View Full Version : CIP system for a brew pub

07-09-2013, 08:33 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm in the process of setting up a brew pub. The equipment for this brewery was ordered by a consulting agency before I joined the business. Going through all the equipment, I noticed for the CIP cleaning there is only a single vessel setup (80L tank and pump mounted on a skid). With the CIP tank there is no way of heating a solution or keeping a constant temperature.

I've always used a two vessel CIP system at previous breweries, one for acid rinsing and sanitising, the other for caustic solutions. From my understanding caustic is more effective at 70 degrees Celsius. My questions are as follow:

1) Will it be OK to use cold caustic?
2) If so, do I need to increase the time and caustic concentration for the cycle?
3) Will it be better to get another tank made with a heating element and temperature control, dedicated for caustic only?
4) Anyone with the same setup? What is your experience?

Thank you and all advise will be appreciated.


Scott M
07-09-2013, 10:58 PM
Brew kettle to heat and pump to an empty FV or HLT for the Caustic. Assuming you have that equipment.

07-10-2013, 07:35 AM
2) If so, do I need to increase the time and caustic concentration for the cycle?

This is true. It is better to have it hot, but you can do like the other poster said and just basically add hot water, then caustic to it. Another option is to add an electric water heater element. I have seen these for sale in the hardware store, with just the element available. Drill a hole, bulkhead it in, and use a Ranco or something cheap to dial the temp in.

07-10-2013, 08:52 AM
Cheers for the replies.

08-26-2013, 06:05 AM
I've used cold caustic once, don't remember why but I must have been really desperate. I got very poor cleaning results on a fermenter, and I haven't used cold caustic since.

Ended up using an old 250l yeast tub with cooling jacket for the caustic. Just hooked up steam to the cooling jacket. Worked fine, but If I got to choose, I would use an insulated tank with some form of heating for caustic, uninsulated tank for phosphoric acid and a third tank for water, PAA or whatever I might use that's good for recycling. Also, it is a good idea to install a strainer after the CIP-forward pump. Didn't have one the first couple of times we cleaned the brewhouse. Spent grains everywhere, including the wort cooler. Also makes your caustic last longer if you plan to re-use it.

08-27-2013, 10:53 AM
You will see a large increase in caustic performance around 130-140 F (55-60 C). I recommend heating your caustic above this temperature if possible.

Chlorinated caustic is typically used in ambient temperature caustic cleaning when heat is unavailable. Always confirm acceptable usage temperatures with your chemical manufacturer, and remember not to use chlorinated caustics at higher temperatures. Do not use chlorinated caustic at or above 148 F (65 C). Do not reuse chlorinated caustics, including keg washers and CIP stations. Always verify complete rinsing of chlorinated products before introducing an acid--this includes CO2, beer, wort, or an acid cleaner.

If you do install a heating element, look for either a stainless-clad element or a nickelloy element. Avoid copper. While caustic is benign on iron, you will occasionally want to descale your caustic tank with some acid.

Most American craft breweries are using Nitric Acid with some Phosphoric due to cost. Phosphoric Acid is considerably more expensive than Nitric Acid and will not contribute to passivation of stainless steel as effectively as Nitric Acid. Please note that if you use a Nitric Acid at higher concentration and temperatures, there is a possibility of creating some fumes from the Nitric Acid. Because of this, brewers should seek an inhibited Nitric Acid with some Phosphoric Acid in it. If you are using an all-Phosphoric Acid for CIP applications on stainless steel and you have not at least been recommended a Nitric / Phosphoric, you should stick your chemical vendor's feet to the fire.


Brian Campbell

Is there really a need for continous passivation? I always figured that passivation is something you do only as-needed, e.g when the steel has been damaged, welded or such. And perhaps passivation with phosphoric+nitric acid like once or twice every year. But feel free to correct me :)

The acid is a mix of phosphoric acid and bromacetic acid. Also used in soak baths.

09-04-2013, 08:10 AM
Passivation should be performed periodically, as the passive layer will deteriorate over time. The most often your stainless sees Nitric Acid, the less often you will require a designated passivation cycle. HLTs and Kettles generally require passivation most often. This is usually every 3-6 months for a heavy production brewery--Fermenters every 6-18 months, and brite beer tanks every 12-24 months. In my previous brewing jobs, I have found caustic performance in the kettle to be a good indicator of when to passivate. When your normal concentration of caustic ceases to adequately clean the organics from your kettle, especially around steam jackets, fire boxes, and welds, it may be time to repassivate.

In addition to passivation after welding, grinding, and polishing, I also recommend passivating anytime a tank is entered even if only for inspection. Periodically, I will see residual soils in a kettle in the shape of boot prints and hand prints where someone entered a tank and did not passivate afterwards. The boot destroys the passive layer, creating an area more prone to organic soiling. A well passivated stainless surface is electrostatically neutral. This will lower the adhesion energy of soils, assisting your caustic cleaning.

Bromoacetic Acid is less common in the United States in favor of Peracetic Acid, as I do not believe Bromoacetic Acid carries an EPA registration like Peracetic. While most acids will do some passivation, Nitric Acid is most often used. Nitric Acid with some Phosphoric Acid will be the most effective. Citric Acid may also be used, but is much more complicated than simply recircualting a strong acid solution. If you are using Citric Acid for passivation of 300 series stainless, I highly recommend employing the services of a metallurgist.

Lastly, do not allow acid solutions to dry on your stainless steel. This was recently discussed in a Probrewer thread, but I feel compelled to say it again. Do not allow your acid solutions to dry on stainless steel.


Very informative answer. Thank you!