The most cost effective method for any bar, pub or restaurant to serve a large-scale amount of beer is using kegs connected through draught lines to taps that are visible on the bar. When using a draught system to dispense beer, it is crucial to keep the lines that allow the cold, frothy-goodness to flow flawlessly, spick-and-span. Because these draught lines are used to transfer alcohol directly from the keg into a patron’s glass, it is essential that these lines are free from traces of contaminants, as it would cause the customer’s beer to become tainted.
The following are reasons to keep draught lines clean and what not to do if the lines are believed to be contaminated:
The beer flowing through the draught lines is infused with yeast and when the yeast builds up over weeks of usage, it can clog the draught lines and spoil the taste of the beer. Yeast buildups can be spotted by its light, clumpy appearance, similar to that of a bowl of oatmeal. Typically found on parts of a beer system that are exposed to air, such as faucets, keg couplers and drains, any traces of yeast buildups should be thoroughly cleansed immediately to reduce the risk of spoiling the rest of the keg.
Another unpleasant substance that forms around the components of a beer system that are in constant exposure to the air is mold. Usually black or brown in colour due to the pigment of the beer, mold in or around the draught lines will not only ruin the taste of the beer, but can also be very hazardous to the health of those drinking the beer.
Accompanying the other malevolent materials that are caused by a lack of cleaning, bacteria is usually found in the draught lines as a result of beer sitting stagnant in the tubes for an extended period of time. Although the bacteria found in the draught lines is not an extreme hazard to human health, it can ruin the taste, smell and appearance of the beer. The presence of bacteria in the beer can result in it tasting sour and smell more like vinegar than the delicious brew that it should.
When attempting to clean the components of the beer distributing system, it is important to remember that soap and water just simply will not cut it. For cleaning the surface of areas around the tap and keg, soap and water is fine, but the lines will need a more thorough cleaning to dissolve the buildups of minerals, proteins and carbohydrates. In order to kill and remove substances such as yeast, mold and bacteria, you must use cleaning chemicals to sanitize the system.
Always wear protective equipment when attempting to clean the draught lines, as the cleaning solution usually contains toxic chemicals that may be damaging to your skin. Remember to wear personal safety gear such as rubber gloves and eye goggles when handling these chemicals.
When the draught lines have been cleansed of all the harmful materials, it is important to rinse the tubes out with water to remove any remnants of the cleaning solution. Once the tubes have been thoroughly flushed, check the pH level of the draught lines with a pH tester or litmus paper to make sure that there are no chemicals remaining in the lines. These lingering chemicals can be dangerous if ingested and can corrupt the beer.
For complete peace of mind surrounding your beer dispensing system, trust the regular cleaning and maintenance to the professionals. Draught WISE has been operating in Victoria for almost two decades, handling the installation, cleaning and maintenance of local bars, restaurants and breweries draught beer systems for a low cost. With the risks and reasons associated with attempting to maintain your own draught lines now clear, why not make the WISE choice and contact a Draught WISE technician for a free estimate.