Author Topic: Acid cleaning draft lines  (Read 2157 times)

Offline Robert

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Acid cleaning draft lines
« on: November 04, 2017, 11:48:21 AM »
I clean my draft line every week, or 2 weeks at most, with caustic (BLC). I recirculate for 15 minutes (fountain pump based rig I built) then flush clean water.  I recently saw something suggesting "acid cleaning" should be done every 3 months in addition. What product should I use and what's the procedure?  Or am I good?
Rob
Akron, Ohio

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Offline Kutaka

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 04:20:01 PM »
One way to tell if you are good is to use your BLC.  Recirculate normally.  Dump the line.  Then let BLC sit still in the line for 3 hours.  Then pour an ounce of the line into a clear glass or white container.  Is it clear?  If yes, then you are better than good.

If not, then expose your line to BLC for longer than 15 recycled minutes.  I don't recirculate and let the BLC sit in the lines for 2-3 days with two purges a day before it drains clear. 

The acid cleaning can be a longer than usual contact with StarSan, but this has not been needed after a few days with BLC.

Offline Robert

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2017, 07:01:30 PM »
One way to tell if you are good is to use your BLC.  Recirculate normally.  Dump the line.  Then let BLC sit still in the line for 3 hours.  Then pour an ounce of the line into a clear glass or white container.  Is it clear?  If yes, then you are better than good.

If not, then expose your line to BLC for longer than 15 recycled minutes.  I don't recirculate and let the BLC sit in the lines for 2-3 days with two purges a day before it drains clear. 

The acid cleaning can be a longer than usual contact with StarSan, but this has not been needed after a few days with BLC.

Thanks for the great info!  The method of using BLC to test the line is good to know.  But leaving BLC standing for days--well I'd rather not go for days with beer unavailable!  Today I did my regular routine--recirc BLC and flush-- then let StarSan sit for an hour or 2 with several draws along the way.  I just drew a beer, and the way it poured, smells and tastes (perfect) tells me what I need to know for now!  If you think there's any problem with that procedure I hope you'll  advise. Now I'm going to finish my beer.
Rob
Akron, Ohio

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Oft-forgotten corollary:  "Well, if it's broke, git after fixin' it!"

Offline JT

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2017, 06:21:37 PM »
I do an initial 30 minute recirc with hot PBW solution.  If it's been too long since the last cleaning (it usually has), I'll dump the PBW and do a second 30 minute recirculation with a fresh mixture.  Followed by two consecutive hot water flushes for (just a few minutes each) and Saniclean to finish for another 5 to 10.  Max time is hour and a half and those lines seem pretty darn clean. 

  "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."


Offline Kutaka

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2017, 06:37:42 PM »
Quote from: Robert  link=topic=30550.msg39895
[/quote

Thanks for the great info!  The method of using BLC to test the line is good to know.  But leaving BLC standing for days--well I'd rather not go for days with beer unavailable!  Today I did my regular routine--recirc BLC and flush-- then let StarSan sit for an hour or 2 with several draws along the way.  I just drew a beer, and the way it poured, smells and tastes (perfect) tells me what I need to know for now!  If you think there's any problem with that procedure I hope you'll  advise. Now I'm going to finish my beer.

In that case, you can skip the line cleaning completely for 2-4 batches if the most important thing to you is minimal downtime.  Or maybe buy one more line than you have kegs and clean the dirty line until it pours clear after at least an hour of BLC in the line.

The line you poured beer from today is likely a dirty line.  Does it really matter if you like how the beer tastes?  That is a question only you can answer.   

It takes 2-4 days of alkaline soaking and draining for a line to pour clear from a hoppy batch.  Good beer gets poured from dirty lines globally every day.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2017, 07:16:56 PM »
Be careful leaving caustic and alkaline chemicals in draft lines. It’s easy to forget about those sort of details or an unsuspecting buddy may pour himself a bloody stomach.

Offline Robert

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2017, 07:36:24 PM »
Quote from: Robert  link=topic=30550.msg39895
[/quote

Thanks for the great info!  The method of using BLC to test the line is good to know.  But leaving BLC standing for days--well I'd rather not go for days with beer unavailable!  Today I did my regular routine--recirc BLC and flush-- then let StarSan sit for an hour or 2 with several draws along the way.  I just drew a beer, and the way it poured, smells and tastes (perfect) tells me what I need to know for now!  If you think there's any problem with that procedure I hope you'll  advise. Now I'm going to finish my beer.

