The directions on most line cleaners call for recirculating the cleaner for some period of time. Most cleaning kits that are out there include a hand pump operating one of these for 15 to 30 minutes, for each faucet, doesn’t sound fun.
To really clean your draft lines, you need to keep solution flowing for a length of time, not just fill and wait. Initially I tried to clean my system by pushing line cleaner out of a keg. This was a waste of CO2. I also found it tough to keep solution running slowly enough to get enough contact time. It’s easy to quickly push a cleaning or sanitizing solution through your system under CO2 pressure, but I found it to be a pain to try to do so slowly. This also requires quite a bit of cleaning solution versus a recirculating pump.
I decided to put together a recirculating draft line cleaning pump setup.
First I needed a pump. I have a utility pump that I use for various tasks around brewery. I decided that that pump was too powerful. I didn’t want to deal with foaming issues that I thought may be caused by the high flow this pump would produce. I wanted something with less power that could slowly circulate liquid through draft lines.
After looking around, I settled on the EcoPlus-132 fountain pump.
It’s variable speed, submersible and it has a number of included barb sizes including a 3/8″.
Note that the current picture shows a slightly different pump. My guess is that that this is a stock image issue and that the current pump looks just like my pump. Either way it doesn’t really matter as long as it functions the same way and has the same specs.
I picked up the rest of the fittings from Midwest Supplies.
Standard liquid post to attach the pump to your draft line quick disconnects. You may already have an extra one of these around.
Cornelius Plug Adapter – 1/4″ MPT
The liquid post screws into this.
3/8″ Barbed to 1/4″ FPT Elbow
Put some teflon tape on the MPT side of the Cornelius plug adapter and attach this FPT elbow to it.
This basically gives you a Corny keg quick disconnect post to 3/8″ barb converter.
Now you’ll attach a length of 3/8″ ID tubing to this followed by the included 3/8″ pump adapter. As far as sizing the length of 3/8″, use enough tubing to allow your draft lines to reach the bottom of a bucket you will use for reservoir liquid.
The only thing that’s left is routing the faucet discharge back to the recirculation bucket. I’ve found 1/2″ ID Silicone tubing works great for this. The size is perfect and the silicone is stretchy enough to easily fit on the faucet. It is a bit pricey, but you really only need a few feet of it, just enough to get from the faucet down to the reservoir bucket. I’m guessing any 1/2″ ID tubing would also work for this, but I can’t attest to it from experience.
This design cleans your whole draft system:
This design cleans the faucet, the shank, the quick disconnect and the tubing. Some designs that I’ve seen have you removing the beer nut and placing the hand pump apparatus directly on the shank. That’s some work disassembling and reassembling and it also skips the line and quick disconnect.
BLC solution after cleaning all of my faucets. Umm… they needed cleaned I guess. I recirculated for 15 to 20 minutes per faucet.
Recirculating rinse water
Recirculating Star San
Pump and connection assembly
As I stated I wanted a slow, steady flow of solution. Here’s a video illustrating what kind of flow I’m getting with 7′ of draft line. The 132 gallon per hour pump is working great in my opinion.
If you want a higher flow rate, the next larger pump in this line may do the trick.
According to the specs on that pump, that pump also has an included 3/8″ barb.
Also consider picking up some Beer Line Cleaner (BLC)….