The Ultimate Guide to Beer Line Cleaning

As brewers, pubs and restaurants work hard to re-open after long periods of being closed, the drinks will start to flow. However, with a dirty beer line, it can leave more than just a bitter taste!


They say cleanliness is next to godliness and this holds completely true when it comes to beer line cleaning. If you own or work for an establishment that sells beer, you should clean your beer line system regularly. A clean beer line is essential if you want to serve beer of good quality that keeps people coming back. You should clean your beer lines at least once every few weeks and stick to a regular schedule.

The Ultimate Guide to Beer Line Cleaning



Why Do Beer Lines Need Cleaning?

If not properly maintained, contaminants can build up on different components of the beer line. 

Dirty beer lines affect the taste of the beer and it also makes the beer unhealthy to drink for the 

customers. A customer can even fall ill after drinking this contaminated beverage.


Regular maintenance of beer lines will lead to them also lasting longer. This would be financially 

beneficial in the long run.


You should not wait for the lines to get visibly dirty to clean them. Even when the lines seem 

clean, they might have bacteria and tiny dirt accumulated. It is good practice to clean your beer 

lines even if they already seem clean.


Dirty contaminants also affect the smell and taste of the beer. Here are some of the main 

contaminants that are ruining your beer.

The Ultimate Guide to Beer Line Cleaning



Yeasts

Yeasts are usually found on the outside components of the beer lining system such as sparklers, 

couplers, chains and spouts which are exposed to the air. They are white or greyish in colour and 

can cause an infection.


Yeast can ferment and release carbon dioxide. The excess carbon dioxide leads to the foaming of 

beer that can lead to its wastage. It also affects the smell of the beer.


Yeast can also clog up your beer lines making them useless. Since it is used in the brewing process 

of many beers, small amounts of it may be left behind in the beer line leading to its rot. 

Sometimes yeast is also found in the air.



Mould

Mould likes to grow on damp areas, making it a threat for components such as tops of kegs and 

casks, cleaning sockets and drains. It is harmful to your health and can cause many diseases.


Research points out mould can cause respiratory diseases and some allergic reactions. It can also 

produce poisonous mycotoxins that are responsible for many diseases.


It’s usually green in colour and fuzzy in texture. It usually takes a long time to grow so it will 

only grow in your beer line if it is left uncleaned for many weeks. Something to definitely check 

for if you have been closed for a while.



Bacteria

Bacteria is responsible for the bad taste and aroma of beer. These microorganisms are different 

from the bacteria usually found in our kitchens and can make your beer taste sour or vinegary. 

Although bacteria may not harmful to your health, it should not be present in anyone’s beer.

The Ultimate Guide to Beer Line Cleaning



Beerstone

Scientifically known as calcium oxalate, it is brown in colour. It affects cask beer lines. It is 

one of the common causes of kidney stones and other kidney-related diseases. It is usually formed 

as a result of a reaction between caustic cleaners and hard water.


Apart from being harmful to health, it also shortens the shelf life of a beer. In some cases, it 

may ruin an entire batch of beer costing you both money and time.



Limescale

It accumulates on taps and in your kettle as a white layer. It can occur as a result of 

precipitation. Scientifically known as calcium carbonate, it can be gotten rid of using a


mild acid. It requires some time to be removed so the acidic solution must stay in the beer line 

cleaner for a while to completely get rid of limescale.



How to Tell If Your Beer Lines Are Dirty?

The best way to tell if your beer lines are in need of cleaning is by taste. If your beer has a 

sour taste like vinegar, chances are your beer lines require cleaning. The sour taste is due to 

acetic acid. If your beer has a buttery taste, it is likely contaminated by diacetyl.


Another simple way to determine if your beer lines are dirty is by simply looking at them. Dirty 

beer lines look cloudy or have a brownish tinge to them. Sometimes you can even spot mouldy residue 

accumulated along the lines.

The Ultimate Guide to Beer Line Cleaning



How to Clean the Beer Line?

You can hire professional help to clean your beer line if you are a beginner and unsure of what to 

do. If you want to do it yourself, it is an easy process and can be done within a few minutes.


Buy a chemical cleaner from a reliable shop. Don’t use a transparent chemical as it will make the 

entire process difficult. Cleaning a beer line is easy and there are two methods of doing it.

The Ultimate Guide to Beer Line Cleaning



Pressurised Cleaning

You should use this method if your beer lines are less than ten feet long.

●    Use a hand pumping cleaning bottle and fill it up with the cleaning chemical. Depending on the 

chemical, you might need to mix it with water.

●    Pump the cleaning solution through the beer line. Let it run for about 15 minutes.

●    Rinse the beer line with clean water to flush out the remains of the cleaning solution.

●    Soak the faucet and keg coupler in the cleaning solution as well. Rinse them in clean water.



Re-circulated Cleaning

You should use this method if your beer line is over 20 feet long. A motorized electric pump is 

used for this method instead of a pumping bottle. The electric pump makes the cleaning solution 

flow turbulently through the pipes and cleans them.



How Often Should You Clean?

How often you clean your beer lines would largely depend on how busy your pub or bar is. 

