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Thread: DIY Tap line cleaning ideas?

  1. #1
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    DIY Tap line cleaning ideas?

    Looking for some ideas on good ways to clean the tap lines in our tasting room. Would like to avoid dropping $600+ on a specialized pump, etc. Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Enterprise, Oregon
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    I recently switched from static line cleaning to a pumped flow cleaning system. Our local brew supply store (Steinbart's in Portland, OR) set us up for ~$200. We don't use a fancy $600+ pulsating or reversing pump, just a Shurflo 8025-213-236 diaphragm pump--~$100. This pump has a pressure shut-off, so it won't blow your lines, and works just dandy. Throw in a couple of double-flusher cups, series cups if you have kegs in series, four faucet adapters,and some hose and you're ready to go. You can generally clean up to four lines at a time, in multiples of two, without the line restriction being too high. With the Shurflo pump, if the pressure is too high, the pump shuts down until it drops.

    Micromatic and Foxx will also carry everything you need, but you can probably find a better deal on the pump online.

    Check this out--everything you need to know about draft beer systems: http://www.draughtquality.org/ including line cleaning.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2012
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    I second using a beer pump for line cleaning. If you already use beer pumps in your draft system all the better. Some people dont realize they will pull line cleaner directly out of a pail. Just turn off your CO2 and drop the coupler in the bucket and open your faucet. If you dont already have beer pumps just buy one and hook it up to cleaning sockets where you can just hook your couplers up to the sockets and use the beer pump to pull cleaner through the lines. Beer pumps can run off any compressed gas, usually compressed air or CO2. Paying a bit of money to set up an easy to use and effective draft line cleaning system is some of the best money you will ever spend. The easier it is to clean your lines the more likely it will get done in a timely manner. If you set it up right you will save a lot of labor down the road.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2012
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    Virginia Beach, VA, USA
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    Good suggestions above. When in a pinch financially, I've used a clean keg to clean, rinse, sanitize the lines. First fill with hot water and caustic or acid to the proper dilution, then run a couple pitchers through each line (I like to go through each one with a pitcher's worth, then back through and fill another pitcher. Gives the chemis time to hydrate the gunk). Then rinse out the keg, fill with rinse water, do the same thing through the lines. Then fill with sani and pull through the lines. You will want to take off the taps and clean them thoroughly between the clean/rinse and sani run.
    It's cheap and effective, but takes a decent amount of time. So it can get you started in the mean time before you can save up for a system that'll make your life easier.
    Best of luck and cheers,
    Greg

  5. #5
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    Oct 2018
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    Tularosa, NM, Otero
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    I am wondering why plenty of vapor steam pushed through the beer lines is not used in the draft line cleaning process? I use it in my wine and cider cleaning lines all the time seems to work great. Nothing but a little of distilled water left in the lines.

  6. #6
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    west coast
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    anybody know a way to reverse the cleaning flow on a typical brewpub long draw system with pumps? i cant figure it out.

    i know flojet sells a reversal attachment, but not sure how that'd work without some pressure on the tap end of the line to push the fluid back towards the pump. we've got 100ft lines so self prime probably wont cut it here.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by brain medicine View Post
    anybody know a way to reverse the cleaning flow on a typical brewpub long draw system with pumps? i cant figure it out.

    i know flojet sells a reversal attachment, but not sure how that'd work without some pressure on the tap end of the line to push the fluid back towards the pump. we've got 100ft lines so self prime probably wont cut it here.
    FRV0001 Flojet Reversal Valve - It will allow you to run flow in reverse for cleaning. It doesn’t make use of the beer pump. You just bypass and long-draw clean as normal when daisy-chaining. Place jumper lines between faucet outlets (in one, out two). Pump from a bucket/sink/brink into tap one, out two, in three, out four, back to bucket/sink/brink. You get the idea. You could also push a brink with N2 to move the liquid and run to drain.

  8. #8
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    Oh yea and you can buy a duplex coupler to link your keg couplers on the cooler end.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brain medicine View Post
    anybody know a way to reverse the cleaning flow on a typical brewpub long draw system with pumps? i cant figure it out.

    i know flojet sells a reversal attachment, but not sure how that'd work without some pressure on the tap end of the line to push the fluid back towards the pump. we've got 100ft lines so self prime probably wont cut it here.
    Get the reversing valves and install one on every other pump. If you have an even number of pumps, this and some serial cups (if you have any serial keg set-ups), two faucet jumpers, two faucet lines adapters for in/out and two double-flushers will have you set up. You can clean four lines at a time, depending on line length and restriction. Trying to clean more than four usually results in too much pressure, which can blow or balloon lines.

    We have 45' of 3/8" trunk w/5' of 3/16" choker per faucet each direction and this works fine for us.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnFermentable View Post
    FRV0001 Flojet Reversal Valve - It will allow you to run flow in reverse for cleaning. It doesn’t make use of the beer pump. You just bypass and long-draw clean as normal when daisy-chaining. Place jumper lines between faucet outlets (in one, out two). Pump from a bucket/sink/brink into tap one, out two, in three, out four, back to bucket/sink/brink. You get the idea. You could also push a brink with N2 to move the liquid and run to drain.
    Wait- WTF. I thought the reversal valve reversed the output of the pump, so you could clean in both directions. Thats how it was explained, at least.

    Cuz if thats not the case, its kinda pointless for us.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by brain medicine View Post
    Wait- WTF. I thought the reversal valve reversed the output of the pump, so you could clean in both directions. Thats how it was explained, at least.

    Cuz if thats not the case, its kinda pointless for us.
    The reversal valve does allow you to clean in both directions. It bypasses the positive displacement pump. You need a separate pump to circulate solution through the system. For pretty much any pump/motor, you would need to reverse the magnetic field of the starter winding in order to have it pump in an opposite direction. I do not think this is possible on the design of the beer pumps. I have a copy of the installation instructions for the flo-jet reversal valve, if you need a copy PM me with your email address.

    The advantage to this type of cleaning is allowing multiple lines to be cleaned at the same time. It allows you to daisy chain the system. This way you can breakdown your faucets and clean them while your lines are circulating. If you have say 6 taps, this may not be a huge advantage. When you have 96, it makes a world of difference. Local company wanted $15K a year for tap line cleaning, a $1500 investment into pump/valves/etc was a worthy investment, especially when it provided a much better cleaning than static line cleaning, and took less time/labor. YMMV.

    Timm suggested a great low-cost pump for line cleaning that keeps your cost in a reasonable range. I used the same system on a 8 tap brewpub with great results in the past. If that is too much, static line cleaning through a pressurized keg is probably the best bet. No external pump needed. Ideally you would like a pulsating pump that "scrubs" the line when circulating, and you would reverse directions every other cleaning, but honestly if you clean often (like you are supposed to) then you will not accumulate enough material to need the "scrub". An ideal flow rate would be 150% of your dispensing flow rate, but again, no need to really measure it, you can simply run analytics on your taps if you have concerns. Clean your taps, then swab, plate, and incubate to look for contaminates. Process verified.

  12. #12
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    Unferm: I use the beer pumps (FloJet) with the reverser valves for cleaning. The reverser swaps the inlet and outlet of the pump, so it's still pumping forward. Just be sure to remember to turn the valves back to "dispense" when you're done! Using your existing beer pumps eliminates the need to buy a dedicated pump for cleaning.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  13. #13
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    That is good to know!

    I guess I just assumed it was a bypass and never really considered otherwise. Looking a second time, I do notice the dual liquid connections. I did also read the manual, but it does show a dedicated pump for circulation, which is how I have always ran anyways. I will keep that in mind for future short draw applications, but I will stick with the dedicated circulation pump on long draws myself. The advantage being up to 300' of line length at a time.

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