How to Clean Your Tap Lines
Nobody likes a dirty tap. You go to all this trouble to create this beautiful, aromatic, tasty delight…the last thing you want to do is cover that up with the smell of a band-aids and dirty socks.
So clean it up! We recommend cleaning your tap lines and faucets every time you change out your beers as it only takes a few minutes and will save your beer all kinds of problems. There are several ways to skin this cat. I’ve found this to be the easiest method:
- Disconnect all quick releases from your kegs. Remove ball locks from the beer and gas lines. Place the beer line in a pitcher so the remaining liquid in the line doesn’t leak all over your kegerator.
- Remove the faucet from your tap tower or wall by unscrewing the nut. Disassemble, and soak faucets and ball locks in a small solution of PBW. Pay attention to how the faucet comes apart so you don’t lose any pieces and you can reassemble when ready!
- While those are soaking, fill a bottle with warm PBW solution. Connect the bottle to the tap where your faucet normally goes. Amazon sells several kits to make this step easy-peasy. This is the one I have.
- With the beer line still in the pitcher, run the PBW in the bottle through the tap line. The slower the better here. Rinse the bottle to get the PBW out, then fill with clean water. Reattach to the tap assembly and run this through the line again. Empty and rinse your pitcher, then return it to the bottom of the beer line.
- Fill the bottle with Star San or your favorite no-rinse sanitizer and run that through one time. Remove the pitcher.
- Pull the small items out of your PBW solution. Use a small brush, such as the one in the kit above, to scrub the inside of the faucet and the spigot of the disconnects. Rinse clean, allow to soak in your pitcher of Star san for a couple minutes, then reassemble.
- Reinstall the faucet and attach the disconnects to the respective gas and beer lines. Reconnect to your next keg when you are ready to dispense the finest!
Don’t have the ability to connect a bottle to the faucet line or looking for an even deeper clean? Instead, you can fill your newly cleaned keg with warm PBW and connect it to your system just like you would dispense beer. Do the same with clean water and Star San, and voila!
Or, if you prefer to save on CO2, you could connect a pond pump to your draft lines via a ball lock, recirculate your preferred cleaning solution, rinse, and Star San.
Finally, you could get one of these Perlick bottle fillers and connect the other end to a two liter or spray bottle, then run liquid in the reverse direction back through the system. This is similar to the detailed methodology above but you don’t have to take off the faucet.
You’d be amazed at all the filth that can add up in there after just one cycle. Most bars probably aren’t this rigorous, but most turn over their beer a lot faster and so only need to clean every now and again. And, most bars aren’t serving your precious homebrew.