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7 Tips for Safely Decommissioning your Draught Beer System

7 tips for draught beer cleaning

Here at CO2Meter we take pride in our involvement with many beverage dispensing industries, organizations, and establishments. Our hearts go out to the businesses who have to decommission their draught beer systems temporarily for whatever reason.

That's why we asked two of our long-term partners, the Draft Doctor and the IBDEA Draught School, to share some key industry insights on the best practices for cleaning and properly "putting to sleep" your lines.

How does a Draft Beer System work?

A draft beer system is also referred to commonly as a keg system or tap system. This method is used to serve beer directly from a keg to a glass or container. It is commonly used in bars, restaurants, and at home for serving fresh, carbonated beer. Below, we highlight the importance of cleaning these systems and how to do so safely. 

How to Clean my Draft Beer System?

Maintaining cleanliness is of utmost importance when shutting down a draught beer system. A poorly cleaned system can lead to the buildup of bacteria, yeast, and other harmful microorganisms that can negatively affect the taste and quality of the beer. Additionally, an unclean system can result in clogs, foaming, and other issues that can impact the dispensing process and waste valuable beer.

Proper cleaning and sanitization of all components of the system, including the lines, faucets, keg couplers, and regulators, is crucial to ensure the longevity of the equipment. That's why the system should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before shutting it down for an extended period.

What do I need to clean?

  • Faucet(s)
  • Keg Coupler(s)
  • Beer Line(s)
  • CO2 Tanks

Now let's get right to it.

How to Clean and Prepare Your Draught System for a Temporary Shut-Down

Step 1: Clean and rinse the entire draft system with water

Step 2: Use clean CO2 to push the water out of the system and displace any oxygen in the pipelines

Step 3: Shut off your gas supply to conserve carbon dioxide

Step 4: Shut off your glycol system

Step 5: Purge your kegs to remove any remaining gases or residue

Step 6: Refill kegs with 12-14 pounds of new CO2.

Step 7: Make sure any remaining kegs of beer are kept cold. A change in temperature can affect the flavor of the beer.

CO2 Safety While Cleaning

During this process, you will likely be working in an enclosed space with carbon dioxide (CO2). Because CO2 can rapidly displace oxygen in a room, you will want to have a portable CO2 detector on our near your employees. This way, you will be alerted to high levels of CO2 before your safety is put at risk. Our partners at the Draft Doctor and IBDEA Draught School keep their CO2 safety monitors on them at all times during this process. 

Bringing Your System Back Online 

If you have taken the above steps, you should be able to simply turn the system back on. Be aware that because you have used CO2 to push the water out of the system, your lines may be slightly pressurized. Don't be alarmed if a valve, clamp, fitting, or hose ruptures or disconnects.

CO2 Safety Monitoring

While CO2 is a critical element in many beverage applications it can also be a hazard in regards to personal exposure and CO2 leak points. Investing in proper carbon dioxide safety devices is always vital and provides further protection for your workplace. In the beverage industry it is important to educate workers on the hazard areas such as fermentation, walk-in draft coolers, brite tanks, and beverage dispensing areas. 

If you have employees around areas where CO2 may be stored or produced, a fixed wall-mounted device or personal safety monitor is always a priority. The CM-7000 Multi-Sensor System is an ideal choice for fixed devices, in detecting carbon dioxide levels in the ambient air and alerting employees should an incident occur.

With audible and visual alarms, as well as 12 unique sensor configurations with 4 relays, this device meets all local fire codes and can send an immediate alarm to the fire department or monitoring companies. 

Aside from fixed wall-mounted safety devices, we offer portable gas detectors to ensure safety "On-the-Go" like our SAN-10 Personal 5% CO2 Safety Monitor and Data Logger as well as the SAN-13 CO2 Leak Detector. These hand-held devices are designed for employees who work in enclosed areas where carbon dioxide buildup can cause personal harm.

Draft Installer CO2 Safety

Trust the Experts

If you do not feel comfortable cleaning your own draft lines, you can reach out to your local draft beer installer like the Draft Doctor. They will be happy to assist and get your taps in "tip-top" shape for your reopening.

If you would like more information about the IBDEA draught school, please contact David Whitney at the Draft Doctor or Dave Lincicome with Leonard's Syrup's - who would be delighted to share their industry wisdom and experience with you!

Depend on CO2Meter for Your Gas Detection Solutions

CO2Meter has been making gas detection solutions since 1996. If you are looking for a solution to your gas detection needs, contact us online, email sales@co2meter.com, or call at (877) 678-4259We pride ourselves in education and are ready to assist you in choosing the best suited device for your application. 


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