View Full Version : What's your SOP for brite cleaning between transfers?

01-09-2013, 02:32 PM
We did a transfer of 7 barrels recently through our coldroom wall to 2 3.5 barrel brites and it took forever. We admittedly are new and working out a few kinks but basically wanted to check if we are over doing it.

Between batches this last time we broke every part of the brite, cleaned it, put it back, ran PBW through it for 20 minutes, rinsed 3 times with water. Next day, dropped, took about 4 hours to collect yeast, prep and sanitize transfer lines, sanitize tanks, drop, and clean/rinse FV.

Do you normally clean brites between transfers, or just run a bit of sanitizer through? Keep in mind these are different batches so we aren't dropping IPA onto IPA.

I have a feeling we are overdoing it a bit.

Side question, we do clean our fermenters between every batch but I consider this a necessity.

01-09-2013, 05:01 PM
we generally never break down the brites. We run recirc PBW through the spray ball for 15 minutes, plu another 5 minutes for the site line. Then spray down with hot wat to rinse for maybe 5 minutes. Run sani for 5 minutes through sprayball and through site line and valves etc. Havent gotten a bad lab report back yet. We also try to clean multiple brites at once and just pump the PBW/sani over between the tanks after bottlings.

01-09-2013, 05:15 PM
Cleaning AND sanitizing are mandatory between fills on a BBT. In a cold room, cleaning is best done cold with an acid cleaner like Acid #5 from 5-star. Hot cleaning in a cold room is a total waste--IMHO. Keep your CO2 in the tank. Clean and sanitize under pressure. Once every 5-10 brews I take the whole thing apart and micro-clean every component. Lubricate o-rings. Renew carbonation stone. Afterward, I fill with clean water and push out with CO2 or nitrogen to establish an inert environment. I've seen fermenters go without sanitizing, but only at a larger plant that pasteurizes everything after filling.

01-09-2013, 05:19 PM
Phillip, what is your SOP for cleaning with Acid #5. We are using PBW followed by Saniclean now, but we are using #5 for passivation anyway and would love to know how to use this in place of the PBW.


Matt Dog
01-09-2013, 10:14 PM
Cleaning brite tanks under pressure is not too difficult. As Phillip said you can use Acid 5 (or #6) from Five Star or I use Ultra-Niter from Birko. My SOP is to attach a couple T's to the brite. One on the outlet and one on the CIP arm with butterfly valves. I rinse the tank with cold water by opening a water in on the CIP arm while almost simultaneously opening the drain valve enough to let the rinse water blow down the drain hose w/o losing CO2. Its a bit of a balancing act but not difficult. Alternatively you could simply rinse for a while and drain for a while while making sure the pressure doesnt get too high in the tank. Then I will add the acid cleaner to the tank with either a keg or the easiest way though probably not the best is to add the acid directly into a disconected hose and simply push it in with water. Then CIP as normal with a pump that is hooked up as normal but now under pressure from the tank in a closed loop. Rinse w prior procedure and sani with Acid procedure. Blow down sani. Fill tank w Beer and repeat. You can also add a jumper line to clean your carb stones during this procedure. As Phillip stated it is a good idea to do this a set number of times and then break it all down to do a thorough inspection and more intense cleaning on all the little parts. I would hesitate to use this procedure on Hefes and "dirtier" beers but its your call. Also if you plan to dryhop in the brites w hop bags its a no go.

Ted Briggs
01-10-2013, 08:13 AM
For cleaning without caustic, BBT's and kegs, I reccomend acid 6 vs 5. 5star will confirm. Not fammiler with Birko.

01-10-2013, 08:05 PM
Good points by Ted and Matt. I've used Acid #6 with no noticeable improvement in cleaning, but that's my particular situation. Specification sheets from 5-star for #5 & 6 back up Ted's assertion. Also used Ultra-Nitr and found that no better, either. Anyway, the exact specifics are not as important as weaning yourself OFF of hot cleaning and emptying pressurized vessels only to re-cool and re-pressurize. You can save yourself time, money, chemicals, CO2, heat, electricity, and do a great job besides. Which acid to use in a cold, CO2 environment is your personal prerogative. Every situation has its peculiarities. Good luck!!

