Kegerator Cleaning Guide: Keg, Beer Lines, and Faucets

by Karl S Updated on February 11, 2023

Drink beer, it’s good for you! Hello, and welcome to the video. In this video, I’ll be running through the processes for cleaning your corny keg beer lines and beer taps.

Firstly, if you have a new beer faucet, otherwise known as a tap, then I would strongly recommend that you dismantle it and soak all of the stainless steel parts in a cleaner before use. This is vital to remove oils from the manufacturer. You do not want these in your beer.

Do note that this is not advised for other parts, but I would give them a rinse in warm water. Your choice of cleaner can be an oxytype or something like PPW. Do not feel that you have to use these brands, though. There are plenty of alternatives out there that do the same thing.

Between 30 to 60 minutes is enough time for a soaking. Then, be sure to follow with a water-rinsing step to ensure that your taps are now chemical-free. Finish up with a short soak in a no-rinse sanitizer, like Star San or similar, before mounting the new tap in place.

Shown on the bottom right of the screen is a summary of this process. This process is a good practice to follow up on a quarterly basis at the very least if your taps are in constant use.

When removing the faucet, you may notice some residue build-up behind it. I tend to clean this out with Star San and a small brush, ensuring that it is left in a clean and sanitary state. By the end, let us now look at beer lines.

It is best to clean these first before your keg because the keg is best used as part of the process, though naturally you want the keg to be free of beer and yeast first. I strongly suggest that your beer line is cleaned every time before you add a new beer to the keg.

If you are someone who takes some time to empty a keg, then it would be desirable to clean the lines more often. I have encountered various people who fail to see the need for this, so let’s run through why you should definitely be cleaning your beer lines.

There are various reasons why this is important. Firstly, dirty lines will negatively impact the flavor of your beer. They are also a risk when it comes to contamination. Bacteria and yeast living in your beer lines is never going to be a good thing. Period.

There is also the issue of build-up of all sorts of nasties like beer stone that will coat your lines and result in a loss of poor quality. I could go on further, but I guess the point is already taken: clean your beer lines to keep your beer tasting great and to prolong the life of the lines themselves.

Your choice of cleaner is also very important to ensure a proper cleaning. Use a purpose-made product like LLC shown here from Five-Star Chemicals, though of course, like all of these things, there are other chemicals made by other companies that will do the job just as well, like Pipeline here, shown on the left.

A very important point here is to always follow the suggestions of the dose by the manufacturer. Too much and you can negatively affect your lines, just in the same way as too little will. Remember that your lines are silicon and not as resistant as stainless steel, for example.

This process then starts by adding the diluted line cleaner into a keg that is already clean. Then simply attach the lid to your CO2 gas, shown.

It is really easy when done like this, so there’s no need to overcomplicate it. You may wonder what the green electrical tape is for next to the left ball lock. This is quite simply a very visible indicator, showing which side the CO2 ball lock is.

This is certainly much easier to see compared to the markings on the keg, especially in low light. Then, you can add the keg to your kegerator, connecting up the CO2 and beer line, ready for cleaning.

This process is made very easy if you use either Intertap or Nucotap faucets, as they have a swap-out spout that can be added that has a bulb, so you can then connect a silicone hose. This is sold as a growler filler, but it’s perfect for line cleaning too.

You then run the cleaner through the lines, up into the faucet, and then into a bucket via this extra silicone hose connected to the faucet spout. I tend to run the cleaner through for just a few minutes or so, and then stop once I can see that there is only cleaner in the line. I then let this do its work for five to ten minutes before moving more cleaner through the line and then stopping again.

The time you want the cleaner in the lines is ideally 20 to 30 minutes to do a good, thorough job. Having said this, that will depend completely on the products you use, so be sure to follow the instructions.

After this, repeat the same cycle with water, and then finish with a cycle of sanitizer, like Star San or similar. Remember that Star San or similar cleaners are reusable, so collect these at the other end in a suitable vessel for storage.

Here is a quick summary of the steps to the process, for reference on screen. It is fast and easy, but even if it wasn’t, then it would be worth the effort.

Let’s now move on to corny keg cleaning. Here’s a look into one of my kegs after serving. Not very pretty, I know. You can see that there’s a buildup of trouble on the bottom that is caked on, but frankly, it is what you cannot see that is the main issue.

To stainless steel, unlike your brewing system, kegs really need special treatment to ensure many years of problem-free use. Regular cleaning is particularly important for kegs because, like your beer lines, beer stone can form, and this can be a real task to remove after neglect and acts against sanitization.

A good equipment-free method of keg cleaning is to fill your keg just over halfway with hot water and add an appropriate amount of cleaning product. Again, PBW or similar is advised here.

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Leave the keg in this position for at least 30 minutes, and then turn it upside down again for at least 30 minutes.

Then, repeat this with a water cycle, or maybe you’ll want to do the whole thing at once, entirely up to you. Again, using hot water, finish off by adding Star San sanitizer to 25% of the keg’s volume and give it a good shake to ensure contact with the whole keg.

Allow at least three minutes of contact time to ensure that your keg is now sanitary. I’ve put a summary of this on screen, but we’re not quite done yet.

An important final step when using the equipment-free method is to remove the ball lock posts and dip tube and give these a clean separately.

You will note that the post that serves your beer line has some smaller internal parts that become free when you unbolt the post, so be careful with these. Dropping them can result in a hunt to find them again.

Equally, when reattaching this post, ensure that the middle section is correctly placed with a nice tight fit, otherwise, things are going to get very messy very fast when you apply pressure.

The actual dip tube itself is quickly and easily removed, as shown, and can be individually cleaned again using the turning method with cleaner, just like the keg.

Removing the CO2 post is more simple, as it is just one piece, and can be added to the other items in a bucket for cleaner, water, and sanitizer cycles. Having said this, it is much easier to use equipment to clean your kegs, so let’s look into this now.

You will find that there are various equipment-based cleaning products out there in the home brew market, designed to make your kit cleaning more efficient and easier.

The more popular of these are three models shown on screen now, going from the left, we have the Bucket Blaster, then the Mark II Keg Washer, followed by the SS Protect Keg Washer. In short, the first two are by far the cheapest and can also clean more than just kegs.

It is fair to say that there are various pros and cons here when it comes to making your choice. I’m not going to go into that in this video further, but you will find much online already that could help you decide.

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And if you are so inclined, some have also made their own keg washers using a bucket and a pump with fittings. So, there is that option also. Personally, I opted for a cheaper solution with the Bucket Blaster, as shown here, cleaning a fermenter. And frankly, once something is clean and sanitary, then that is all there is to it.

I use floating dip tubes within all of my kegs, and love that I can clean these at the same time as the rest of the keg. And because of the method you are using, you use much less cleaner and sanitizer products than you would without equipment.

Because part of the cleaning kit is fittings for the ball lock post, you also avoid much time and hassle, and the whole process in general is simply faster, more efficient, and easier.

Naturally, you will still run the same cycles of cleaner, water, and sanitizer in that order, but shorter run times of the cleaner and water are very viable due to the delivery method.

Whichever equipment option you find best suits you, I’m sure that it will not be a purchase that you regret, especially now, as there are different options to suit different uses and budgets. Still, all of this aside, whichever way you decide to go, it is certainly going to be a lot more fun than going back to bottling your home brew.

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This now brings this video to a close. If you have any questions, then please let me know via YouTube or Facebook. I do hope that you found this video to be useful, interesting, and enjoyable.

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Additional Cleaning Resources: