Spring Cleaning

BEER - WHY DOES CLEAN MATTER?

  • May 4th, 2017
  • By Jeremy Moore

Spring has sprung! That means most of us are busy with spring cleaning around the home. Since you may already have cleaning on the mind, and you may be enjoying a cold beverage, it is an ideal time to discuss the importance of clean draught lines and clean beer glasses.

CLEAN DRAUGHT LINES MATTER

Have you ever been out to a bar or drank from your home draught system, enjoyed a pint or two of your favourite beer and ended up with a headache, or worse - a hangover and upset stomach the next day? Ever had a pint of beer that feels slick in your mouth and unintentionally tastes like butterscotch or movie theatre popcorn?

This is most likely the result of draught lines that have been improperly maintained. Within 3-10 days of a draught line cleaning, microbiological colonies begin to form inside the draught lines - bacteria, yeast, mould, and beer stone will build up and quickly degrade the quality of draught beer. Aromas, flavours, and even appearance, can be affected by these culprits. Enforcing a proper line cleaning schedule will ensure that the beer is served to the customer as the brewers intended.

In an ideal world, draught lines would be cleaned every two weeks. Realistically though, 4-6 weeks is sufficient, or with each beer style changeover, whichever is more frequent. This can be done with cleaning pots and letting a solution of warm water and sodium hydroxide (caustic) soak in the lines for a minimum of 20 minutes, or the use of a line cleaning pump that vigorously circulates the same solution. Once the solution has done its duty, it needs to be flushed with clean water until all chemical has been removed. In addition to cleaning the actual lines, the faucet and couplers must be disassembled and cleaned as well - with particular attention to the faucet, which is the last component that beer touches before reaching your glass as it is constantly exposed to oxygen, an arch-nemesis of beer.

CLEAN BEER GLASSES MATTER

Speaking of your beer glass, this is another important part of this equation. An improperly cleaned glass can make all of this hard work a moot point. Whether at home or at a bar, using the incorrect detergent (no oil based detergents!), or using beer glasses for dairy products or Caesars, can leave behind beer-spoiling residues. If you have ever seen a pint served with bubbles coating the side of the glass, this is the CO2 in the beer clinging onto whatever residual grime has been left behind. Scrubbing each glass with a three-head beer glass specific brush will seriously improve your beer glass cleanliness. A quick spritz on a glass rinser prior to pouring should help to relieve the glass of any dust that may have accumulated since it was sanitized and remove residual detergent that may have been left behind.

I’ll leave you with the words of Charles Papazian, nuclear engineer, brewer and founder of the Brewers Association - “The best beer in the world is the one in my hand.” Keep it clean out there and keep your stick on the ice.

Cheers,

Jeremy Moore
Brewer