01-11-2013, 09:07 AM
I believe you are supposed to use acid as opposed to cuastic where you don't have solid organic build up, as in on a fermentor's krausen ring. Also, my understanding is that if you are going to use caustic in a BBT you need to purge the Co2 because the Co2 can have a reaction to the caustic and cause some calcification. Someone correct me if I am wrong but that is basically what my chemical supplier (Loeffler) has explained to me.

01-11-2013, 12:26 PM
Hello there,

My SOP is de-pressurize/vent tank, rinse with hot water, run 15 minute caustic loop, rinse with hot water, run 15 minute acid loop, rinse with hot water, cool tank down with cold water, run 15 minute sanitizing loop, drain, purge with co2, pressurize. I usually disassemble the removable parts and clean them in the tank (sample valve, carbonating stone, etc.). I use 170 F water for my caustic and acid loops and cold water for the sanitizing loop. Ninety-five percent of the time I will run this sequence between every batch that goes in the tank. Sometimes though, for various reasons, I will filter on top of a previous batch. It's never caused any problems. That's it.

BTW, I've never sanitized my fermenters and I've never had an infected beer.

Cheers everybody.

01-11-2013, 04:20 PM
Basically it sounds like we should be using acid # 5 which we already have in house and not open up the fermenter. It sounds like we should be doing this under pressure, and replacing the carb stones and cleaning everything every 5-10 brews.

The Cellarman
01-11-2013, 08:13 PM
You can never clean to much! We transfer 60-90bbls at a time and about 13,000bbls per year and expanding rapidly. We de-pressurize/vent, break down ( take off all valves and sample ports, manway gaskets) every time we transfer a beer.We use Birko acids and ZEP caustic. Dana Johnson with Birko has virtually written all of the industry standards on tank cleaning. He is a great resource to tap if you can. Bryan, with Brewing Science Institute also has a lot of information that can help if they are one of your suppliers for anything.
We place all of our parts in Bru-R-Ez rinse them place them in Iodaphore to sanitize while cleaning the tank. You want to use the acid first in the tank. Acids need to be used between 140* and 150* for 15-30min through spray ball depending upon the beer that was in the tank. Acids will help re-passivate your stainless steel and get rid of your beer stone/calcium build up and low pH tolerant bacteria that may be hiding.
Then without rinsing the tank drain the acid and add your caustic at around 150*-160* 15-30min. This pH swing will also help to loosen all the solids and be too much for any bacteria to handle. The pH swing should be: acid below a 2.00 and your caustic above a 11.50. After the caustic cycle rinse very well with water and then we sanitize for 20min spray ball with Vortex (peracetic acid) and 5 min through racking arms or sight glasses etc. then re-pressurize tank and prepare to transfer and all of your hoses/lines are sanitary now since they were used to clean the tanks and sanitize it. The SOP's I have are much more detailed and brewery specific but; this should be a great starter for anyone.


01-12-2013, 07:04 PM
I stand by the faster, cheaper, safer, less heat intensive, less cooling intensive, less water use, less chemical use, less CO2 use, less energy use, and by not heating up the entire cold room--better for your beer method of BBT/serving tank cleaning/sanitizing. Hot-cleaning a serving tank in a cold room is a waste 10x IMHO. Those of you hot cleaning ever try it cool?

01-14-2013, 02:37 PM
I may try a cool clean under pressure and then take a look. It sounds like there are many ways to skin this cat though, and I hate using caustic unless absolutely necessary.

01-15-2013, 01:27 PM
I have four tanks empty right now, and would love to try to cold clean them. Do I use the Acid 5 (in house) at 1/2 oz per gallon as usual, for thirty , forty minutes? I think I can figure out the pre rinse without losing CO2 from one of the previous replies. I have a vfd pump. Will I have to increase from 28hz (recommended speed) to combat the tank pressure? Are you rinsing, acid cleaning (at what temp?), rinsing, sanitizing? What I am looking for is a basic schedule to try out. I have ten bbl serving tanks. I know there were previous posts, but I guess my searching skills are diminishing. The recent (last year) posts in the magazines, etc... were vague on amts and times, etc.
Last question, does the acid react with the CO2 at all? Do I need to drain the dregs of fluid thirty minutes later?
Thanks for whatever you can tell me. I hate it when my walkin thermometer reads 55, even though I know the beer is fine.

