Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Keg washing issues - gunk around the base of spear

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Lakeport, CA
    Posts
    88

    Angry Keg washing issues - gunk around the base of spear

    Hey All,
    We've been washing kegs for about 3 years now using a simple manual keg washer with 3 basic steps, but a few batches of beer later, we've got some build up. We dont "tear down" kegs and remove the spears all that often - probably every 6-10 runs or so. (Maybe this isn't often enough?) and I'm getting some build up at the base of the spear, around the outside of the ball/spring sleeve itself. PICTURE ATTACHED. NOTE: This is after quite a while of not pulling this keg apart.

    The good news is, we've been pulling them apart much more often now that we caught the issue, but taking spears out every other week just seems ridiculous.

    Our washing steps are:
    1) water rinse
    2) 5 mins detergent cycle (Bru-R-Ez/PBW) *including throttling the pressure down so detergent can "trickle" down over the spear*
    3) water rinse
    4) Sanitizer

    I'm wondering if I need to bump up the time we're "trickling" detergent down over the spear, or if there's something I'm missing. It seems like I shouldn't get that build up. Thoughts would be appreciated! We're starting local self-distribution soon and this is kind of gunk is unacceptable.

    Cheers,
    Tim

    Name:  dirty-keg.JPG
Views: 349
Size:  78.5 KB

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Posts
    61
    Isn't that part isolated from the beer by that gasket that sits on the little shelf there in the keg? I think the only way to get to that part is to remove the spear and wipe it out, and no keg washer will ever actually get to that part.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Lakeport, CA
    Posts
    88
    Quote Originally Posted by RipRap View Post
    Isn't that part isolated from the beer by that gasket that sits on the little shelf there in the keg? I think the only way to get to that part is to remove the spear and wipe it out, and no keg washer will ever actually get to that part.
    There's no gasket there, but I'm sure the base of the spear is forced down onto that shelf by the retaining ring. I just wasn't sure if this was normal as far as sanitation goes. If brewers agree that's normal, then great! I just wanted to make sure!

    Tim

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Largo, Florida
    Posts
    12
    The gasket is on the spear itself and is visible in your picture. As far as I know, RipRap is correct; a keg washer is not going to clean the neck out for you. Hopefully this is an isolated occurance, as that looks pretty heavy in my experience. Theoretically, none of that should be able to get down into the beer thanks to said gasket, but gaskets can fail and shit happens! If you're generally getting a little bit of beer and funk, that's not uncommon and pretty much unavoidable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    Posts
    348
    This seems like quite an excessive amount of gunk to me. Its not unusual for me to see some, but that is way beyond normal in my experience. I usually soak the tops of returned kegs in caustic prior to washing them, so its possible I have been washing away the majority of that build up prior to cycling the kegs.

    If you are only seeing this on the one keg, I would replace the gasket as it is probably leaking. If you see this on many, it may need a further look to see how it's happening. Are you seeing good results on the spear and inside of kegs? I have no experience using Bru-R-Eze on kegs as I have always used Cir-Q-Late or the X-Puma/Ultra Niter mix (or similar when not using Birko).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    231
    I have seen a small amount of junk in the necks of the kegs also, but not even close to that amount. I will maybe have some stuff around the ring on the bottom of the neck. I would check that o ring and see if it is worn out.

    I like the idea of soaking the head before washing. I like that.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Largo, Florida
    Posts
    12
    I doubt that the gasket is the problem here and didn't mean to imply so with my post. If it was damaged enough to let beer past, then the keg wouldn't be able to hold pressure. Also, you can see the seat for the gasket on the actual keg looks pretty clean. I'm pretty sure it's doing its job. The beer leeks in from the top between the neck and the spear over time. A caustic soak will certainly help (we usually spray some in the neck itself), but the only way out is the same way as in, so pulling the spear is the only way to really get it clean.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,719
    THe good news is that there is no product contact from that area. There is a large O-ring on the bottom, outside of the valve that seals the valve and spear to the keg, and that's on the other side of the O-ring.

    We only clean that area when the spear is pulled, which happens when we get a leaky valve, so not too often.

    The condition of the outside of the keg largely depends on the user. Some places send kegs back with the tops completely covered in grease, some let a leaky beer nut or bad gasket on a coupler fill the top of the valve boss with beer.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Lakeport, CA
    Posts
    88
    Quote Originally Posted by UnFermentable View Post
    This seems like quite an excessive amount of gunk to me. Its not unusual for me to see some, but that is way beyond normal in my experience. I usually soak the tops of returned kegs in caustic prior to washing them, so its possible I have been washing away the majority of that build up prior to cycling the kegs.

    If you are only seeing this on the one keg, I would replace the gasket as it is probably leaking. If you see this on many, it may need a further look to see how it's happening. Are you seeing good results on the spear and inside of kegs? I have no experience using Bru-R-Eze on kegs as I have always used Cir-Q-Late or the X-Puma/Ultra Niter mix (or similar when not using Birko).
    Thanks for the reply! This one I didn't take apart for quite some time just as an experiment to see how much build up goes on. The others certainly don't look this bad.... Inside of the kegs are great. Bru-R-Eze works fantastically, but I do run an acid like Ultra Niter every so often to keep the beer stone down. That does build up slowly (we have fairly soft water.)

    T

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Lakeport, CA
    Posts
    88
    Quote Originally Posted by OG727 View Post
    The gasket is on the spear itself and is visible in your picture. As far as I know, RipRap is correct; a keg washer is not going to clean the neck out for you. Hopefully this is an isolated occurance, as that looks pretty heavy in my experience. Theoretically, none of that should be able to get down into the beer thanks to said gasket, but gaskets can fail and shit happens! If you're generally getting a little bit of beer and funk, that's not uncommon and pretty much unavoidable.
    Yeah, definitly not a normal thing - I didn't take this one apart for quite a while to see how much build up there would be. As for missing the gasket in the picture, I think I've done too many double brew days lately - "If it was a snake it woulda' bit me"

    Cheers,
    Tim

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •