Cleaning keezer/kegerator tap lines is a major PITA. If you neglect cleaning your lines regularly your beer can pick up off-flavors and you’ll likely need to replace the lines sooner than necessary. If you have multiple taps, it can be even more time-consuming to clean your lines individually. The good news is there is an easier way to actually clean all your lines at once, save time, and actually do a better job.
Build a Recirculating Draft Line Cleaner
The best way to clean your beer lines is to use a submersible pump to recirculate cleaner through all of your lines at once using the daisy-chain method. Liquid Line Cleaner or beer line cleaner (BLC) works best when it’s moving through the lines as opposed to sitting stagnant for an extended period of time. Before building a recirculating system, I used to use a spare keg to force both water and BLC through everything with CO2. It was an annoying process, wasted CO2, and was far too time-consuming and hands-on.
Daisy Chain Your Beer Lines
In order to build my setup, you’ll need a few special parts. Luckily it’s not expensive and really easy to build. The pump I use has a female threaded output fitting that accepts a standard 1/2 inch NPT thread. I used a threaded stainless barb fitting that was perfect for attaching my 5/16″ ID tubing, making all connections seamless. A pump with a compatible output is honestly the most difficult part to find. While this pump isn’t super powerful, I think it works well enough for what I’m trying to achieve.
Here is my full build list:
- Faucet cleaning adapter (1 per tap)
- 15-20 feet 5/16″ ID tubing
- Submersible aquarium pump
- Ball-lock keg QD jumper post (1 for every two taps)
- 1/2″ male NPT with 3/8″ OD hose barb
- Liquid line cleaner
- 5-gallon bucket or tub
My 4 tap setup ran me about $68.
Cleaning Setup and Process
Below is an outline of my cleaning process and set up for my 4 tap keezer. This ultimately works for any tower with an even number of faucets. See note in the next section for an odd number of faucets/taps.
- Fill your bucket with 2-3 gallons of cool water and add BLC as directed. Attach the hose barb to the pump and submerge it in the cleaner.
- After you remove the faucets, attach each faucet cleaning adapter to the tower as you would a typical faucet. The supplied rubber gasket should be placed on the very back between the faucet output and the adapter head.
- Inside your kegerator, attach liquid quick disconnect taps 1-2 together and 3-4 together using a jumper post.
- Attach faucets 2 and 3 together with a short jumper length of tubing.
- The pump should be attached directly to faucet 1 with a long length of tubing. Liquid flow will move directly into faucet 1 (from the pump), down the beer line to QD post 1, into QD post of tap 2, up to faucet 2, and into faucet 3. So on and so forth. Tap 4 (or the last faucet) returns the liquid back to the bucket with another longer length piece of tubing. Recirculate for 5-7 minutes.
- Flush the entire system with potable water afterward. You don’t need to recirculate water. The best way to do this is to pump fresh water from your source bucket and drain it into a separate bucket. This prevents the mixing of fresh water and cleaning solution.
- Discard the first 8-12 ounces of beer from each tap to ensure everything is properly flushed.
- While your lines are recirculating, you can soak your actual faucet heads (in the open position) in very hot water or place them in the bucket with the pump/cleaning solution. Rinse with hot water before reattaching.
My only suggestion would be to get enough 5/16″ ID tubing so you aren’t short. I got 10 feet but wish I had at least 15 so I could keep my bucket on the ground. The first time you do this it may feel cumbersome but once everything is set up you can remove the faucet adapters and leave all the tubing attached.
I keep everything stored in my dedicated reservoir bucket, making for an easy 10-minute process going forward. I clean my lines at least once a month. This process is so much faster and easier than doing manually or cleaning lines 1 by 1. It also motivates me to actually clean my lines out regularly.
Odd Number of Taps
If you have 3, 5, or any odd number of taps, I think the easiest way to do this setup would be to get an extra QD jumper post and attach the last line (liquid quick disconnect) to another liquid quick disconnect in order to mimic 1 additional faucet/tap. This would ultimately act as a direct return line to the bucket rather than moving up through another faucet before returning to the bucket.