Kegs are stored in a keg fridge. The location of this keg fridge is usually under the back of the bar or in a walk-in cooler near the kitchen. In some restaurants or bars, the beer can be coming from as far as 50 feet away! Without proper beer line cleaning and maintenance, draft beer can become tainted and contaminated.
This is bad for the bar / restaurant owner and the beer lover alike!! Knowing the importance of cleaning beer lines is an invaluable lesson for any restaurant or bar owner.
How do beer lines become dirty?
Yeast – Beer contains yeast. When lines are not properly cleaned, yeast builds up and can clog the lines as well as effect the taste of the beer being served. Yeast build up may result from a small amount left from the brewing process. It can be recognized by its white or grey color and is usually found on the surfaces of the beer system that are exposed to air: faucets, keg couplers and drains for example.
Mold – We all know that mold can be hazardous to your health. Mold also has an effect on beer. When the beer system is exposed to the air there is a risk of mold growing. It can be recognized by its brown or black color and is found on surfaces that are exposed to air: faucets, keg couplers and drains.
Beer Stone – Beer stones are Calcium Oxalate deposits that are created during the brewing process and is a result of combining calcium and oxalic acids or salts at cold temperatures. Beer stones will build up and eventually flake off on the inside of the beer lines if not properly cleaned. They have a negative effect on the taste and quality of beer.
Bacteria – Bacteria found in beer is in small enough amounts that they typically do not present a hazard to human health. However, a bacteria build up can be potentially harmful. In addition, if lines are not cleaned properly the bacteria will negatively effect the taste and quality of the beer.
Effects of Dirty Beer Lines
Why is it important to clean beer lines? Different people have different tolerances to any number of molds and bacteria. Some of the schmutz in an unclean line will cause a different reaction in people who are more sensitive than others. In addition to possibly getting customers sick, uncleanliness will result in the quality and taste of the draft beer being negatively effected.
Some bars and restaurants are hyper about changing and cleaning beer lines. They understand this procedure will result in delicious tasting draft beer that will leave their customers coming back for more!
Do’s & Don’ts of Beer Line Cleaning:
- Do use effective line cleaning chemicals
- Do remember to flush the beer from the lines with water before cleaning
- Do clean lines regularly
- Don’t use just soap and water
- Don’t forget to wear protective gear when handling chemicals
- Don’t forget to flush chemicals from lines with water after cleaning
Dirty keg lines result in poor beer quality and possible customer health issues that should be very concerning for restaurant and bar owners. All this is assuredly passed down to their customers and leads to a unpleasant customer service experience!
Yeast, mold, beer stones and bacteria have different effects on different people. The presence of these items in beer lines will negatively effect taste and quality. Use the correct chemicals and flush the lines with water before and after cleaning beer lines. With regular cleaning of beer lines, restaurant owners can serve their customers with great tasting beer without worry!