Friday, July 10, 2015

Cheap Beer Line Cleaner System



If you'd ask me about cleaning my beer lines, I'd say I do it about every 2 weeks, until I really think about it.  In reality it's about every 5 to 6 weeks.  Whats worse, I think I clean my lines more frequently than most other homebrewers.  (Currently I'm replacing my keggor which allows me to see how important regular cleaning is.)  I have 4 taps on my old system.  2 of which have stainless shanks.  The other 2 are chrome plated brass.  Let just say, don't purchase chrome plated brass if you are building a keggor. (they are replaced on the new system)  No matter what you have, cleaning is essential to good beer. 

My cleaning ways of the past was filling up a scotty keg with Beer Line Cleaner (BLC) and running it thru my system into a bucket.  This system, easy as it is, didn't allow me to re-circle the cleaning liquid as directed on the bottle.  It was a one time shot thru the line, shank and then out the Perlicks. If a line needed extra cleaning, I was out of luck.  Having to blend more BLC into the keg and waste more Co2.  I needed something better.


I found these on HomebrewFinds.com (mine appear to be from a different vendor but look like the same product without the scratches) a couple months back.  A liquid quick connect with a barb or PET screw cap (for 2 litter soda bottles)  How cool is that? Seems so simple yet so practical for brewing applications.  I quickly picked up 3 of them for 12 bucks each, which I now see at about 10 bucks each.  Shipping from China took about 15 days. 

Next I picked up about 3 feet of 1/4 beer line and attached it to the barb.  Since this was low pressure I didn't even use a pipe clamp.  The end of the beer line was fitted with a plastic connector that goes into my aquarium pump.  (Which I purchased two of off Amazon for 12 bucks each)  This makes taking this beer line on and off easy for storage. 

I grabbed one of my white three gallon food grade plastic buckets from Lowes and marked on the outside the recommended amount of Beer Line Cleaner (BLC) to water ratios.  I ended up having to cut a notch out of the top of bucket to fit under my shotgun double beer towers, so I didn't have to hold it at an angle. Which ended up being about an inch down by 3 inches wide.

Now that the bucket is filled, I just walk up to my keggor and quick connect the black liquid line to the stainless quick connect and turn on the pump.  Allowing it to run for about 15 minutes on each tab.

After, I run water thru the lines for about 10 mins.  Easy as that. Clean beer lines with minimal effort.  My keggor sits outside on a balcony, with 6 hours of solid sunlight, so with the ease of this set up I've started cleaning the lines every Saturday morning as the kids watch TV. 

In total this whole set up cost me under $25.00.  Including the pump, stainless connector and new beer lines.  

 



12 comments:

  1. Who is the rarely cleans keg lines group...? I slowly raise my hand. I think your cleaning regiment is great! I only clean when switching kegs out...can't be pretty in there... Now excuse me while I go clean my kegs.

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  2. You may have seen this already, but in case you haven't, I thought you'd appreciate it:
    http://www.ritebrew.com/product-p/843692.htm?Click=7532

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    1. I would love that. But at $73.00 it is a little out of my budget for cleaning.

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    2. Yeh those manifolds are a chunk. Hope your new kegerator turns out well.

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    3. Thanks John, I have 2 out of the 4 taps installed. Lowes didn't have another toilet flange for the other tower. I have 2 new beers carbing up this morning.

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    4. Also just found these:
      http://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/ball_lock_jumperpost.htm

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  3. I _always_ break down kegs, my lines, unfortunately don't see as frequent cleaning. I'm overdue for a line replacement too. cool setup.

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  4. Guilty. I'm buying this stuff now. Thanks for design.

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  5. Do you guys thing the aquarium pump would have enough power to handle the 4 output design of the ritebrew product? I'm up to 8 tap handles now, so the ability to clean four at a time is pretty tempting...

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    1. I would be interested to see that as well. Though I already have a sump pump I use for my carboy/bucket cleaner and recirculating icewater for chilling. You could throttle the flow with a cheap garden hose valve... Or you could somehow rig up a march pump with a bottling bucket or something. I got my sump pump on CL pretty cheap, like $30 or something.

      I am only using cobra taps right now so correct me if I'm wrong but why couldn't you just daisy chain all the taps together and connect the ball lock connectors together using brewhardware's product (see my post above). Kind of like how this guy did it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8qZUlTSW0Y . With 8 taps it would cost ~$20+shipping for 4 jumpers. All you would need to connect the taps together would be some silicone hose. You wouldn't even need the barb-->ball lock QD post part.

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    2. The pump above would not be able to move that much liquid. I used it on my 120' coiled jockey box and it can not push that much volume thru.

      They do make bigger GPM pumps or a march pump would do the trick.

      John, that is a pretty sweet attachment to have around the house. Might have to get one

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Thanks for Commenting, Prost!