Which is the best beer line cleaner?


good-beer-line-cleanerAs with all things in life the cheapest is not always the best, so when selecting a beer line cleaning product it is best to go for a well known branded product. Look for one that will give exceptional cleaning and disinfection in all water conditions. Asking other licensees is a good idea, or your local brewery technician .

Most beer line cleaning fluids are suitable for both keg and cask dispense systems. There are basically 2 types available to the licensee, caustic chlorinated [e.g. Prosan or Complete] and Chlorine free [e.g. Pipeline Gold]. Chlorinated fluids contain caustic soda, chlorine free fluids do not and could be seen to be better for the environment as they are less hazardous. (The Jury is still out on environmentally safe products as they are good sanitizers, but struggle to remove bio-film).

Both types are effective sanitisers and come in various strengths, with and without purple indicator dye. Indicator dye is used to indicate the presence of yeast, changing colour from purple to green, sometimes other colours, if yeast is in the system.

For normal weekly usage a standard sanitiser should be used. Regular cleaning will prevent yeast build up and not require a strong sanitiser. The use of a standard sanitiser with purple colour indicator is also a good option for lightly soiled beer lines, reducing the possibility of accidental ingestion.

Where beer lines have been neglected or you suspect you may have a yeast build up, then a concentrated heavy formulated product is the answer. Some beer line cleaners come with litmus test papers, which if you are not using a cleaner with purple indicator in it, will help you make sure all cleaning fluid has been removed and that your system is safe to use. Once or twice a year it is good practice to “bottom out ” your dispense system, that is use a concentrated formulation to get rid of any acrued yeast that may have built up. Yeast is a bio-film and will always occur.  Regular beer line cleaning effectively keeps it under control.

There are of course other specialised beer line cleaners but these are only for use by trained brewery technicians. Whilst using any beer line cleaning fluids it is important to protect yourself and keep your staff safe. Wearing protective clothing such as, P.V.C. gauntlets, apron and goggles will keep you safe and also keep you within the law, as it is mandatory for these items to be used under the health and safety act. It is always best to carry out beer line cleaning out of opening hours. Whilst it is quite a simple task it is safer to do it when other people are not around. Leaving beer lines soaking in cleaning fluid over night is not an option. Doing this will permanently damage your beer dispense system and is not recommended.

Beer line cleaning is not a complicated process. If you are not sure on how to do it ask your beer supplier to send a technician to give you a demonstration or check out the Beer Line Cleaning section on this site.

So buying the correct beer line cleaning fluid can save you time and money, and guarantee the beer you sell is of good quality.

Which do you prefer to use

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  1. I service a number of local pubs and have one problem set of real ale pipes, they have been neglected, and left dry, can you recomend as line cleaner product and supplier (Bristol area)
    Brian Salt (The cellarman)

  2. Even though they have been left to dry they will probably have a stagnant water taste. There are few products you could use, blitz cleaner by Proton or Combat by Klensan springs to mind or protinate, Chaser, then there is “pipeline gold professional” or “Pipeline Professional” There is no magic solution it will need a real thorough clean. You could also look to our list of local tech services in your area, they could help you out.

  3. If I’ve ran out of line cleaner is there a simple alternative to use,ie water ??
    Many thanks rod. Ps only for one off emergancy

  4. If you haven’t any line cleaner then to flush out the debris with a lot of water will help, but it isn’t really an alternative as it won’t dislodge the yeast sticking to the inside of the pipe.

  5. I currently use excel beer line cleaner.. Which is clear, would it do any harm to the lines (staining etc) if I were to add food colouring to the cleaner so it’s easier to tell when it’s cleaner in the line??

    • Hi Jimbo, your best bet is to either use a purple beerline cleaner instead or if you use a clear line cleaner because you live in a hard water area and the purple ones aren’t strong enough get some pH test papers, these are available from many online places.

      Test the water coming out of the lines as you rinse them, if you use Phenolphthalein test papers when the don’t turn pink you know all the line cleaner is out of the line.

      You should never mix chemicals together as this could cause a harmful reaction.

  6. i have just started at my new job and i keep getting complaint about the beer, i heard the last manager did only 2 line cleans in 6 months! Will this be the problem no matter how many times i clean it now?

  7. What is the best way to protect a Beer line which is not going to be used for some time. Perhaps some weeks or even a few months.
    Should it be cleaned and left Dry or leave some fresh cleaner in situ or something else?

    • I found the best way Roger is to give them a good clean. Put some guardian by proton in the line it will disguise any stagnant smell and taste, and then give them a really good clean before you use them.

      • Hi Todd, Guardian Beerline Protector is designed to be put into lines that aren’t to be used for a length of time. Depending on the concentration Guardian will keep a line safe and clean from 1 week to 6 months at a time. If the line is still to be left unused after 6 months you simply put fresh Guardian in while removing the old.

        When you want to serve beverages through the lines again simply flush them with clean water to remove the Guardian solution and charge them with the beverage, no need to reclean the lines.

        Guardian is made with food grade ingredients and non-hazardous to dispense equipment. Also if Guardian is used at is 6 month concentration then it has been shown to stay liquid down to -4 degrees centigrade so acts as a burst protector as well.

  8. Try Future 2000 they supply M&B I’ve heard excellent reviews about this and am going to try it my self. I have been using their glass wash and rinse aid for some time now with no problems.

  9. despite regular cleaning our tetleys smooth fob detector starts to show signs of a yeast build-up. This necessitates stripping and cleaning the fob, is there a better cleaning fluid than the purple line cleaner we presently use. ps we are in a hard water area. thanks in advance -mike

  10. Tetleys wont build up in the fob in just a week, if you clean thoroughly with protinate for the next couple of cleans then if you prefer to use a purple line cleaner, clean weekly with Prosan Plus, both products made by Proton. Then your problems will go away.

  11. Following the introduction of BPR (biocidal registry) the availability of pipeline cleaners is going to reduce dramatically. Has anyone got any thoughts on this?


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