As 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.