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Thread: keg stem cleaning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Mammoth Lakes, CA

    keg stem cleaning

    Will anyone share their keg stem cleaning procedures? Such as,

    How often do you pull your stems?
    What is the fastest way to get the (snap) ring off a sanke keg?
    What type of acid is best to scrub the beer stone off?
    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    spear cleaning

    If the kegs are used, Id pull them all. Micromatic has the tool to remove the ring. They say you should replace them everytime you remove them. I think its BS. I use a phosphoric/ nitric blend in my keg washer instead of caustic, so I dont worry about beer stone. Id pull the spears if the keg leaks or the beer got an infection, but normally I follow the mantra.....if the keg aint broke, dont fix it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Williamsburg, Va
    St. Pats sells a Sanke spear removal tool also for around $75. It comes with 4 little knives to aid in removal but be careful. I accidentally jammed one under my fingernail once. That felt great! I don't think I've ever said that many expletives. (I might have made some up). Anyway, I wash with Caustic and Phos Acid, then check every 6 months/year. And I like to check new kegs also.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    I like MaltAlchemist's approach with the acid keg cleaner. I've used Five Star Acid #5/#6 with good results. Because you can clean in a CO2 environment, it helps save gas too. Try to include a spear cleaning cycle in your keg cleaning schedule. This would be a slow trickle of acid that won't spray over the keg bottom, but instead slowly washes down the sides of spear.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Kenai, Alaska
    I do the shake method. As the kegs are in the wash cycle I grab two at a time and shake them back and forth. This seems to do a good job.

    Frank Kassik
    Kassik's Kenai Brew Stop

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    charleston, sc
    The shake method sounds good w/ acid as a hot wash. But if you take your kegs apart every once in a while you can go to sleep w/out having nightmares!
    Use a small (but good) flat head screwdriver to pry the ring out and use the keg spear tool to replace it.
    COAST Brewing Company

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    St. Louis, mo
    I would definitely get the set of spear removal tools. With practice and the correct tools you will find you could practically remove them in your sleep. Although, for more difficult snap-ring removal, you may need an awl-type tool to get inside the tab on the end of the ring while using the proper knives to get ahold of it. We ground down an old broken screwdriver to give us a tiny-but flat-end.

    Make sure to take care with any of these tools, however. The method is designed to encourage puncture wounds, which are so much more painful than plain-old lacerations.

    Each week we pull the spear and inspect some kegs to see how well the cip cycle is working. This gives us some assurance things are working properly.

    In addition, we use kegs to collect and pitch yeast. Each one of those kegs is opened up and inspected every time it is cleaned and before it is used for pitching. That happens every week for a number of kegs dedicated for yeast. This also gives us some additional information on how well the cip cycle is being run.

    Basically, get the proper tools to inspect the kegs. Run tests and inspect your kegs until you are comfortable with the process you are using. Don't rely on what the manuals or manufacturers recommend. Verify the results and verify the repeatability. From that point, if you follow the same process you should get reliably repeatable results. But verify with regular inspections-the frequency and number of kegs you inspect will depend on your comfort and cooperage.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    The Micromatic removal tool that is just a rubber handle with a flat piece of stainless works great at something like 10 bucks...not from the normal Micromatic, but the division that makes valves and sells the replacement valve parts.
    A medium pair of channel locks is my favorite re-installation tool-convenient and quick.

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