizer through the system. Drain. Dry. Store. Sanitize again before filling. Every 2-3 times, I pull the whole think apart to clean the dip tube and the valves. This process has always served me well, however....

I will now be on the Lonnie Mac program!