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Thread: Beer Stone

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    5

    Beer Stone

    Does anyone know the difference between the thin slimy brown stuff that grows in lines and comes out as long "flakes" when cleaned, VS the smaller spot like stuff that grows in other lines?
    Typically I see the flakey long stuff in light beers like Miller and Coors, and the spot like chunks in IPAs. I've never took the time to learn since my caustics and acids seem to handle both just the same.
    Thanks for your time

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    560
    Quote Originally Posted by Beerlinecleaner View Post
    Does anyone know the difference between the thin slimy brown stuff that grows in lines and comes out as long "flakes" when cleaned, VS the smaller spot like stuff that grows in other lines?
    Typically I see the flakey long stuff in light beers like Miller and Coors, and the spot like chunks in IPAs. I've never took the time to learn since my caustics and acids seem to handle both just the same.
    Thanks for your time
    I believe you are referring to a protein buildup that occurs with repeated light (or non) cleaning. I have pulled this out of about 6-7 brewhouses from previous operators who only chase with HLT water, or only pass through chemicals with a non-turbulent short contact time. It is usually worse on the hot side pipework, but I have seen it on beverage lines and pretty much anywhere that contacts beer for extended periods. It usually forms as a very light film that eventually develops a brownish tinge, and eventually will flake off on its own once enough protein has coagulated. This can harbor bacteria if allowed to persist.

    Any spotty growth on the lines themselves is likely biological (read: mold), but you could go through laboratory processes to identify further if needed. A strong caustic/acid cycle with proper contact time and a good sanitizer (PAA is my preference), should remove and help prevent the film formation and any biological growth. Active cleaning is much better than passive, however both are effective if done properly at the correct intervals.

    Spotty chunks in IPA's may just indicate yeast or protein coagulants that are pouring off from unfiltered beers, or they could indicate calcium oxalate scale that is flaking off from the kegs, but it would be hard to say without some more details.

    My experience is that a lot of (macro) beverage reps are not invested in the quality of their dispensed product, and therefore often overlook a proper cleaning in exchange for a very fast passive push of a diluted budget cleaner, or maybe just clean water, or maybe not at all. The film will build up, and in bad locations slimy biological growth will appear. Again, IMHE, they NEVER take apart the faucet head. Once in a while a great person comes through and either replaces the system parts or cleans it properly. That person moves on before long.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    5

    Re: Beer Stone

    Thanks for that, very informative. That's exactly what happened. The long draw lines in this bar were neglected for years before I started cleaning here. I've ran acid and high quality caustic for hours at a time multiple times here and a considerable amount of flakes came out, but they don't seem to stop coming out and the lines in the box are visibly dirty. Due to the amount of chemicals I'm burning through and time, at what point will I know if they are cleanable, or to tell the owner they need new lines? The owner does not seem open to new lines either.
    Thanks again,
    That was very informative. Much appreciated.

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