01-15-2013, 01:58 PM
David- here's what I do. Immediately after emptying a brite tank I use a hose to blow any gunk or leftover beer out of the bottom. I have a set of butterfly valves hooked up to my CIP arm that allow me to hook up a water line without depressurizing the tank. I give the tank 2 or 3 cool water rinses and use the CO2 in the tank to blow the rinse water down the drain. Then I add hot water from my hot liquor tank or the faucet depending on what I have available (being careful to purge the oxygen out of all of the transfer hoses using CO2 from the brite). I add acid #5 to the transfer hose and fill the hose completely with water to purge any O2. I CIP the tank for 20 mins. I use the CO2 in the tank to blow all the acid cleaner down the drain. Then I rinse again. Then I add cold water and Perasan sanitizer and run a CIP sani loop for 15 mins. Use CO2 in the tank to blow that out. Then I'm ready to go.

My brite is usually at 12 psi when I start. Since I do use some of the CO2 in the tank to blow out the rinse water, acid, etc... I do have to add some co2 back at the end. Usually I'm left with a 3-4 psi at the end. But this still saves a ton of time and CO2 from not having to purge the tank. If I use my brewhouse pump to pump the water in I find that I usually need to have the tank below 10 psi to get any flow. If I'm using ground water I can actually get flow into the tank at 12 psi.

The key is to have a lot of valves in place so that you can close of different parts of your CIP loop to make it easy to purge any oxygen out of your hoses etc...

btw I use this process on 7 bbl and 10 bbl brite tanks. I hope this helps. It's a lot easier to show this process in person than it is to try and write it out :) Cheers!

01-15-2013, 06:42 PM
What Kugeman said. Except without hot water. No reason to heat your cold room. A stand alone jacketed bright beer tank that can be left to cool at ambient for a day might be different if I had free hot water. Acid #5 and #6 are both formulated for cold cleaning. Seems that #5 is more aggressive against beerstone, and #6 is more of an acid detergent. Also had great luck with Ecolab Trimeta, Birko Ultra Niter, and Diversey Acidbrite 9. All of them are fairly new formulations for acid detergent cleaning in a CO2 environment at cold (or ambient) temperatures. NONE of them react with CO2. Rinse, CIP with as little 2% acid as possible without vortexing, rinse, sanitize, maybe rinse again. I can do this without losing much pressure--start at 13.5-14 psi and end up with 10. Also, CIPing a tank under pressure takes NO MORE PUMP PRESSURE than an open tank. The pressure added to your pump discharge due to tank pressure is made up for by the increased suction pressure on the pump suction due to the same tank pressure. I used to follow a hot rinse/hot caustic/hot rinse/acid/rinse/sanitizer/rinse procedure. There have been a lot of brewery cleaning developments since then. No one procedure is good for all breweries. Talk to your chemical representatives and try different procedures.

01-16-2013, 09:10 AM
Thanks for the help. Setting up the valves and hoses and pump now. I will follow up with my progress.

01-16-2013, 12:30 PM
I break down our 9BBL tanks between every transfer. Parts go into hot water with a bit of phosphoric acid. I rinse the tank before adding a few gallons of kettle water with phosphoric acid, climb in and scrub by hand until every surface is perfect. Rinse again and sanitize. Close it up and purge with CO2 before transferring the beer.

Doing it manually allows me to inspect to make sure it is absolutely clean, and actually takes less time and resources.

