If you are a pub landlord, or landlady, or if you own a bar, restaurant, hotel, or any other establishment that sells draught beer such as a private members club, one of the most essential tasks is the weekly job of cleaning the beer lines. Yes, it is tedious. Yes, it is boring. Yes, it is essential, or at least it is if you don't want all your customers to walk away and go elsewhere.
Cleaning beer lines is on a par with vacuuming the carpet, doing the washing up after dinner, and doing the ironing. They are jobs which nobody wants to do but yet they have to be done. Certainly, as far as cleaning beer lines is concerned, you can get someone else to do it for you. There are companies that will come in to your establishment every week and clean your beer lines, but of course there is a cost involved. What that is worth to you rather depends on how badly you don't want to do it yourself.
Another huge disadvantage of cleaning beer lines is that you waste perfectly good beer which goes down the drain instead of into the customer's glass which results in cash in your till. If you could only increase the amount of time between cleans, that would save a lot of wasted money. In fact, you can do exactly that with some of the beer saver systems that are available today. Some of them can extend the time between cleans to as much as seven weeks! Now that is impressive. Not only do you only have to clean the beer lines every seventh week instead of every week, but you are also saving six weeks' worth of beer that would otherwise be wasted!
That adds up to a lot of money over the course of a year. Furthermore, some of the suppliers of these beer saver systems will provide you with a free complimentary clean when you install their equipment and also let you have a free trial of it so that you can see for yourself how much beer and money you save.
Of course, you still have to clean your beer lines, but just far less frequently. If only we could just iron the shirts once every seven weeks, or do the washing up every seven weeks, life would be so much easier.
Cleaning keg beer lines can vary somewhat according to the instructions of the line cleaner manufacturer, but the basics are as follows.
You remove the connectors from each product and connect to the cleaning socket on the wall. The gas line that is running to each keg must then be turned off. The next step is to fill the beer line cleaning container with fresh water and add the correct amount of beer line cleaner, which will vary from one manufacturer to another, so you will need to check the instructions (tip: the old saying is "When all else fails, read the instructions!"). Now switch on the pump connected to the line cleaning container.
Go up to the bar, open each tap, and pull through all of the beer in the line until you reach the line cleaner. Now pull at least another pint through and leave it to soak for the amount of time the manufacturer states. Go and have a cup of tea while you wait.
Now pull another couple of pints of cleaning solution through and leave to soak again. Have another cup of tea. Repeat this until the line cleaner comes through clear. Alternatively, if you are using a cleaner that changes colour repeat until it turns purple. Now rinse out the line cleaning container and refill with fresh water. Go back up to the bar and open each tap and pull through all of the beer line cleaner until you reach water. Then pull through a few more pints of water on each tap in order to ensure you are safe.
Now go back to the cellar and reconnect each beer line to the right kegs. Turn off the line cleaning pump. Go back up to the bar and pull through the water on each beer tap until you reach beer, and hey presto! you now have clean beer.