Cleanliness is next to godliness – No, that’s not just a saying. For serious home brewers, these words are gospel truth – from the moment you decide to brew a batch, to your first hop addition, to pitching yeast and aerating the wort, to bottling or kegging your beer, having a clean environment is a must. Any little microbes or dust particles can spoil a batch in a hurry, so keg cleaning is a must.
In keeping with this notion of maintaining a clean environment, I took to my home brewery and decided to do an update on my kegerator. I knew I needed to get new everything for the Cornelius keg (aka corny keg) I had just recently filled with my birthday beer – a smoked porter.
First things first – I’ve been having a hard time getting my disconnect separated from the post it is connected to. Something is stuck and I think maybe the ball bearings in the disconnect are worn. I got online and found disconnects and ball lock posts (complete with poppets) for less than twenty bucks total.
I’m thinking some new O Rings would be good as well. I also saw a listing for O Ring Lube, which will help keep them from drying and cracking too soon. I’ve looked up O Ring Replacement sets and found that they are not much more than a buck or two – pretty easy on the pocket. Considering that I had an issue with leaking CO2 out of my system and having no pressure to pour beer much sooner than anticipated, I figure I might as well cover all bases.
Keg Cleaning Checklist
Beer Lines and Keg parts
Use BLC to clean your lines, you can use Oxyclean too but BLC is by far a better product.
- Add cleaner and hot water to your keg, swish everything around and then run the hot water and cleaner solution through your draft system for a few minutes. This will clean your lines as well as your faucet.
- Dump the remaining solution and rinse the keg thoroughly until all cleaner is removed from your keg (4-5 rinses).
- Fill the keg half way with clean water and connect to your draft system again. Run the clean water through the system to remove the cleaner from the facet and lines until the water is done.
- Add a StarSan and water mix (according to StarSan directions) to the keg, roll everything around and run some of the solution through your lines.
- Disconnect and disassemble the keg removing all parts, lid, o-ring, pressure relief valve, posts, poppet valve, dip tubes and gaskets from both posts and place in the bucket of StarSan solution (the liquid out post might need an additional cleaning. If so, do that before placing in StarSan).
- Once you have cleaned and/or replaced all the items needed, reconnect/reassemble everything.
- Dump the remaining StarSan from the keg and connect the empty keg to your lines. Run some gas through the lines to remove the Star San still remaining within the lines.
- You’re done.
Cleaning the lines should be done every 2-3 corny keg rotations. Cleaning and sanitizing the keg should be done after each batch. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Once you have cleaned and/or replaced all the items needed, reconnect everything and give it a go. When finished, you should be able to enjoy the flowing beer from your newly updated/cleaned system. Cheers…