Draft Line Cleaning

A Method on Recirculating Draft Line Cleaning

                                                                                                                              -Will Lambert

While there are many ways to clean beer lines, I find that the use of a submersible pump circulating through the daisy-chained lines is the easiest. Especially since you can essentially set it and forget it while you move onto other projects. Since the solution is circulating, you do not need to worry about a cleaner sitting in the lines for an extended period. I use flare disconnects, so you might need some different parts if you have barb fittings.

Parts Used

  • Submersible pond pump
  • Faucet cleaning adapter (1 per tap)
  • ¼ MPT x ¼ MFL fitting  (My pump has ¼” female threads, so I can use this fitting to connect directly to the beer line.
  • ¼ MFL x ¼ MFL fitting (If you use barbed fittings from your beer line, a jump post will work instead.)
  • Liquid line cleaner
  • 5/16” ID tubing
  1. Fill a bucket with 2-3 gallons of your cleaning solution. I use PBW, but a specialized beer line
    cleaner or caustic solution can be used.
  2. Remove the faucets, disassemble, and place parts in cleaning solution.
  3. Attach a faucet cleaning adapter to each faucet outlet. Attach tubing to connect faucets 1 & 2, and open-ended tubing attached to faucet 3. Do not forget the rubber gasket behind each one.
  4. Remove and disassemble all liquid disconnects and place the parts in the cleaning solution.
  5. Connect the ¼ MPT x ¼ MFP fitting to the pump, and connect beer line 1.
  6. Connect beer lines 2 & 3 with the flare x flare fitting.
  7. Place the pump in the cleaning solution, along with the end of the line connected to tap three.
  8. Plug in the pump, and let the solution circulate 5-7 minutes. (Or longer. Go make a sandwich
    and watch an episode of something on Netflix. Whatever works.)
  9. After your allotted cleaning time, turn off the pump, and move it and the various parts to a
    bucket of clean water. Plug in the pump and place the end of the line three hose into another
    bucket. (Sometimes I’ll run the discharge into the PBW bucket until it no longer feels slick, and then allow the rinse water to recirculate.)
  10. Repeat the above process to flush the lines with sanitizer.
  11. Disconnect all the lines and reassemble your tap system.

    If you have a different number of taps, you will need to adjust the configuration. 2 taps will not need the flare-by-flare fitting as line 2 would be the exhaust, for example. I have done this when I’ve only had two lines that needed cleaning. In the end you will need to add or subtract parts as needed to accommodate your system, and how many lines you need to clean at a given time.

    Get a pump with enough head pressure to get higher than your taps are from the floor. Mine says that it has got 5.2 feet of lift, and my taps sit at about 4 feet. I have to set the bucket on a chair to get everything rolling. When it is time to replace it, I will be getting a more powerful pump so that everything stays on the ground.

    Instead of the fountain pump, one could use a sump pump such as the one used in a keg washer. You would want to add a valve to the assembly that would connect the ¾ inch PVC to the beer line. You could use a brew pump.

    A jumper post will allow you to connect your liquid disconnects without removing them.

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