With so many craft beers available these days, the market can be quite competitive. One bad sip can cause a bar or brewery to lose a customer. That’s why it’s always important to keep your draft lines clean. Dirty draft lines can completely change a beer’s taste and even make the drinker sick.
What’s in My Beer Lines?
There are a few different elements you might find affecting your draft lines. Yeast, bacteria, mold, and beer stone are your most likely culprits.
When there is yeast in the lines you may see a white or grey color. Yeast is usually found as a surface growth on components of a tap system that is exposed to the air such as faucets, keg couplers, and drains. This may result from an extremely small amount left from the brewing process, or it may be wild yeast which floats in the air.
Mold can be introduced into your tap system through exposure to the air. Therefore, it can often be found as surface growth on components of a tap system that are exposed to air such as the faucets, keg couplers, and drains. Mold can be identified by its brown or black color.
Bacteria in beer may not be significantly harmful to human health but can cause upset stomach or illness. Bacteria will make a noticeable difference in appearance, aroma, and taste of your beer. The presence of bacteria in the beer can result in an “off taste” and cloudy appearance.
Beer stone is a buildup of calcium oxalate deposited from the raw materials like grain and water, used in the brewing process. Oxalic acids or salts are present in hops and may be created during the process of changing barley into malt.
Beer stone will build up and eventually flake off on the inside of the beer tubing if the tap system is not properly maintained. These flakes are often grey or brown in color and can have negative effects on the taste of your beer.
Cleaning and Maintaining Your Draft Lines
Bacteria, yeast, mold and beer stone can build up and quickly degrade the quality of the draft beer you serve. Beer lines (including couplers and faucets) need regular servicing. To clean the lines, you will likely need the help of a professional. The professional will use a beer line cleaning solution designed to attack and dissolve proteins, carbohydrates, hop resins, and biofilms; as well as kill bacteria, molds, and yeast. These elements will certainly affect the taste of your beer and can even make the drinker ill. Routine cleaning and proper tap maintenance are essential to maintain quality and keep the beer true to taste.
For residential applications, cleaning should be performed after every keg or at a minimum of every two weeks. For commercial applications, cleaning should be performed at least every two weeks or following brewery recommendations and/or state guidelines.
Clearly, keeping your draft lines clean is an important part of your beverage service. Providing consistently great tasting beer will keep customers coming back to your establishment. Tognazzini Beverage Service can provide professional draft line cleaning and tap maintenance for any tap system. They have been servicing the Santa Maria area since 1981 and can handle all of your beverage service needs. Contact us today with any questions you may have at 800-549-1144 or use our convenient Contact form.