save my account - tainted beer lines
I have been distributing draught product for a while, and have come across a number of old and severely tainted beer lines that cannot be replaced (unwilling owners, or logistical nightmare) and therefore must be revived. I have used BLC only to replace the taint with a different one that is usually worse than the original. I have used PBW and get variable results with clean rinsing. PBW seems to scratch the surface but only leaves the taint tasting somewhat fresher. I haven't found the one regimen that will revive old tired beer lines to past glory. Anyone out there find something that works? I have fairly hard water. Thanks a million,
Dolores River Brewery
Nuking a draught line
Well, it seems like you have nothing to lose by really attacking the lines with everything that you have at your disposal. The lines are probably corroded, encrusted with stone and junk, or both. So, blast them.
Hit it first with a hot PBW cleaning, such as you have been, with a 20 minute rest (if you are using a cleaning can) or a 20 minute cycle (if you are using a pump). Rinse thoroughly with hot water, and then switch to something like an Acid #5 or #6 from Ecolabs. This stuff is a nitric/phosphoric blend, and I believe the #6 has an added detergent. Blast the lines for 15 minute using the same process as before.
Once you've nuked it with cleaners, rinse it and blast it with something that will wreck any microbes that may have survived the pH shifts. My personal favorite for this is PAA, but StarSan would do the job well. Iodophor doesn't work in the presence of sugar, so I would use something other than iodine.
This is a really aggressive cleaning/sanitizing regimen, and I wouldn't do it more than once every six months, or whenever the normal 3:1 caustic/acid cleaning cycle becomes ineffective. However, if these lines are nasty already, you're not risking much by hitting them hard.
Remember when you implement an SOP for line cleaning, you need to do it on a bi-weekly rotation with three caustic cycles for each acid cycle. That should decrease the need for drastic action in the future.