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Thread: Keg Cleaning Procedure Thoughts...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
    Posts
    1,090

    Keg Cleaning Procedure Thoughts...

    Alright all you ProBrewer.com'ers. What chemicals/procedures are you using to ensure your Sanke, straight-sided kegs are sanitized? Please be as specific as possible.
    Thanks for your input and if you're in Polson, Montana, come by the brewery and I'll buy you a beer!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    194
    Thanks for the beer invite.

    I curently use a three station sink set up. The first and third sinks have pumps attached. The sinks are modified with a bracket to allow the keg to be inverted over the sink. The pump is hooked to the beer or liquid side of a std sankey tap with no check valves. This way the cleaning liquid is pumped up the inverted sankey keg stem through the center of the tap sprays the keg base and runs down and out the CO2 side of the tap. The cleaning solution then falls back into the sink and is repumped back up into keg. A nice CIP loop.

    My cleaning procedure is as follows:

    1. Blow off keg pressure and empty any remaining beer from keg.

    2. Inverted Hot 160F water rinse of the keg for 2 minutes. I try and do this in advance when ever dirty kegs show up minimize the length of time old beer is in the keg. The rinse water runs down and out the drain. I just use a flexible hose conected to the sankey tap connected to my normal hot water hose in the brewery.

    3. Next the keg is inverted and Hot Caustic washed in the sink for 5 minuted. The caustic is pumped up the keg stem, srays around the base and runs down the insides of the keg. If I find a really nasty keg I may actually fill it with hot caustic and let it soak for a few minutes. I have an immersion heater in the caustic sink well to keep the caustic at 150F-160F. I use approx 2 oz caustic per gal of water. The set up I use has a little valve at the tap stem so that after I am done with caustic rinse it can be opened to allow all the caustic to flow out of the keg stem back into the sink, it also prevents a vacuum from occuring in the keg with would cause slow draining of keg.

    4. Next the Keg is again Hot rinsed for 2 minutes and allowed to cool.

    5. The third sink compartment is used to blend peroxyacetic acid sanitizer. The sink hold 15.5 gal so I typically mix 6 oz. peroxyacetic with 15.5 gal cold water. I pump the sanitizer into the upright keg on the floor and let it sit for 10 minutes. I then use CO2 to push the sanitizer out of the the sanitized keg into the next clean keg. I resuse the sanitizer for 5-6 kegs. The leaves a sanitized pressurized keg ready for refill.

    Hope this helps,

    Steve

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    17

    You Really want to know?

    This is a fun one. Since we don't have room for a three sink setup or anything like that, we do it the good old fashioned way. First you take two kegs and put them where ever you have room. That is your keg stand. The you make this big setup off your manifold or a pump. Then you rinse the keg with that setup and push the water through with CO2. Lots of valves are involved here. Once you have a rinsed keg, you fill that bastard up halfway with caustic. Let it sit for a while, then flip it over to let the top soak. The push the caustic with air off a compressor to another rinsed keg and do the same. The washed kegs are rinsed again and hit with periacetic acid, then pressured up with CO2. I can wash about 25 kegs an hour doing this, you run all three steps are once, ie rinse, move to caustic and while the caustic is moving then rinse and sanitize the one that you just washed. We also alternate caustic and acid every week (We wash kegs about once a week) so there is no stone buildup. All our kegs look really good, I pull spears every so often and check. I want a keg washer for christmas. If anyone wants details on this, email me.

    Jazz
    Great Basin Brewing Co.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    351
    I've cleaned a couple of thousand kegs with a three-hole-sink setup almost exactly like Steve's, and it worked great. We did things a little differently, though, with the initial rinse being cold water rather than hot, and the third stage being another cold rinse followed by CO2 pressurizing (which helped blow out the water). We figured the hot caustic killed most if not all of the nasties, and then we sanitized the cleaned kegs in a separate procedure on kegging day, replacing the hot caustic in the middle sink with cold sanitizer (we just had the one pump for these jobs!).

    Cheers, Tim

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Cambridge, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    192
    Hi Glacier, a little perspective for a moment.
    Assuming a keg has a normal load of organic, bacterial crap in it (that means it has sat baking beside the kitchen stoves after having been filled and emptied of wheat beer), and is your standard straight wall keg, you typically follow a regimen that is remarkably short (all things considered).

