Beer Dispenser Maintenance: Cleaning Beer Lines, Maintaining Pressure, and More
Regular maintenance will improve the taste and quality of brew coming from your draft beer dispenser or kegerator. Does cleaning beer lines not sound like your thing? Not sure how to maintain a proper dispensing pressure? Don’t worry. We’re here to help make these things as easy as possible so you’ll be back to enjoying fresh pints in no time flat!
Cleaning Beer Lines
Always remember: A clean kegerator is a happy kegerator.
Keep the outside of your keg fridge sparkling with normal cleaning agents and some good old-fashioned elbow grease.
If you’re satisfied with the outside, it’s time to tackle those dirty beer lines.
Think your beer lines can’t be that dirty? Think again. Over time they collect deposits of yeasts and sugars that can negatively affect the taste of your beer and cause excess foaming. To avoid those problems, we recommend cleaning your beer lines after every ½ keg.
To make that as easy as possible, we’ve developed beer line cleaning kits that are both simple and effective. They use air pressure (either hand-pumped or powered by your CO2 tank) to push a mixture of water and beer line cleaning solution through your lines.
We offer a few different kinds of cleaning solution, but all of them are specially formulated to eliminate those unwanted deposits and sanitize your lines at same time.
Once you choose the cleaning kit that makes sense for you, click here to read detailed instructions (which are also included with your kit) and/or watch this easy-to-follow video that will guide you through the cleaning process.
Maintaining Proper Pressure
Successful draft beer dispensing is entirely dependent on maintaining your CO2 pressure in an acceptable range.
When you open the faucet to pour a beer, the CO2 in your tank pushes the beer out of the keg and then fills in the empty space created when the beer left. This exchange of CO2 ensures a steady pressure inside the keg (as monitored by your CO2 regulator) and keeps your beer bubbly and well-carbonated.
For proper dispensing and pressure management, remember these tips:
Find the Magic Number
In general, most US produced ales and lagers should be dispensed at 10 to 12 PSI. Stout and other nitrogen dispensed keg beers are usually dispensed at 25 to 30 PSI.
For the specific dispense pressure for a particular keg, check with the local distributor where the keg came from.
What Happens When You’ve Got Too Much Pressure
Essentially, too much pressure turns your beer faucet into a foamy fire hose. The beer will come out very quickly and with incredible amounts of tight foam with large, airy bubbles.
To fix this problem, simply adjust the regulator pressure to the proper lower level and draw off a few foamy pitchers to clear the lines or bleed off extra pressure using the relief valve on your coupler.
Just remember that if the pressure is left too high for longer than 24 hours, CO2 will be forced into your brew resulting in a ruined keg of over-carbonated and excessively foamy beer.
What Happens When You Don’t Have Enough Pressure
Ironically, the main pouring problem with too little pressure is also excessive foam. Basically, what happens is that the CO2 breaks free from the beer as it enters your glass and causes your brew to go flat fast.
Low pressure foam differs in quality from high pressure foam. Whereas too much pressure causes large bubbles to appear in the head, under-pressured dispensing results in loose, soapy looking foam with small bubbles.
To fix this problem, first check your CO2 tank to ensure that it isn’t empty and that it’s turned on. Then take a look a look at your regulator to make sure that you’ve set the pressure gauge in the correct range and search for obstructions in the air line.
If you can’t easily identify the problem, it’s likely that you need to replace your CO2 regulator. Regulators do wear down and in general, will need to be replaced every 4-6 years.
Take Proper Care of Your Beer Dispenser And You’ll Enjoy Pouring Every Pint.
Looking for more information about draft beer systems?
Read Draft Beer Troubleshooting: Common problems, causes and corrections for draft beer gone wrong.