Nonetheless, you should get your beer line system cleaned regularly. Clean beer lines last longer 

thereby saving you money.


Use an alkaline detergent cleaner to clean your beer line at least once a week in busy 

establishments. You should disconnect all faucets and clean them at least once in two weeks. If any 

seal or gasket is damaged, you should get them replaced as soon as possible.


To clean any mineral deposits, you can opt for acid cleaning at least once a quarter. Make sure you 

are rinsing your beer lines with water after cleaning them with chemicals.

The Ultimate Guide to Beer Line Cleaning



What Chemical Is Used to Clean Beer Lines?

What type of chemical you use would depend on the condition of your beer line. Choosing a solution 

that removes the biological contaminant as well as killing microorganisms is recommended. Acidic 

and caustic cleaners should never be mixed together while cleaning.


There are three types of chemical cleaners available for cleaning beer lines in the market. It is 

recommended that you use a beer line cleaner that is effective in cleaning different types of 

contaminants.



Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an environmentally sustainable beer line cleaner as it is completely 

biodegradable. It cleans the beer lines by forming an oxidation reaction with the bacteria inside 

the lines. Depending on how much concentration you are using, it can clean your beer lines in up to 

15 minutes.


These types of cleaners can be on the more expensive side as they contain silver. They are only 

effective in cleaning bacteria, yeast and mould. They cannot clean limescale and beer stone. This 

is because they can only clean any biological contamination.



Caustic Line Cleaners

Caustic cleaners can clean protein, hop resins and other such contaminants. These line cleaners 

have been in use for over 40 years and are the most popular kinds of beer line cleaners. They can 

be transparent or come colour coded. It is wiser to choose the colour coded option as this will 

make the cleaning easier.


They contain a mixture of sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite. They can also increase the 

shelf life of the beer line. These cleaners cannot detect non-biological contaminants such as 

limescale and beer stone.


These cleaners are not environmentally sustainable. They can also be harmful to health if not 

handled properly.

The Ultimate Guide to Beer Line Cleaning



Surfactant Based Line Cleaners

These line cleaners use chlorine as a disinfectant. The surfactants have a head and tail. The tail 

attaches itself to the dirt and lifts it up to the surface of the beer line. This dirt is then 

flushed when the solution is flushed.


They are not as popular as the other two chemical cleaners and hence, it can be difficult to find 

them in the market.



How to Take Care of Your Beer Lines?

Beer lines are usually made from PVC vinyl. They are designed to prevent rotting and cracking. 

However, over time, if they are not maintained properly, they are susceptible to breakage. While 

using beer lines, make sure they aren’t tangled. A tangled beer line would break more easily.


If you are the owner of a pub or a bar, you must educate yourself as well as your employees about 

the cleaning process. All your employees must be familiar with the Draught Beer Quality Manual by 

the Brewers Association. The management should check diligently if all the cleaning policies are 

being followed through.


It is also a good idea to use a beer line protector chemical when your beer lines are not in use. 

This chemical will protect your lines by prohibiting the formation of biofilm and yeasts.

The Ultimate Guide to Beer Line Cleaning



How to Make Line Cleaning Less Expensive?

Buying different types of chemicals and cleaning your beer lines regularly can slowly get very 

expensive. However, it is completely possible to make the entire process more affordable.


Instead of waiting for something in your beer line system to break down, make sure you regularly 

check everything for cracks and breakage. Pay special attention to the weak spots such as flow 

controllers and fob detectors. When the beer flow slows, check the tangles in the beer line.


Also, try to avoid wasting beer while cleaning. You can do this by cleaning your beer lines when 

the cask or keg is empty. You can offer the extra beer to your customers at a discounted price.



Tips

●    Make sure you rinse out beer from the lines completely before running the cleaning solution. 

The leftover beer might dilute the cleaning solution, thereby leaving it ineffective.

●    You should use the appropriate amount of chemical solution while cleaning. If you use too 

little solution, your lines won’t be cleaned properly. If you use too much solution, it might ruin 

the beer line.

●    After rinsing out the chemical solution, you should run clean water through the line. To make 

sure the chemical has properly been rinsed out, you should check the pH of the clean water with 

litmus paper.

●    Never use regular soap and water to clean your beer lines. They are ineffective in cleaning up 

the contaminants in the beer line.

●    Remember that even with cleaning, beer lines should be replaced periodically.

●    You must use all kinds of chemicals carefully, as they can be harmful if not handled properly.

●    You should closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions while handling these chemicals. 

These instructions are usually printed in the manual that comes with them.


●    Make sure you are wearing protective gloves and eye protection while cleaning.

The Ultimate Guide to Beer Line Cleaning



Parting Thoughts

Drinking beer in moderation can be good for you socially. However, overconsumption of beer is 

harmful and it must only be consumed in moderation.


No one enjoys cleaning but making sure your beer line and all the related equipment are clean is 

important. A clean beer line is important not just for the health of your customers but also for 

the reputation of your pub or bar. Dirty contaminants will affect the taste of your beer.


If you want your customers to keep coming back for more, clean your beer lines

regularly!


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