Author Topic: Cleaning OLD Kegs  (Read 513 times)

Offline lbrennan41

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Cleaning OLD Kegs
« on: February 02, 2018, 10:07:19 PM »
I just built a kegerator and am ready to start kegging my homebrew.  I have two kegs that while they look clean, have sat empty for at least 12 years.  They were previously used for homebrew but the guy who gave them to me hadn't brewed in a long time when he gave them up.  They have been sitting in my garage for the last five years while I tried to get my stuff together and get around to kegging vs bottling.

My question: does anyone have suggestions on how to clean these kegs that have sat for so long?  They look clean with a little bit of film/crust that doesn't look alarming.  Are there any cleaning products that you all can recommend?  I have a giant tub of oxyclean that I use for most of my home brewery cleaning.  Any methods of cleaning you would recommend?

Any help is appreciated.  I don't want my kegging experience to start off on the wrong foot.

Thanks all!

Offline kramerog

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Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2018, 10:58:12 PM »
Break down the keg and soak everything in oxyclean solution overnight.  The various o-rings if infected can't be effectively cleaned and sanitized so best to replace them besides they may not seal anyway.    Use a brush to clean the inside of the tubes, spray rinse the inside of the keg.  Sanitize all the little parts, reassemble and fill keg with sanitizer.  Pressurize.   

Offline Robert

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Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2018, 11:19:15 PM »
^^^^
Agree, especially replace all O rings.  I do this whenever I get a new used keg, and you'll want to do so once in a while in the future.

On general keg cleaning:  I break them down every time I clean them.  I've learned from long experience it's way easier to give a wrench a couple of twists than to come up with some elaborate CIP method. Fill the keg with cleaning solution,  drop the liquid dip tube in there, all the little pieces and the lid into a little pail of cleaner. Come back and rinse and reassemble whenever you get around to it.
Rob
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Offline narcout

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Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2018, 11:26:23 PM »
Are there any cleaning products that you all can recommend?

This stuff is pretty fantastic.  I like it better than PBW or oxyclean.

https://www.morebeer.com/products/craft-meister-alkaline-brewery-wash.html

Also, Barkeeper's Friend with a non-scratch (blue) scrub pad is great for cleaning the outside of old kegs and making them nice and shiny again.
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Offline Bob357

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Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2018, 11:26:56 PM »
I agree mostly with kramerog. He has all the right steps listed. While Oxyclean (be sure to use Oxyclean Free) works well for routine cleaning, it doesn't have the strength of PBW. I would do a hot soak with PBW with the keg inverted and then right side up for at least 4 hours each. If you doubt the power of PBW vs. Oxyclean, try to remove scorched material from the bottom of your BK with a long  soak with each product.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2018, 11:38:32 PM »
Are there any cleaning products that you all can recommend?

This stuff is pretty fantastic.  I like it better than PBW or oxyclean.

https://www.morebeer.com/products/craft-meister-alkaline-brewery-wash.html

Also, Barkeeper's Friend with a non-scratch (blue) scrub pad is great for cleaning the outside of old kegs and making them nice and shiny again.
Narcout, is this stuff really different from PBW?  A quick look at the msds looks very similar, just National Chemicals version (both 30% sodium metasilicate.)  If it's really better performing, I might try it. I'm just about ready to resupply on PBW.
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Offline narcout

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Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2018, 12:29:36 AM »
Narcout, is this stuff really different from PBW?  A quick look at the msds looks very similar, just National Chemicals version (both 30% sodium metasilicate.)  If it's really better performing, I might try it. I'm just about ready to resupply on PBW.

They're probably pretty similar, but the nice thing about the alkaline wash is that it also works well in cold water. 

To be fair, I never tried using PBW in cold water since the label indicates it should be used at temperatures between 100° and 160°.