In that case, you can skip the line cleaning completely for 2-4 batches if the most important thing to you is minimal downtime.  Or maybe buy one more line than you have kegs and clean the dirty line until it pours clear after at least an hour of BLC in the line.

The line you poured beer from today is likely a dirty line.  Does it really matter if you like how the beer tastes?  That is a question only you can answer.   

It takes 2-4 days of alkaline soaking and draining for a line to pour clear from a hoppy batch.  Good beer gets poured from dirty lines globally every day.
Well, I know I won't go for batches, as I notice the difference if I go the two weeks, and adding the acid step showed me the drift in quality over time using only caustic.  And I'm happily stuck with my one-line keezer for reasons of space (so downtime is an issue but I won't trade off  quality -- I'm basically a Pilsner guy so it really shows).  I think your point on taste is the key and will be my best guide.  I'll gladly add all the tools I can to my kit (thanks forum members) and ramp up my cleaning routine as I see the need. 
Rob
Akron, Ohio

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Oft-forgotten corollary:  "Well, if it's broke, git after fixin' it!"

Offline JT

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2017, 08:24:51 PM »
Be careful leaving caustic and alkaline chemicals in draft lines. It’s easy to forget about those sort of details or an unsuspecting buddy may pour himself a bloody stomach.
+1

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/503894/Man-drinks-beer-containing-caustic-soda/amp

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« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 08:28:01 PM by JT »

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2017, 06:04:41 AM »
I've found that BLC can sometimes be insufficient for removing biologic growth in lines. That's when I pull out the warm lye solution and let that sit in the line for a few hours. It always removes biofilms.
Martin B
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Offline Robert

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2017, 06:40:35 AM »
I've found that BLC can sometimes be insufficient for removing biologic growth in lines. That's when I pull out the warm lye solution and let that sit in the line for a few hours. It always removes biofilms.

Specifics on said warm lye solution please? And is that followed with acid and water flushes?
Rob
Akron, Ohio

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Oft-forgotten corollary:  "Well, if it's broke, git after fixin' it!"

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2017, 07:53:46 AM »
I'm not precise with a lye concentration. As long as the solution feels slippery between my fingers when I touch it (that's a sign that the lye is dissolving your skin and creating soap from the oils in your skin...do this quickly and wash off immediately!!), that seems to be sufficient for line cleaning.

Of course, some water flushing is needed after the treatment. Looking through the line when it has water in it also helps you see if there are still films in the line.
Martin B
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2017, 07:57:31 AM »
Five Star Liquid Line Cleaner is lye. Being a liquid makes it dissolve more easily than crystals. Always add lye to water and never the other way around.

Offline Kutaka

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2017, 08:37:14 AM »
Be careful leaving caustic and alkaline chemicals in draft lines. It’s easy to forget about those sort of details or an unsuspecting buddy may pour himself a bloody stomach.

It's pretty hard to pour a pint full of caustic when the line isn't attached to a keg.  I use a hand pump line cleaner and remove the line from the keezer. 

Offline Stevie

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Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2017, 09:08:37 AM »
Be careful leaving caustic and alkaline chemicals in draft lines. It’s easy to forget about those sort of details or an unsuspecting buddy may pour himself a bloody stomach.

It's pretty hard to pour a pint full of caustic when the line isn't attached to a keg.  I use a hand pump line cleaner and remove the line from the keezer.
Somebody could connect a keg or maybe you forget and connect a keg. Just pointing out that extra care needs to be taken if leaving dangerous chemicals in the lines for an extended period of time.

Also, it wouldn’t take much to cause some serious internal damage.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 10:01:58 AM by Stevie »

Offline stpug

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Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2017, 09:28:51 AM »
I'm with Stevie on this "caustic" conversation - utmost care needs to be utilized with strong alkalizers.  They are not nearly as forgiving as the acids (and concentrations) we typically use in beer brewing, and additional rinsing is required when using them on both equipment and, especially, skin.