How do you clean a beer dispenser?
Whether in the beer garden or at a private party - there is probably nothing like the tangy taste of a freshly tapped beer. However, to ensure that your beer is not spoiled, it is essential to clean the tap system regularly.
Otherwise the taste experience suffers and the beer may even be contaminated with pathogens. In the following, we will explain how to properly clean your dispensing system.
When it is necessary to clean the dispenser
For a long time the rule was that beer dispensers had to be cleaned at least every two weeks. However, that changed with the discontinuation of the dispensing system ordinance in 2005. Since then, the responsibility for the safe operation of the dispenser lies solely with the operator.
This is particularly important in the gastronomic sector, where hygiene is of course particularly important. However, of course, privately used dispensing systems must also be cleaned regularly. Thanks to their well thought-out construction, however, this works with most models without any major problems.
Ideally, the beer hoses, the drip tray and the tap should be cleaned after each use of the dispensing system. If the beer keg is to remain connected, it is sufficient, if necessary, to first clean only the drip tray and the spout with hot water.
Cleaning a new dispenser before it is used for the first time
In a new dispenser there may still be various residues from production such as chips, oil or plasticizers in plastic pipes. In order to remove this completely, a chemical-mechanical thorough cleaning of the beer dispenser should be carried out before the first start-up.
For this purpose, you need a special cleaning keg, suitable cleaning agent and various aids, such as a cleaning sponge. We recommend that you order a suitable cleaning set and all other necessary utensils for basic cleaning when you buy your dispenser.
The cleaning before the first start-up takes place in two steps. First, the tap system with the cleaning set is connected to the water pipe and the water tap is turned on. The clearest tap water presses the coarsest residues out of the system.
The next step is to chemically clean the dispenser with the help of the cleaning agent. For this purpose, the cleaning agent is poured into the container provided and the previously cut cleaning sponges are added.
Now the cleaning solution and the sponges can be drawn off and the last remaining impurities can be removed on the way through the pipes. Finally, the dispenser must be rinsed thoroughly with clear water so that no residues of the cleaning agent remain.
In the case of beer dispensing systems for private use, it is usually sufficient to throw away the first beer when starting up. Should the model require extensive basic cleaning, this is usually noted in the operating instructions for the dispenser.
Cleaning a dispensing system after a long standstill
If a dispenser is not used for a longer period of time, impurities can build up in it. Before starting up again, it is therefore important to clean the beer dispenser and remove these deposits.
In the professional sector, the chemical-mechanical cleaning process described is used for this purpose. In the case of smaller beer dispensing systems for private use, however, it is sufficient to clean the tap and the beer hoses with hot water.
Clean and disinfect beer dispensers
There are various methods that can be used to clean a beer dispenser. The system can simply be cleaned with water, mechanically cleaned or also subjected to chemical cleaning.
Easy to clean with tap water
After the last beer has been drawn, the system should be cleaned with hot water. To do this, remove the beer lines as well as the tap and the drip tray. Rinse the individual parts thoroughly with hot water. Make sure that the beer foam is completely removed from the hoses.
If the components of your dispenser are suitable for the dishwasher, you can have them cleaned again afterwards.
Please note that cleaning with hot water can only remove normal residues and soiling. However, pure water is not enough to eliminate any microorganisms that may be present.
The mechanical cleaning of a beer dispenser
Over time, unhygienic deposits can build up in the lines of the dispenser. This is very often the case, especially in the private sector, since the beer dispensing systems are usually only used irregularly there.
In order to remove stubborn contamination, the system should not only be rinsed with hot water after use, but also subjected to mechanical cleaning.
This cleaning process uses small cleaning sponges that are pressed through the pipes together with clear water. In most cases, a special cleaning barrel must be connected to the system for this purpose.
However, there are also dispensing systems in which mechanical cleaning is possible directly via the fresh water connection. In this case, the cleaning sponges go directly into the line.
Regardless of the exact method, the mechanical friction of the sponges ensures that even stubborn dirt can be reliably removed. Before you subject your dispenser to mechanical cleaning, however, you should make sure that your model is suitable for it.
The chemical cleaning of a dispenser
With chemical cleaning, not only deposits but also bacteria can be removed from the dispenser. It is especially useful if the dispenser has not been used for a longer period of time.
The chemical cleaning of a dispensing system can be roughly compared to that of a coffee machine. It uses a special cleaning agent that is put into the cleaning keg in a predetermined dose.
This is now connected to the dispensing system and the liquid is pumped through the pipes. It is usually necessary to let the cleaning agent take effect. The system is then thoroughly rinsed with clear water. In order to ensure that there are no residues of the cleaner in the lines, it makes sense to check the pH value.
The chemical-mechanical cleaning of a dispenser
Chemical-mechanical cleaning combines cleaning agents and sponges. They are put together in the cleaning keg and then pumped through the system. The process can be repeated if necessary. As with chemical cleaning, it is also very important here to rinse the dispenser thoroughly with clear water afterwards.
Which cleaning method is the right one?
Which method is the right one for cleaning your beer dispenser depends above all on the exact model.
Many smaller dispensing systems for private use have a special cleaning program with which coarse soiling can be easily removed, so that rinsing with hot water after tapping is usually sufficient.
You can find out in the operating instructions or directly from the manufacturer whether you need to and can carry out mechanical or chemical cleaning of your dispensing system