Either way it's a great cleaner.  I doubt you will be disappointed.  That said, I do not like the Craft Meister cleaning tablets and wouldn't buy them again (in my experience, they do not dissolve very well).
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Offline mainebrewer

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Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2018, 01:19:11 AM »
Break down the keg and soak everything in oxyclean solution overnight.  The various o-rings if infected can't be effectively cleaned and sanitized so best to replace them besides they may not seal anyway.    Use a brush to clean the inside of the tubes, spray rinse the inside of the keg.  Sanitize all the little parts, reassemble and fill keg with sanitizer.  Pressurize.
Don't mix the parts from the two kegs. All keg parts may not be universal.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2018, 02:11:56 AM »
Narcout, is this stuff really different from PBW?  A quick look at the msds looks very similar, just National Chemicals version (both 30% sodium metasilicate.)  If it's really better performing, I might try it. I'm just about ready to resupply on PBW.

They're probably pretty similar, but the nice thing about the alkaline wash is that it also works well in cold water. 

To be fair, I never tried using PBW in cold water since the label indicates it should be used at temperatures between 100° and 160°.

Either way it's a great cleaner.  I doubt you will be disappointed.  That said, I do not like the Craft Meister cleaning tablets and wouldn't buy them again (in my experience, they do not dissolve very well).
Thanks.  I use PBW because that's what LHBS has.  When I think of enough items to get to free shipping with MoreBeer I'll try this stuff.
Rob
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2018, 02:21:45 AM »
Narcout, is this stuff really different from PBW?  A quick look at the msds looks very similar, just National Chemicals version (both 30% sodium metasilicate.)  If it's really better performing, I might try it. I'm just about ready to resupply on PBW.

They're probably pretty similar, but the nice thing about the alkaline wash is that it also works well in cold water. 

To be fair, I never tried using PBW in cold water since the label indicates it should be used at temperatures between 100° and 160°.

Either way it's a great cleaner.  I doubt you will be disappointed.  That said, I do not like the Craft Meister cleaning tablets and wouldn't buy them again (in my experience, they do not dissolve very well).
Thanks.  I use PBW because that's what LHBS has.  When I think of enough items to get to free shipping with MoreBeer I'll try this stuff.

The ABW works far better than PBW in hard water, doesn't leave those nasty water spots that are almost impossible to get rid of.

I have 4 old kegs that I still need to clean. Plan was to replace all seals, and use BKF on all of the stainless, inside and out. It'll clean and passivate the steel.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2018, 02:35:57 AM »
Break down the keg and soak everything in oxyclean solution overnight.  The various o-rings if infected can't be effectively cleaned and sanitized so best to replace them besides they may not seal anyway.    Use a brush to clean the inside of the tubes, spray rinse the inside of the keg.  Sanitize all the little parts, reassemble and fill keg with sanitizer.  Pressurize.
Don't mix the parts from the two kegs. All keg parts may not be universal.
Parts TEND to be universal.  The posts, for instance may take a different size wrench on the outside (most but not all are 7/8") but the thread will match.  Simplify your life; confirm that the parts actually are interchangeable, then if so toss 'em in the cleaner together and don't worry.

EDIT  I just realized where this started: the OP just built a kegerator!   Let's take a moment to say, Congrats! that's the hard part accomplished!  Many years of enjoyment to you.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2018, 02:40:50 AM by Robert »
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2018, 01:30:21 PM »
^^^^
Agree, especially replace all O rings.  I do this whenever I get a new used keg, and you'll want to do so once in a while in the future.

On general keg cleaning:  I break them down every time I clean them.  I've learned from long experience it's way easier to give a wrench a couple of twists than to come up with some elaborate CIP method. Fill the keg with cleaning solution,  drop the liquid dip tube in there, all the little pieces and the lid into a little pail of cleaner. Come back and rinse and reassemble whenever you get around to it.

I clean my kegs the same general way.  Sightly different method of keeping all the parts with the same keg.
I mix the PBW in the keg I'm cleaning and just drop the parts into the keg to soak.  When I start the next keg (I normally clean 4+ kegs at a time) I rack the PBW solution out of the first keg into the second.  Then I, literally, rinse and repeat until all kegs are clean.

Easy-peasy.

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Offline lbrennan41

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Re: Cleaning OLD Kegs
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2018, 06:02:29 PM »
Thanks everybody for your input. I'm brewing this week so that gives me a couple weeks to get one of the recommended cleaners and get the kegs all cleaned up.

I appreciate it.