Your draught beer system consists of any device or tubing in which the beer travels or flows through. This will include the keg, coupler,FOB device, trunk / beer line, tower and the faucet. Each of these items requires a regular measure of cleaning. We always recommend that you have your system cleaned every 14 days.
Draught Beer Line Cleaning:
It is essential to have your beer lines, FOBs, keg couplers and faucets cleaned regularly. Having your beer lines cleaned properly will ensure the beer being dispensed tastes the way the brewer intended and will provide your customers with great tasting beer every time.
Happy Beer = Happy Customers.
There are three reasons how bacteria effects your product:
As product moves and sits in a line, solids and bacteria will separate from the beer attaching to the wall of the tubing, eventually creating a hard marbleized material called beer stone. This process is especially found on systems that may not sell a high volume of product. If these solids are not removed before the beer stone forms you can expect your system to have a multitude of issues including foaming, clarity and off-tasting flavours. Once enough beer stone has formed it can not be removed and will require equipment or component replacement.
Every time a keg coupler is taken off a keg and put on a new one, the coupler allows air born bacteria to enter the system. The more kegs sold between cleaning the more bacteria is in the system. High volume systems that are not cleaned regularly will lead to a build up of this bacteria.
A major point of bacteria build up is at the faucet and requires full disassembly each cleaning. The faucet is the most frequently used part of your beer system, it is also an area where oxygen and air born bacteria can enter the system and begin to grow. Being the last point of contact between the keg and the glass, any bacteria at this point, will impact the the taste of the beer you are serving to your customer.
There are a multitude of different methods for cleaning beer systems, too many to put in this article. However we would like to address the preferred method for the cleaning of a long draw beer system.
A long draw beer system is defined is a beer system in which the line run length exceeds 20ft. This type of system should be cleaned using an electric pump method and should be cleaned bi-directionally. Meaning a reversal of flow to assist in the removal of build-up and bacteria. We use this same method for Direct Draw systems as well, because it is the most effective method for maintaining your system, no matter the size.
If a beer system is shut down for a seasonal application it should be cleaned at the time of shut down and at the time of start up. The gas and product systems should be thoroughly leak tested at time of start up.
A commonly overlooked system in your establishment, it is no less complex than your beer system. Fountain dispense systems have many components that need attention as well. While the cleaning and maintenance procedures need to be done far less frequently, it is still necessary to inspect and fix problems before they cause a disruption in service or affect customer satisfaction.