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Comment on proposed keg cleaning procedure

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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!


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.

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.

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.

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). 


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