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Sanitized keg shelf life

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  • Sanitized keg shelf life

    How long can a properly cleaned, sanitized, and Co2 purged keg sit under pressure (no beer, just Co2) and still be usable? If the keg is still under Co2 pressure will it stay sanitized indefinitely?

  • #2
    RE: Sanitized keg shelf life

    Theoretically, yes. If the EPDM CO2s aren't breaking down the down due to UV A/B rays over a long duration, you should have no problem with the internal health of a keg. EPDM is UV-resistant not UV-proof so long durations of direct sunlight can affect the shelf life. If you clean, sanitize and pressurize with CO2, you will be fine for a number of years. If you are storing them for an extended time, store them upside down to alleviate wells being contaminated and safeguarded against UV.


    • #3
      This is a bit of a loaded question - what is your keg cleaning regimen? Unless you are using sanitary steam and your keg cleaning process is dialed in and verified (keg tear-downs, spear washing, good condition on seals, low DO) you really can't assume they are good for the long-haul. A couple weeks, sure. Kept cold while empty, even better. But your only real verification would involve further QC on your process...plating/luminometer/DO measurement/visual checks on the effectiveness of your keg washer's cycles.

      I'm sure others will disagree + draft beer is (hopefully) kept cold its entire existence so anything microbial will be surpressed, but you may need to start taking the notes you can and measure as many applicable variables to help you determine how long YOU can keep kegs empty.
      Last edited by BemidjiBrewing; 01-24-2020, 07:23 AM.


      • #4
        As has already been said - it could be a day or so, or weeks, depending on the cleaning and sanitisation regime. However, good practice in large breweries at least says they should be filled immediately after sanitisation. Why? Well, with the best will in the world when dealing with large numbers of kegs with a large keg population, it is statistically impossible to guarantee absolute sterility, because you really don't know how the things have been treated in trade, what else some idiot has used them for without you knowing, beer scale build up etc, etc. Another major problem, is that the connections will not remain sterile because they are exposed to unsterile air, even if they are dust capped.

        So I would not use (fill) a keg that had been sanitised more than a few hours beforehand, absolute max of the day before - which allows for small scale production in a microbrewery, where one person cleans a batch of kegs in one go, and later fills them as a separate operation. So if they had been cleaned and sanitised before that, then at least a repeat sanitisation, and obviously if using an automatic cleaning sanitisation cycle, it gets a full clean and sanitisation cycle.

        I don't disagree with BemidjiBrewing. But I just question whether it is worth risking producing even a single dud keg of beer. Can you afford to lose one of your regular trade outlets?


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies. We generally clean and fill the same or next day. I was just curious to see if we could maybe get a head by washing more kegs than what we need for the current batch. Even if we did they would only sit empty for about a week, two at the most.


          • #6
            Ah. The following day, yes. But I definitely wouldn't risk a week or more without full clean ans sanitisation