Mini King Steam vs Chemical Sterilizer
I purchased a used Mini-king awhile back and now running into power requirement issues to get it up an running due to the fact that it needs a steam boiler. Can the steam mini-king units be converted to chemical?
Any help would be appreciated
Lewis & Clark Brewing
You could call the manufacturer. http://www.iddeas.com/354.html
I would not recommend cleaning kegs without heated chemicals. It is unreliable at best. I would also not recommend sterilizing without steam. You can sterilize with Chlorine Dioxide or a Peracetic Acid sanitizer, but steam sterilization is the best. If you want to maximize shelf life of your kegged product use heat for cleaning and sterilization.
You could find a small sussman electric boiler, maybe even used for your needs. But easier would be to tap into a boiler that feeds your brewery. Unless you have a direct fire brewhouse.
I would like to just briefly chime in with a “yeah, what he said”. Zbrew is exactly on the money that you should not be trying to sanitize your kegs with anything less than wet steam. Honestly, you need to look at the expense of having steam available for your racking operation as a cost of doing business as a brewery. Your kegs can come into a number of beer spoilers out in the trade and the only guaranteed way of killing them is wet steam at 130C for 60 seconds. There is no sanitizer you can spray in a keg and have guaranteed results. Sanitizers that are strong oxidizers can potentially destroy your beer, even if the contact amount is very minimal.
If sanitizing kegs this way (using a sanitizer) was a good idea in terms of quality or economics, you would certainly see the major breweries using this method. This is however not the case and I would challenge you to find an example of a major supplier of draught beer sanitizing their kegs this way.
I use chemical sanitizing, but I'm not an expert in these matters. In fact, the beer doesn't sit in my kegs for more than a month, so I may not be giving spoilage any time to take effect.
Still though, it seems this is not an entirely uncommon practice for the small scale brewpub or micro.
Just my take...
what about fermentation vessels?
If pereacetic acid (or equiv) is not good for sterlizing kegs, what about fermenters? or BBT's? you wouldn't want to steam sterilize a fermenter would you?
Refitting a keg cleaner for chemical sanitizing
A few years ago I was in the same situation you are in. I had purchased a used KHS/Till Kegboy that was set up for steam sanitizing. I didn't have sterile steam available and didn't want to purchase a steam filter at a cost of about $2000 not including the re-piping. I went the route you are considering. I added an acid reservoir with an electric heater and level control. I also had to add a dedicated pump to push the acid solution into the kegs. That was the easy part unless you are familiar with programming ladder logic. The PLC that I have is an older Siemens model and the programming software is obsolete. Fortunately I was able to find a very helpful Siemens engineer that was invaluable in coaching me through the reprogramming.
As far as the debate on wet steam vs. chemical sanitizing is concerned, I understand that steam is very thorough but for my needs and budget I feel I can safely use a heated acid sanitizer. I feel that if acid sanitizers are good enough for my fermenters then they should be good enough for my kegs. I'm not about to consider refitting my brewery to sanitize my fermenters with live steam. Understand though, my kegs don't go far from the brewery.
On an aside, I am familiar with a regional brewery that up until a few years ago used caustic followed by a water rinse for their kegs, no additional sanitize cycle. They felt that the caustic cycle was adequate for sanitizing their kegs
Church Brew Works