Why you shouldn’t be lazy (or cocky!)

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Yesterday evening I poured myself a pint of bitter and it had an off taste. It hadn’t been there when I last poured a pint a couple of days before but there it was, subtle but not nice.

I knew what it was immediately, it was diacetyl and I knew the cause, dirty beer line. Damn!

I am normally quite fastidious when it comes to cleanliness because despite people saying they’re not particularly thorough and never had a problem I do think cleanliness and sanitation are necessary for good quality fresh beer. But I slipped up…

I finished a keg of bitter and where I would then clean the lines before putting on the next keg, this time I didn’t. I thought “I’ve never had an issue with dirty lines and it wasn’t long since I last cleaned the line, I’m sure it’ll be fine.” It wasn’t.

This is a close up of my beer line, you can just see some whiteish specks - aghhh!

0D9D0A7A-A285-4D06-ACE0-6F1332CD37BA.jpeg


So today I’ve not only cleaned my beer lines, I’ve completely replaced them. I’ve also bleached the taps and disconnects. I’m taking no chances and will re-energise my cleaning regime having now seen first hand how quickly beer quality can be affected.

A lesson for me for sure, maybe a warning for others.
 
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I’m quilts of this. I’ve only cleaned my lines once in a year. I normally just pull a pint or do through the tap when I connect a new keg. Laziness for sure but when nothing goes wrong you become complacent.
might start doing a full clean up from now on though. I always dunk the disconnects into boiling water and then starsan when changing to be fair.
complacency is an enemy.
 
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I would usually put it down to pour brewing, usually removing the beer off the yeast too quickly.
Absolutely but not in my case given that all my brews ferment for between 12 and 17 days and the diacetyl was not apparent at all until some time after kegging. There’s also the crap in the pipe so I have my smoking gun.
 

Sadfield

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So, easy to undo so much good work. It must be so frustrating for pro brewers when this part of the process is largely out of their control, but reputation hangs it. As the above point about diacetyl illustrates.
 
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So, easy to undo so much good work. It must be so frustrating for pro brewers when this part of the process is largely out of their control, but reputation hangs it. As the above point about diacetyl illustrates.
That’s right. I’ve watched loads of videos on sensory training/analysis as part of my interest in improving my beers and quite a lot of them say that the biggest quality issue by far is a lack of good care in pubs and dirty beer lines tops the chart - as a brewer your reputation really is in their hands. People that don’t know better think it’s just rubbish beer (depending on severity).
 

foxy

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I have done similar, should make sure the sanitiser is up to scratch as it deteriorates. I use proxitane and the shelf life isn't to long, recommended is a year. I have kept it for two and its been fine, just pushed my luck a little too far and lost two batches.
Reminded me of Kramer on the test drive, seeing how far they could go when the tank indicates empty.
 
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To make it easier for me to be not lazy I’ve come up with a way to make cleaning a beer pipe less faff. Two fizzy drink bottles and a couple of carbonation caps.

1. Remove the empty keg
2. Connect the cleaner bottle to the beer and gas pipes
3. Glass/bucket under the tap and pour
4. Swap the cleaner bottle for the water bottle
5. As 3
6. Connect up new keg

263E2315-4048-408A-9519-EB3A9B9987E3.jpeg
 

Tess Tickle

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This is what I do at the minute, ⬆ but on payday I'm gonna get one of those pump spray things that screwfix sell for about a tenner.

I think it was @DocAnna that mentioned it, and it's a really good idea, along with your solution also. :D

 
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I'm almost a year in to kegging my routine is when keg kicks
1. Fill keg with 4 liters of boiling water slosh around then run it through line and tap
2. Fill keg with 2 liters of boiling water with starsan and run through lines and tap
Job done think I've been lucky so far
Never used line cleaning solutions maybe I should
 
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This is what I do at the minute, ⬆ but on payday I'm gonna get one of those pump spray things that screwfix sell for about a tenner.

I think it was @DocAnna that mentioned it, and it's a really good idea, along with your solution also. :D

I did consider the same option but plug and play wins the day! 😂
 
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I’ve been cleaning my beer lines every two weeks and been enjoying clean crisp beer ever since. Although I’m not tasting any off-flavours it’s clear that the lines do need cleaning every couple of weeks. Take a look at this short video clip. In the clip I’ve pushed beer line cleaning solution into the beer line and left it for 20 minutes. I’m about to flush it through with some fresh cleaning solution. The solution is bright pink when there is no contamination and goes blue/green when there is contamination in the line.


 
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If i have an empty keg i clean it then run some cheapo miltons through it and leave the line full even on my party taps, when i fill the keg i just run the ale through so far not had a problem in 2 years
 

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