    A small semi-automated 3 head kegline or a frame machine chucking out 40 kegs/hour normally follows something like this:
    De-pressurization
    Purge until empty
    Cold water wash/rinse
    Detergent wash
    Water Rinse
    Sterilization
    Pressure check and fill

    Variations include using reclaimed water as a prewash, pulse bursts of wash solution, some have sterilization stations and some brewers alternate cleaning solutions to beat back the beer stone.

    That means that each keg is getting about 90 seconds worth of attention from the machine and each cycle is measured in seconds. If you exclude the fill cycle, then you can extend cycles to the point of ineffectiveness and inefficiency. If you use a sterilant as opposed to steam, then you have to adjust slightly again. Assumming pump pressures, chemical concentrations and temperatures are in spec., all forms of machinery are essentially doing the same thing.

    Your question asked both chemicals and procedures and I am a fan of of tailored acid solutions for washing kegs (Diversey's kegbrite is an example). The temperature requirements are lower than caustic and my experience is that it is a lot less aggressive on the equipment. Periodic examination of kegs were always good. I always used the spec'd concentration.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    194
    Just a note for Jazz,

    I would not recommend using the Caustic Clean with CO2 present in any great qty in the keg. Caustic will be neutralized and rendered ineffedtive when in contact with CO2. I can't remember the reaction off hand. I'm think the hydroxide OH in the caustic bonds with one of the oxygens in CO2 to produce water and something else, check ith your chem supplier.

    Steve

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    17

    I knew the chem minor would come in handy

    Might I point out one thing to you?

    Originally posted by Valleybrew
    1. Blow off keg pressure and empty any remaining beer from keg.

    2. Inverted Hot 160F water rinse of the keg for 2 minutes. I try and do this in advance when ever dirty kegs show up minimize the length of time old beer is in the keg. The rinse water runs down and out the drain. I just use a flexible hose conected to the sankey tap connected to my normal hot water hose in the brewery.

    3. Next the keg is inverted and Hot Caustic washed in the sink for 5 minutes...
    You never purge the keg of CO2, figuring you are runnning kegs under CO2. Had any problems? The hot water rinse just causes whatever atmosphere is in the keg to expand. The caustic is then ran under CO2. And CO2 forms carbonic acid (H2CO3) in water when it becomes dissolved. Neither you or I expose the caustic to enough carbonic acid, ie CO2 dissolved in water, to really cause any problems. Its just a quick jet of CO2 to get my rinse water out. Actually moving caustic around involves this noisy old air compressor. I hate washing kegs.

    Jazz

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Tadcaster, Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    1,075
    The main problem with using caustic is if you are using aluminium kegs. They are all meant to be lined, but how long the lining lasts, depends on the physical treatment of them to a large extent. Caustic reacts with aluminium very rapidly, and will destroy them completely. I realise you are probably using stainless, but just in case....

    The main problem with caustic in stainless kegs will be the reaction of non sequestered caustic with the mineral salts in the beer and rinse water. Keg detergents need reasonably high amounts of sequesterents to keep the mineral salts in solution and suspension. Beer stone, which can harbour infection adn flake off to cause hazes can build up pretty quickly if you are not careful. A reputable detergent supplier should be able to advise, especially if in a hard water area.

    Cheers
    dick

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
    Posts
    1,090
    GREAT feedback from ALL! Thank you!
    Okay, how about this question?
    WHAT SIZE PUMP(S) DOES YOUR KEGWASHER USE?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Nor Cal
    Posts
    8
    Originally posted by Valleybrew
    Just a note for Jazz,

    I would not recommend using the Caustic Clean with CO2 present in any great qty in the keg. Caustic will be neutralized and rendered ineffedtive when in contact with CO2. I can't remember the reaction off hand. I'm think the hydroxide OH in the caustic bonds with one of the oxygens in CO2 to produce water and something else, check ith your chem supplier.

    Steve
    Steve's chemical supplier here!

    The sodium hydroxide is converted to sodium carbonate.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    194
    I am using a 1/12 HP 3500 RPM pump. It's a 110 Volt unit made by Little Giant.

    Steve

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