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Keg washer without sanitizer tank? How to use??

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  • Keg washer without sanitizer tank? How to use??

    So, the keg washer that came with the Chinese equipment package I'm installing does not have any kind of sanitizer cycle and I'm trying to get my head around how to operate it. Here's the protocol as designed.


    Air purge - water rinse - air purge - caustic cycle - caustic return - hot water rinse - air purge - hot water rinse - air purge - CO2 fill - finished.


    The washer has a heated water tank, heated caustic tank and a fresh water inlet but no sanitizer tank or sanitizer injector. All the other washers I've worked on have a sanitizer cycle and I've always used PAA or similar sanitizer, purged with CO2, before CO2 fill. The brewery here is on well water and I'm concerned about used 160F water as my final rinse. I'm considering installing a UV water sterilizer inline before the washer but also worried that the throughput of an affordable UV won't keep up with the washer?


    Anyone out there have ideas or experience to help me? Am I overly concerned about nothing? My experience just tells me to kill, kill, kill everything in those shells! Final side note, no cold chain around here so kegs sit warm for extended periods before serving, ugh.

  • #2
    The first keg washer I used did not have a sani tank. I think it was a DME product. I can't remember the times of the cycles buuuut...
    Purge with compressed air
    Hot rinse
    Air purge
    Caustic recirc
    Air purge
    Long Hot Rinse
    Co2 purge
    Seal and leave kegs on desired Co2 head pressure

    The other option is to clean all the kegs, dump the caustic rinse out the reservoir, turn off the heater, and fill the reservoir with PAA solution for a separate sani cycle. Cheers.
    Joel Halbleib
    Partner / Zymurgist
    Hive and Barrel Meadery
    6302 Old La Grange Rd
    Crestwood, KY
    www.hiveandbarrel.com

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    • #3
      PAA with 1 of the reservoirs

      Originally posted by BrewinLou View Post
      The other option is to clean all the kegs, dump the caustic rinse out the reservoir, turn off the heater, and fill the reservoir with PAA solution for a separate sani cycle.
      I was thinking about that also, just really don't want to do everything twice! It is an automated washer with 2 different schedules so I could change schedule 2 to only perform 1 rinse with whichever reservoir I empty and fill with PAA and then CO2 charge.

      Any thoughts on the UV and forego sani??


      Thanks for the input Joel.

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      • #4
        Place I work has a washer without a sani cycle, we do something we call "the daisy chain" to sanitize kegs after we wash them. We'll take the first two kegs off the line, fill the first one all the way with PAA, the second one half way. Then, we've got three keg couplers all connected to each other, so we can push CO2 into the full keg, which dispenses PAA into the spear of the half-full keg, which then starts dispensing PAA into a third, empty keg once it fills up. Once the "full" keg starts blowing CO2, we move the couplers down the line the previous full keg is ready for beer, the previous half-full keg is now full, the previous empty keg is now half-full, and the next keg off the washer becomes the new empty keg. Very low-tech, but it won't break your budget.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by feinbera View Post
          Place I work has a washer without a sani cycle, we do something we call "the daisy chain" to sanitize kegs after we wash them. We'll take the first two kegs off the line, fill the first one all the way with PAA, the second one half way. Then, we've got three keg couplers all connected to each other, so we can push CO2 into the full keg, which dispenses PAA into the spear of the half-full keg, which then starts dispensing PAA into a third, empty keg once it fills up. Once the "full" keg starts blowing CO2, we move the couplers down the line the previous full keg is ready for beer, the previous half-full keg is now full, the previous empty keg is now half-full, and the next keg off the washer becomes the new empty keg. Very low-tech, but it won't break your budget.
          The nice part about this method is you are getting a full purge of oxygen on each keg, and it uses less co2 overall. An automatic keg washer cycle should be checked to see that the purge cycles are long enough in duration to provide acceptable oxygen levels prior to filling with beer.

          What I would suggest is to skip your hot water and just use one tank for hot caustic, and one tank for PAA (turn off the element). My cycles on a two tank machine were as follows.

          Air purge - water rinse - air purge - hot caustic ~ 2-3 min - air purge (back to caustic tank) - Water rinse - air purge - PAA cycle ~ 1-2 mins - CO2 purge (back to tank) - co2 purge/pressurize

          You can also use an acid based keg washing cycle and do all purges with co2 as an alternative. I would skip the UV treatment, and certainly wouldn't trust it over a good sani cycle.

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          • #6
            Daisy chain

            Originally posted by feinbera View Post
            we do something we call "the daisy chain" to sanitize kegs after we wash them.
            Thanks, I like this idea a lot. And the owners will really like the price tag.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by UnFermentable View Post
              The nice part about this method is you are getting a full purge of oxygen on each keg

              What I would suggest is to skip your hot water and just use one tank for hot caustic, and one tank for PAA
              Yeah, I really like the daisy chain for a full purge, I don't really trust this washer without a CO2 purge (it using air)before the CO2 charge so 2 birds with 1 stone.

              As for using the hot water tank for PAA, I can't reprogram the automation to use the direct water connection for the rinse cycles. It will only allow for the hot water tank to rinse the caustic therefore I'd be using PAA to rinse caustic, wasting a ton of PAA solution, but thanks.

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