How to clean a beer tap might be a process you have never given much thought to. Whether you run a bar or enjoy taking beer at a pub, you want to serve or get served a fresh-tasting cup of beer every time.
However, the source of the beer must be cleaned as often as possible. In this guide, we will talk about how to clean and maintain your beer tap in simple steps so it keeps pouring fresh beer no matter how long it has been in use.
How To Properly Clean a Beer Tap
Procuring the right equipment, cleaning the beer tap lines, and washing the couple and faucet are the main steps to follow when planning to clean your beer tap.
Cleaning a beer tap is easy; you can do it without extra help. As we have stated earlier, the beer tap system is made up of different parts, so it is essential to know how to disassemble a beer tap before you clean it. We would focus on the three main parts of a kegerator cleaning: the beer tap lines, the faucet and the coupler.
Follow these simple steps to clean your beer tap without any hassle:
– Getting the Required Equipment and Expertise
Generally, there aren’t too many materials and tools needed to clean your beer tap system. The common ones include the following:
- The cleaning agent
- Faucet brush
- Medium-sized bowl
- Standard wrench set
- Cleaning pump (preferably electric)
You can buy your beer cleaning kit and the right cleaning solution at local homebrewing stores; there are also options to buy them online. Typically, a beer tap cleaning kit comes with a cleaning bottle that will help you pump the cleaning solution through the beer line. It is advisable to buy liquid cleaners because they easily mix with water, saving you enough time. However, powder-based cleaners are usually more economical despite requiring additional mixing time.
Suppose you do not have the knowledge and expertise to clean your beer tap adequately. In that case, it will be best to hire a professional beer tap line cleaner to clean your taps regularly. You may need to check with your local food safety regulation to check how frequently you can clean your beer taps.
– Cleaning Beer Tap Lines
The materials and tools you will need include:
- Rubber hand gloves
- Safety glasses
- A commercial beer line cleaning solution
- Cleaning kit with its pump
The steps involved in cleaning tap lines include the following:
- Step 1: Start by stopping the supply of carbon dioxide at the regulator. It has a switch which can be turned off. This step should not be skipped, as the lines must be depressurized before they can be cleaned.
- Step 2: Disconnect the lines of the tap, and then the coupler can be removed from where it meets the keg. Then unscrew the beer hose using a spanner. Remember to put on your hand gloves and protective eyewear before you begin to clean.
- Step 3: Switch on an electric recirculating line cleaning pump, which is used to recirculate a cleaning solution to run through the lines. This is more effective than a pressurized cleaning bottle or hand pump as it can reach all the built-up molds and bacteria within the lines.
- Step 4: Pump the cleaning solution into the line. This cleaning solution could be one specific to beer lines. It could come in various brands, but it should be a better option than any random cleaner. You can leave the solution there for about 20 minutes.
- Step 5: Rinse the lines thoroughly with water. Empty the bottle that contained the cleaning solution and pour in clean water. Pump water through the lines the same way you did with the cleaning solution so it gets out all the solution. Getting all the cleaning solutions out is vital so that you do not drink beer contaminated with chemicals.
- Step 6: Disconnect your beer lines from the cleaning pump and reattach them to the keg and other parts of the beer system. Then do not forget to turn the carbon dioxide supply back on to have clean beer lines ready to transport fresh beer.
– Cleaning the Couple and Faucet
The tools and materials needed are:
- Cleaning solution
- Faucet brush
- Hand gloves
The steps involved here are:
- Step 1: Remove the faucet or tap from the tower using a spanner. Then remove the coupler to separate the beer lines and the keg.
- Step 2: Next, you have to immerse the removed faucet and coupler in a bucket or sink filled with cleaning solution after protecting your hands with gloves. This solution could be hydrochloric acid or a sanitizing solution. You can also use a brush, warm water and detergent to wash off any leftover residue. It is advised that you let the parts remain in the solution overnight.
- Step 3: Remove the faucet and coupler from the bucket or sink they were left in. Then proceed to rinse the faucet under running water thoroughly.
- Step 4: Reattach the faucet to the tower and the coupler to the keg via the beer lines. Be sure to screw them together properly to prevent leakages or damage.
Take note that depending on what is available, beer lines can also be cleaned using a hand pump cleaning kit or a cleaning keg. These equipment are all used in different ways to clean the lines. So do well to note how to use any of them to clean your lines thoroughly.
How To Maintain Your Beer Tap System
Beer tap maintenance is just as vital as cleaning it. You must take good care of the tap so cleaning days are not as long and stressful.
