A small hardware purchase can convert your Keg and Carboy Washer over to an efficient ball lock draft line cleaning pump.
Cue drumroll. And… It’s this thing…
It’s a stainless steel ball lock carbonator cap that is typically intended to use with 1L and 2L PET (soda type) bottles for force carbing and transporting beer (soda, etc). Why does it include a barb? I have no idea, but it comes in really handy for this purpose.
A photo of just the carbonator capA carbonator cap would typically work with a gas QD and this does.However, it also works (easily) with a liquid QD. Not sure why it’s designed like this, but it is and this is another important feature.To adapt the Keg and Carboy Cleaner for Ball Lock draft lines just attach the stainless carbonator cap to a length of 1/4″ ID tubing (the shorter the better). Attach the unused end to the smaller of the two included barbs (intended for cleaning tubing) and whammo… you’ve got a line cleaner. I didn’t use any clamps. Things held together fine and disassemble for easy cleaning.
I use a piece of 1/2″ ID silicone tubing over my faucets to return cleaning, rinsing and sanitizing solution back to the Keg and Carboy Cleaner’s basin. Recirculating means you can run this for a long time (according to your cleaner’s recommendations). You may also save money by using less cleaner and sanitizer.
This has the advantage of cleaning everything in your draft system. It cleans the faucet, the shank, the quick disconnect and the tubing. Some line cleaning pump designs 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.
Here is a photo that should hopefully give you an idea about flow rate. If you look at my original Draft Line Cleaning Pump Build, you’ll see that I don’t believe you need a gushing fire hose-like flow rate. The important thing, in my book, is touching all parts and constant flow. Along those lines, if you’re looking for your draft cleaning pump to resemble a pressure washer, I’d suggest looking for something different. I spent no time on trying to increase flow for this build. It’s going to depend on your line length and where you place the Keg and Carboy Washer in relation to the top of your shank.
A look at the 1/2″ ID tubing over my Perlick faucetThe Keg and Carboy Washer can be a bit unwieldy to pick up when full. You can drain a good bit of liquid off by redirecting the discharge tubing to a bucket.
I have added this switch to my Keg and Carboy Washer setup. It allows me to easily turn the pump on and off without plugging and unplugging it. This switch appears to be similar although not the exact same part number… [GE 52149 Handy Switch Grounded White]. You may want to add a GFCI Adapter and for safety, always read and follow manufacturer’s warnings.
Alternative for Pin Lock, Sankey and Ball Lock Systems. I know of no similar Pin Lock style carbonator cap. You get nearly the same benefit by replacing that with a 1/4″ Male Flare to 1/4″ Barb Fitting. Remove your MFL Pin Lock QDs and attach to this fitting. The only thing you’re missing is including the Pin Lock QDs in the cleaning process. This would also work for Sankey and ball lock setups, you just need to have 1/4″ MFL lines.
Prior to getting a Keg and Carboy Washer myself, I consistently heard great things about it. I can confirm the praise. This is a great piece of equipment that saves me time. The additional ability to clean lines with little additional expense sweetens the deal further. The Mark II Keg and Carboy Washer is one of our Top Finds.
Mark’s Keg & Carboy Washer can be found at…
- MoreBeer – $99.99 + Free Shipping
- Adventures in Homebrewing
- Midwest Supplies – Northern Brewer
- Great Fermentations + Flat Rate Shipping
Carbonator Cap: Free shipping Stainless steel Carbonation Cap w/ 5/16″ Barb, Ball Lock Type, fit soft drink PET bottles, Homebrew Kegging – Note that this ships directly from Asia
- BLC – Beer Line Cleaner
- PBW – Powder Brewery Wash
- Hands on Review: Mark’s Keg and Carboy Washer
- Sanitize for pennies a batch using this technique
- PBW Price Comparisons and Buying Guidance
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