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Cleaning beer lines in beer bar. Advice needed!

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  • Cleaning beer lines in beer bar. Advice needed!

    We're looking at opening a large beer focused venue here in Australia with at least 20 great beers on tap. This number of taps is very uncommon here so I would love to hear from American beer bar /brewpub owners/managers about the pitfalls of operating this number of taps (or more as is often the case over there).

    I'd also like to hear about cleaning the lines. I've heard of technology called Q-Guard ( ) which apparently ensures beer is kept pristine for much longer than normal, meaning less frequent line cleans and wastage whilst maintaining the highest beer quality.

    Any thoughts, opinions, tips etc would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Line cleaning

    We have found that we waste the least amount of beer AND keep our lines in great condition by cleaning between each and every keg. Train your bartenders or bar backs to do it as a course of regular business and it will not become the huge project some multi-taps face/avoid.

    Chris McKim
    The BREW Kettle Taproom and Smokehouse
    Strongsville, Ohio


    • #3
      Oztapguy I have worked for over 16 years in some of Australia's most respected pubs and bars as well as some of the least respected. A 20 tap system with twenty lines is not unusual at all.

      Are you from Andale beer systems?

      As for cleaning times 28 days would not be my preference for a full chemical cleaning cycle. I would advise weekly or at a minimum fortnightly as there is much more to a beer system than the lines. The more beer runs through the line the more critical regular weekly cleaning becomes.

      Even contact your local industrial brewery (I have had experience dealing both CUB & Lion Nathan) and If they tell you 28 days is the way forward then please let me know so I can eat my beer manuals.

      As a Cellarman publican and now brewer I have experienced the dissapointment that dirty or unsantised lines can bring when the promise of that special/craft or just even end of the day beer is tainted by lazy or ill informed practice. There is no hope for any cost cutting in the cellar particulary as beer is worth between $16 and $22 AUD (over the bar) in this country.

      If you so wish send me a PM and I can direct you to some of Australia's most talented beer tech's or some of the Hotel industry run training courses that will provide more than satisfactory training in this area.
      Last edited by Beer Guy; 08-08-2007, 07:01 AM.


      • #4
        Originally posted by brewkettle
        We have found that we waste the least amount of beer AND keep our lines in great condition by cleaning between each and every keg. Train your bartenders or bar backs to do it as a course of regular business and it will not become the huge project some multi-taps face/avoid.
        How do you do that? Do you not have a FOB detector? (which will keep the beer line full of beer) Also, does that mean you will clean the beer lines during a keg change in the middle of a busy Friday night?

        I think the only reasonable way to cut line cleaning cost is to reduce beer line ID and length, which you may not always be able to achieve.


        • #5
          He probably means he chases the lines through with water after each beer however agreed it would be a massive waste of beer and time particulary with a FOB detector.


          • #6
            Yes, clean the line!

            Yes we clean the line between every keg. Caustic then acid then no rinse sani. That means you are without a line for about 45 minutes with a bartender and barback communicating via intercom. Its quick and relatively painless and provides a perfect product every time for your customer. Your line is packed with sanitizer you simply push out with the next product.

            We have a long draw (150') of all stainless couplers/tail pieces/wall brackets and faucets along with high quality barrier tubing complete the system.

            Chris McKim


            • #7
              Wow. I can't imagine shutting a line for 45 minutes in a busy bar. Would think that training the customers is more of the issue than training the bartenders. Do you have multiple taps of the same product? I know at some mega-bars they have duplicate taps for each beer. If that's the case then I admire your discipline cleaning after each keg. Otherwise, I can't imagine a customer being told to wait 45 minutes for his beer.



              • #8
                We have 25 handles

                We have 25 handles with NO YELLOW MEGA BEERS! Almost all American Craft Beers with an occasional world class entry like Aventinus Weizenbock or Boon Lambic. Our customers come for the beer, you are right there is some training for the servers as well as customers. But, most can easily look at our ever rotating list and pick something else they want to try.
                Keep in mind that most of what we serve is full flavored and often unfiltered or lightly filtered so it has a heavy bio load in it and will flavor the lines if we do not clean it properly EVERY TIME. You can only imagine how quickly Rogue Brewer will taste of peaches if poor cleaning technique is used to follow DFH Festina Peche.
                I am sure we would all rather have 23 lines pouring our beers properly and tasting fresh than 25 that all start to taste the same with lots of waste from mass line cleanings.
                Last edited by brewkettle; 08-09-2007, 05:54 AM.


                • #9
                  just curious, wouldn't other beers sharing the same trunk line affected (temperature-wise) when you run line cleaning?

                  I do admire your high standard for cleaning! Amazing!


                  • #10
                    Chris -

                    I tip my hat to you then. BTW, I said mega-bars, not mega-beers. Didn't mean to call ya yella.