01-17-2013, 02:27 PM
All right. I started with the tank that had the dunkelweizen, knowing that would be the worst. I used 1 oz per gallon of acid cs35 - enerco's acid 5 - per gallon. After three two minute rinses and a ten minute rinse (cold) I emptied the tank, and added the acid and water to cip for thirty minutes. Repeat the rinse procedure, because the runoff was a bit cloudy, and then sanitized with peroxyacetic for thirty minutes. Emptied the water, and then went ahead and opened the manway, after releasing the pressure. The tank was visually clean and shiny. The only issue was a bit of stubborn yeast on the dish bottom of the tank - less than half a cup. Sprayed this out, sealde, resanitized for ten minutes,and did the double five psi purge. Set up took way longer the first time - I kept rearranging the tees and valves, but it worked. In four hours today I cleaned the other three tanks with the same procedure. The dunkel went to the server kind of early, and the other three later, with a more flocculant yeast in the fermentor. I am just finishing up with the transfer of the third beer to my clean tanks. I think I just saved half a fifty pound tank of CO2, if not more.
Oh, the carb stone looked spotless on visual inspection, and is bubbling CO2 into the next batch as I write this.
Promising method, I will keep at it, while being a bit vigilant checking the beers progress in the tanks. Thanks Phillip, Hutch, et al!

01-17-2013, 05:35 PM
Glad to hear that you have a new technique to use. Like with everything, there is a learning curve. You'll soon learn to optimize this and use less to clean more while still maintaining a sanitary brewery. Cheers and good luck!

01-18-2013, 01:43 PM
Phillip, I think you are right. I should be able to use 1/2 oz per gallon, rather than an ounce per gallon. That is my standard hot use rate. I assumed I might need more going cold, and 1 oz per gallon is only .78%. That is by volume, though and i was not sure if the 2% you mentioned was weight...
Any way, The set up took too long the first time, but I know what I need now, and I should be done with the tanks in an hour or two, rather than the normal four to five it was taking purging, cleaning, purging etc...
Thanks again.

Octobell Ray
07-22-2013, 02:10 PM
To those who have experience with cleaning their BBTs under pressure with acid - do you use de-aerated cold water for the rinsing and acid dilution liquid? I'm wondering about the possibility of the oxygen in the rinse water to remain in the BBT after dumping the water. Thanks for your input.

Matt Y.
Half Acre Beer Co.

07-22-2013, 05:04 PM
No, I use my regular city water. I suppose if I had access to de-aerated water then I would use it to be safe, but I don't, so...

07-23-2013, 06:29 AM
You can never clean to much!

Then without rinsing the tank drain the acid and add your caustic at around 150*-160* 15-30min.

+1 on the cleaning but I would never add caustic to acid without a thorough rinse. When you combine the acids and caustic you will have salts precipitate out and streak your tanks. Not to mention it is dropping the effectiveness of your caustic. Caustics and acids will always clean better hot (140^F). That said its a time, temp, duration consideration and you can increase one to balance another. I would raise my concentration or time, or both, for a cold wash. Acids are really most useful for minerals, and caustics for organics. That is usually the purpose for both the chemicals as well as the pH swing.
We run a caustic cycle every few batches and an acid passivation and sanitization after. Usually our bright is at pressure and contains some beer all the time except during cleaning. We filter our beer so our organics load is likely a lot less than some, if we didn't we would CIP more often.
Its best to purge the tank with water, then co2 and it is a lot of water, but better than a batch of bad beer. We just wash the floors with that clean purge water.
I would likely only rinse and acid sanitize in between my regular cycles if I had a problem of some sort. It's likely effective, but I would be concerned about long term organics growth or biofilm.

07-13-2017, 05:58 PM
To those who have experience with cleaning their BBTs under pressure with acid - do you use de-aerated cold water for the rinsing and acid dilution liquid? I'm wondering about the possibility of the oxygen in the rinse water to remain in the BBT after dumping the water. Thanks for your input.

Matt Y.
Half Acre Beer Co.

Bumping this thread in the hopes someone will opine on this question. I have been using this closed cleaning under pressure system for almost 3 years. I have not noticed any oxidation issues but 99% of my beers go fairly quickly thru the taps. I have recently begun limited packaging for the local market and am simply wondering how much O2 pickup can come from introducing 10 gallons into a BT for an acid wash followed by a city water rinse and then later another 10 with sani?