Here are some things you need available to maintain the beer tap:
– Beer Tap Cleaning Kits
A typical beer or draft cleaning kit contains all the tools and solutions you need to clean your beer tap. This includes a bottle with a pump that runs cleaning solutions through beer lines and other tap parts.
This kit usually comes with several guidelines and instructions, which you will do well to follow so you do not use the wrong material for the wrong purpose. The bar-king quick-connect cleaning kit is a good beer cleaning kit.
– Beer Cleaning Solution
Cleaning solutions could come either in powder form or liquid. While the powdery kinds are not as expensive, they require being mixed with water before being used, so you do not waste time cleaning. If you have ever wondered how to clean keg lines without a kit, this is a suitable option. There are different examples of commercial solutions you would find available for purchase.
Additionally, you can also hire the help of a cleaning service. There are professionals who know the best way to help maintain and clean your taps not only regularly but thoroughly. So, if you do not have time to carry these out yourself, you can get a professional beer tap cleaner to help. Their services are fast and convenient, so you might want to try them out.
Another item you could add to your beer tap system is a tap faucet plug. This plug helps to block the opening of the tap and prevent bugs or flies from creeping into it when it is not in use. So, when you want to run your beer tap, you could easily pull the plug and you will enjoy fresh beer. It also comes with a mini brush which can be used to clean the ends of the tap.
– Dos and Dont’s of Cleaning a Beer Tap
A dirty beer tap line will result in poor beer quality or even health issues. Mold, yeast, bacteria and other contaminants can have harmful effects on our health while negatively affecting the beer’s quality and test. This should be of big concern if you are a bar or restaurant owner or even a homebrewer.
Therefore, using the right materials and tools to wash the beer tap is crucial. The following are tips to keep in mind when cleaning your beer tap.
Here are the dos to take note of:
- Wear gloves or other protective gear when working with chemicals.
- Use effective tap cleaning chemicals.
- Remember to flush beer from the tap lines before cleaning.
- Clean tap lines regularly.
- Employ a professional cleaner if you don’t have the expertise.
- Keep your beer tap away from possible contaminants.
Here are the don’ts:
- Avoid using only soap and water to clean your beer tap.
- Don’t flush your beer line with dirty water.
- Don’t forget to wash chemicals away from the tap lines after cleaning.
Regular beer tap cleaning allows you to serve your customers or your family and friends great-tasting beer without worries about health issues.
How Often Should You Clean Beer Lines?
This depends on how often the beer tap is used to dispense beer and how many consumers are served daily — when there is high demand, once a week or every two weeks is advised, while for lower supply, it can be done every two or three weeks.
– Who Should Do the Beer Tap Cleaning?
The distributor or operator is responsible for cleaning beer tap systems, depending on where the business is located. While many operators understand why it is essential to clean a beer line, they tend to leave the responsibility to the distributor. However, this should not be the case.
According to regulations, restaurant and bar operators are responsible for cleaning in states like Illinois, Michigan, New York, Oregon, West Virginia, etc. However, most states, like Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maryland, etc., require wholesale distributors to clean the beer tap system.
Regardless of whose responsibility it is, you must always ensure that your beer lines are cleaned properly. Come up with a cleaning schedule, keeping in mind the recommended two weeks cleaning cycle. This will prevent your beer tap from physical, biological and chemical contamination. It will also make it useful for a very long period, saving you some money.
Frequently Asked Questions
– How Can You Identify Dirty Beer Lines?
If you start noticing changes in your beer, such as foamy or cloudy beer and an unusual taste, your beer tap needs to be cleaned.
Now, you do not want to wait to notice certain changes in your beer before you know it is time to have clean lines, which is why it is better to keep to a beer tap cleaning schedule.
– When Should You Replace Your Draft Beer Lines?
Replacing your beer lines about once a year is a great decision as long as you clean them regularly. Cleaning the lines every two weeks will keep them clean for a year or even more.
You now know that the fastest way to ruin your beer’s taste is by not keeping your beer tap clean, so you will have to clean it regularly. Do not forget to keep the following tips in mind:
- When cleaning beer tap lines, make sure to disconnect the parts to be cleaned using a spanner and be careful not to damage any of them while you’re at it.
- Make use of a good cleaning solution which should be rinsed thoroughly before the beer is run through.
- As an option to reduce the rate of contamination, you can make use of a faucet plug to protect the opening of the tap from flies.
- Do not forget to clean your beer tap if under heavy use once every week, but if not frequently used, clean it every two weeks.
Now that you have all the tips and steps explained above that will guide you to keep beer taps free of residue or accumulated dirt, what are you waiting for? Get those tools ready today and start cleaning!