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View Full Version : Keg cleaning/filling on the Nano Scale



ScratchtownMike
01-31-2012, 03:13 PM
In the process of planning a 3bbl Nano brewery and I am trying to familiarize myself with the cleaning and filling of sanke kegs.

Wondering what similiar sized breweries are using to clean-sanitize-keg their beers.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks.
Mike
Scratchtown Brewing Co.

CaptainEBC
01-31-2012, 03:32 PM
We have a 3 bbl brewery and use one of these from Premier Stainless:

http://www.premierstainless.com/TwoStationKegWasher.pdf

It works really well. Before that we rigged something up with the kettle, a brewery pump, some valves and an NSF rack....it worked, but tied up the brewery and fell over a couple times.

For kegging we use this:
http://breweryparts.com/index.php/equipment-and-supplies/beer-kegs-amp-kegging-equipment/keg-coupler-amp-filling-head/manual-keg-filler.html

gray31
02-10-2012, 11:30 AM
How much did that setup cost? I've been researching keg cleaning machines and they are all out of my price range.

thatjonguy
02-20-2012, 06:34 PM
Those keg washers are about $17k.

I found instructions for a DIY keg washer from another brewery floating around the internet.

http://brewingnews.com/thriftygadgeteer/thriftykwinstructions.pdf

gray31
03-06-2012, 10:42 AM
Ya, I've read that one. Maybe I'm just a visual learner but it would be nice to have some pictures to see exactly how its supposed to look. So many times I've heard just put tab a into slot b, but where the help is slot b?! Or there are 12 tab a and 3 slot b. I really wish someone would do a diagram for some of these DIY projects they post.

Capt. Bob
03-13-2012, 10:22 AM
Gray31...check out http://pubkeg.com/

I've been using them for about a year and couldn't be happier with them. Good ole Sanki fitting. Yes, in the long run they will seem to cost you more, but they come in sanitized and pressurized. Fill and ship. If and when they come back, swap out the inner bottle, fill and ship. They cost less than the average deposit. Inner bottle swap is around $10 depending on your volume. Keg washer...$15- $20K time is money...how many man hours do you spend cleaning kegs...water...electricity...co2...chemicals...upk eep on the washer. All add up.
I'm sounding like a salesman for them, but they are a viable option for small guys.

simmeringbrews
03-23-2012, 12:47 PM
We're facing the same dilemma and are planning on going to area breweries to see if they will let us clean our kegs there. I know of at least one small brewer doing this and it works well for them. We'd just compensate the "big brewer" for their employees time, any resources we use, plus a bit for the inconvenience. We'll be having such a small volume of kegs to clean, it really doesn't make sense to buy one of these units quite yet, but its WAY too many to clean by hand.

If that doesn't work out, we have a backup plan of making our own cleaning unit of sorts.

gray31
03-26-2012, 02:51 AM
I agree one way kegs area a viable option but I'm still not sure if it would save money in the long run. There is also the question of storage space. For the amount they want you to buy I don't think I could store that many one use kegs as opposed the reusable kegs.

WitsEnd
03-26-2012, 06:09 AM
The point is that they won't save money in the long run, but given the option of brewing and promoting the brand vs. cleaning kegs, I don't see a big return spent manually cleaning kegs.
I'm working on pricing of the pubkegs now. Minimum order is a pallet of 48.

dfalken
03-26-2012, 06:35 AM
The point is that they won't save money in the long run, but given the option of brewing and promoting the brand vs. cleaning kegs, I don't see a big return spent manually cleaning kegs.
I'm working on pricing of the pubkegs now. Minimum order is a pallet of 48.

If you are going to go with non-reusable kegs I think you should look at the french ecofass kegs, they make the most sense IMO. The bags are much cheaper than pub kegs (at under $4 for their 30L bag they are probably competitive with cost of labor and cleaning of reusables) and you don't even need CO2 to dispense them which has the added bonus of protecting your beer as the gas never comes in contact with it. Only downside is they don't have Sankey D type spears (only A and S). A huge added bonus is that you can buy 200 bags in a box, so storage and transport costs are greatly reduced.

WitsEnd
03-26-2012, 01:20 PM
If you are going to go with non-reusable kegs I think you should look at the french ecofass kegs, they make the most sense IMO.
I've seen those before. Very appealing, sweet setup. The deal breaker is the connection and availability of the slim quarter or 1/6 barrel size footprint. In speaking with the bars and restaurants in town, this is what they prefer and I don't care to raise a stink with them because of my "special" fittings that I'd require.
Definitely worth reviewing, but they need to consider offering these if they're interested in breaking into the US market.

dfalken
03-26-2012, 11:22 PM
I've seen those before. Very appealing, sweet setup. The deal breaker is the connection and availability of the slim quarter or 1/6 barrel size footprint. In speaking with the bars and restaurants in town, this is what they prefer and I don't care to raise a stink with them because of my "special" fittings that I'd require.
Definitely worth reviewing, but they need to consider offering these if they're interested in breaking into the US market.


Totally agree with you. Forget about them breaking in the US market, why the heck has NOBODY done throw away kegs totally right? It really isn't that hard and ecofass has come closer than anyone in my opinion.

Offer standard keg sized hard outer shell with sankey D fitting (maybe a bit taller than normal since bag won't occupy all of the inside space, hence not holding enough volume if keg was same size). Use a disposable inner bag and you don't have to push with CO2 and there you have it, a 1 use no-clean keg for a reasonable price. 1 way kegs are a different story and while they do have their use they are obviously going to be more expensive and produce a lot of waste.

mmmatt
11-29-2014, 11:17 PM
It doesn't take much to clean kegs. I can do 8 half barrel kegs in about 90 minutes with one of these http://www.gwkent.com/proline-manual-keg-filler.html This link shows a filler head that has an automatic shut off that mine doesn't have but the ball valves are important and gw kent doesn't show the ball valves on their cleaning head any more. These heads are essentially a normal sanke coupling with the ball removed from the outlet side and no check valve on the gas side, plus the addition of beer nut > beer nut ball valves on either end. I also use an adapter to connect a garden hose to beer nut, and 1"tc to beer nut. I made these with hose barb fittings and a small piece of hose. I use a 600 GPH pond pump I bought at harbor freight for about $40. i used the included threaded hose barb adapter and a couple feet of latex hose with a 1" tc hose barb fitting. I use this pump for cleaning all my brewery hoses and my plate chiller. You don't need a lot of pressure or volume for this and a submersible pump in a bucket or sink is easiest. I do each step to 4 kegs at a time so I'm not switching fittings all the time. Here is what I do

1. Connect the coupling to the keg with ball valves closed. Balance inverted keg on dump/dish sink and blow out the contents through about a foot of tube connected to the gas side of the coupler.

2. Connect hose adapter to center (normally beer out) connection, open both valves on coupler and rinse with hot water until clear and keg is hot to the touch. Drain fully.

3. Connect the pump to the coupler with the tc > beer nut adapter then make a fresh batch of pbw as hot as you can make it. Run 5 minutes per keg and fully drain. Get your keg as level as possible so the solution cascades evenly on the inside of the keg.

4. Repeat #2

5. Repeat #3 with a fresh 5 gal batch of no rinse sanitizer. I only do a minute because sanitizer starts to work on contact

6. Place the keg right side up on the floor and hook the gas inlet side of the coupler to a co2 tank and your little hose piece to the beer out connection. Start running the co2 and blow out the last bits of sanitizer into the sink or a bucket and pressurize the keg to a couple lbs less than wht you fill at. for me it is about 10-12 lbs because I fill around 15.

7. put a clean cap on so you know it is ready to fill and place in the walk in to chill prior to filling.

It is important to note that when first hooking up to the wash cycle it is a good idea to blow the first bits down the drain since there always seems to be a little bit of sediment after the first rinse. If you soil the pbw then you have to replace it and that adds up pretty quick.. Otherwise I recycle the pbw for 4 kegs. Also if any of the solutions aren't really hot, it takes forever to drain the kegs and you may have to add air or gas to push it out. If hot they clear themselves pretty good though. It also helps to keep rolling through all the steps and not getting distracted between because the kegs cool off and then cool off the solutions.

Matt

Rusty
12-03-2014, 07:32 PM
What Matt said, same system....only I am doing one at a time. I can get 7-9 kegs out of a batch of Cell-R-Master (Birko) before the temp drops below 120. Pre-rinse the sediment is important. On a nano scale, this is the way to go. Inexpensive and effective.


Rusty

Dale I
12-22-2014, 04:27 PM
I'm building my own keg cleaning station that will rinse, clean, sanitize, and C02 pressurize kegs without having to uncouple the keg during the process. I'll run hot water rinse, pbw, sanitizer and C02 through a stainless steel manifold and use ball valves to switch between each one. No need to couple/uncouple kegs between stages of the process. It should do the trick for my 3bbl start-up nano brewery.

bwalden234
12-23-2014, 08:40 AM
I am looking to do something very similar, what size pumps are you looking at? I like the idea of not having to decouple the keg for each clean rinse/cycle.

Dale I
12-23-2014, 11:51 AM
Not sure about pump size yet but will probably use a magnetic drive March pump. Something around 6 gpm maybe. It wouldn't need to be a particularly large pump but would need to be good quality, as all pumps in the brewery should be. A March 809PL-HS could work ok but I'll have to look into it a bit more as I may need to go bigger.

mmmatt
01-05-2015, 08:17 AM
Not sure about pump size yet but will probably use a magnetic drive March pump. Something around 6 gpm maybe. It wouldn't need to be a particularly large pump but would need to be good quality, as all pumps in the brewery should be. A March 809PL-HS could work ok but I'll have to look into it a bit more as I may need to go bigger.
magnetic pumps need to be primed, so IMHO a submersible is easier. With a magnetic you would need storage vessels with bulkheads or someohter type of ooutlet on the bottom of the tank, elevated above the pump. You don't need much pressure. Even under modest pressure the keg starts to fill which indicates to me that the pressure going in is more than adequate. If your pressure is too high, you can pull a Redhook and we all know about that story. Keep in mind, kegs never really dry out on the inside so you don't really have to blast off a bunch of crusty crap like in a tank or a BK.

My .02

Matt

mmmatt
01-05-2015, 08:21 AM
Appreciate you sharing, as I'm sure everyone does.
Could you possibly send a few pics or even make a quick video so everyone sees this awesome setup/operation you've created?
Thanks in advance!


If this is directed at me, then it is just a 3 hole dish sink, a small pond pump, and a fill/cleaning head. Nothing to show really. There are hose adapters to go from beer nut to TC or Garden hose, but that is pretty simple stuff.