Of course, cleaning your beer lines would be the assumption you would make if you had excessive foam in the beer or if it starts tasting funny. But, that’s not always the case. Obviously, I would suggest cleaning your beer lines after every keg or as often as possible. Yet, there are other issues and performing an equipment check before you clean the hoses might save you some time.
Let’s say you find a used kegerator and it looks pretty good so you purchase the unit and take it home. The first thing you are going to want to do is clean the coils. You can do that with a dust brush mounted on a vacuum. But, the best way is to actually blow the coils with an air gun.
Then of course, clean the air lines with warm water and soap. Let the lines soak and then scrub them clean. You can get industrial strength chemicals if you want. But whatever you use, just make sure you rinse the lines thoroughly. Get all the soap or chemicals out of the line because that will definitely make your beer taste funny.
Now, the next part of this scenario begins when you put a keg in the kegerator and you let it cool for a few hours. When you pour yourself your first beer, you get mostly foam. You know the beer lines are clean. So, what could be the problem?
Well, you have to go through a serious of checks. That’s what will keep you from going through the task of cleaning the beer lines again, which is what most people think right off the bat.
First of all, you have to make sure that the temperature on the beer in your beer keg is in the 38 degree range. Of course, setting your kegerator to 38 degrees will get it there in a matter of hours. But, an older kegerator might need a little help. Try a setting of about 33 degrees for a few hours and see if it comes down. The purchase of a digital thermometer will help you get your keg to the perfect temperature.
The next obvious check would be if everything is connected right. If you bought a used kegerator, you might not want to use the old beer lines and seals. They’re easy to replace. Get new beer lines and new seals before you even tap your first keg. That way, you can be sure that everything is going to work right. But if you are getting foamy beer, it might be because of air in the line. Look for leaks everywhere there is a connection. Then, look for leaks along the beer lines themselves.
If you don’t find any leaks, then it has to be the pressure itself. Make sure you set the pressure to about 13 psi. There might be times when you have to raise that a pound or two, but not much more than that. By this time, you should have a kegerator that delivers a smooth glass of beer with a nice head.
Your first assumptions may not always be right. You can remove the beer lines and clean them every time you have a problem. But if you perform a few other checks first, you might find yourself finding the real issue rather than just cleaning beer lines all the time.