Lagers losing taste and/or condition


cellarbuoy3Ok, so I’ve just take over as an assistant manager mainly covering nights/weekends at a working men’s club and they’ve been having problems with their lagers losing taste/condition. Namely Carling, Carlsberg and Kronenburg.

My first thought was their line cleaning regime.  They clean the lines on a Monday but by the weekend the problem re-occurs.  They tell me that they’ve tried a number of different line clean products with no effect.  The cellar appears to be clean, well kept and is running at the correct temperature, although I did notice some brown flecks coating the ball in one of the fobs, which leads me back to my first suspicion that they’re not doing the line clean properly.

The cellar runs to two bars within the building.  The second (less used) bar being upstairs with a hideously long line.  In addition, all the lines have apparently been renewed recently.

I’m going to accompany them on their next line clean to see if a fresh pair of eyes can highlight what the problem is, but would welcome any thoughts from you guys too.



  1. Although the lines may have been changed were the new lines food grade or were they done on the cheap using some inferior product. It is possible a poor line could retain some taste from the cleaning fluids.

  2. Seeing as the problem is only occurring on lager beers and beer lines are being cleaned regularly then I would suspect it is nothing to do with line cleaning.
    What gasses are used on your lagers, have the top pressures been checked recently? Has anyone checked temperatures on these lagers?
    What do you mean by losing condition?
    Let us know more and I am sure we can help.
    As for non food grade piping being used to repipe I would doubt that very much indeed.

  3. If that upstairs bar isn’t used that much, for example some of the beers haven’t been cleared through the line for a couple of days or so then it will give off tastes and could even contaminate the well used line downstairs. Did they replace all the lines or just the python, or just the cellar lines?

    However it is probably as you say, if the beer is good for a few days then probably the lines aren’t being cleaned properly in the first place. Especially if you can find brown specks in the cellar buoy , then I suspect these wouldn’t be new (I always use a bright torch behind them, then you can usually see what is going on). There are a lot of rubbish line cleaners out there and it is always best to use a quality one in the first instance. Let us know what you find and good luck in your new job.

  4. The brown flecks in the FOB chambers can be one or two things

    1. Beer Stone or Calcium Oxalate, although this problem has virtually vanished with modern brewing methods.

    2. Limescale with some yeast stuck to it.

    in both cases it could indicate either that there is a mistake in line cleaning procedure which means the fobs are not being cleaned properly or the line cleaner is not strong enough to cope with the water in your area.

    The other things to check are the spouts, nozzles, creamers, (whatever you call them) make sure these are clean and kept clean every night.

    Check your glasswasher is being cleaned out properly every night especially around door seals and under flaps.

    One thing I just thought of is – does the beer get left in the lines all week without any dispensing taking place or is the bar open all week and the taste comes back by the weekend?

    If the bar is unused from Weekend to Weekend you may want to consider using Guardian to store the lines through the week before putting it back into service at the weekend.

Do you have a better answer? Leave a reply or an opinion