Building a Simple Ball Lock Draft Line Flushing Setup

I use a recirculating draft line pump for cleaning my draft lines. That’s worked well for me (and many others) for years. See: Recirculating Draft Line Cleaning Pump

The issue I ran into was the desire to periodically do a quick flush to rinse, clean or sanitize lines.

When a keg kicks, there’s residual beer in the line. The beer at the end of a keg is also more likely to contain gunk – hop and yeast trub. Rather than leave that sitting in the line, shank and faucet, I like to flush is out.  Also, when putting on a new beer I wanted to be able to easily sanitize.

Of course, I could get out my complete keg line cleaning pump, but setting that up and cleaning afterwards is a bit of work. What I wanted was an easy solution for a quick rinse or flush.

v1 of this build dates back to 2013. A little about that, for comedic and nostalgia reasons, at the end of this post. This write-up walks through a much improved v2.

This build is super easy, works great and can be made from a few items you probably already have around or can easily obtain.

The components – a 2 Liter PET bottle, a carbonation cap and a short length of tubing. My build uses a Kegland DuoTight Compatible Cap and EVABarrier tubing.  DuoTights and EVABarrier are outstanding [Hands on Review], but I want to stress that these exact components are not required. Any suitable carbonator cap and a length of compatible tubing should do the trick.


Carbonation Caps:


Step 1 – take off the label. Or… leave it on. 🙂 Whatever you want.Step 2 – attach tubing to carbonator cap. I like the idea of using EVABarrier because it’s stiff and I thought it would work well.Step 3 – Trim the tubing to fit. That’s it… you’re ready to change the world by quickly and easily flushing ball lock lines!

Flushing Lines

This photo shows pretty much all the players. The left side is the gas line that I use for charging the cleaner assembly. The right line is liquid line with ball lock QD. You can also see the other side of the liquid line terminating in the right-most shank. My setup is all DuoTight/EVABarrier and you’ll see DuoTight Compatible Locking Clips used throughout. If you are a DuoTight user, the locking clips are something I recommend as they provide a more secure connection.

This is powered by CO2 pressure. It’s important to underfill the bottle to leave some head space for CO2 pressure. I found that about half full, or 1 liter works well.  I used about 30 PSI of pressure. Make sure to choose a pressure that’s compatible with all components in your setup.

In Action!

This works really well. 1 liter (half full) along with a 30 PSI initial charge would be enough to briefly flush all four of my tap lines. Alternatively, less than 1 liter could be used to minimize chemical use.  A “quick clean” could also be accomplished by filling lines with PBW and letting them sit, followed by a round of water and finally Star San.

The pitcher I’m using for collection is a 2 Quart Rubbermaid Commercial Pitcher. This is a smaller version of the one gallon pitcher I’ve used and recommended for years. Although I got this half gallon size for the kitchen, it’s worked it’s way to my brewing area and is the perfect size for this task.

But Will it Flush Two Lines??

Here’s the key piece of hardware to clean two ball lock lines at the same time. It’s a ball lock  jumper from Valuebrew. There are only a couple similar offerings out there, to my knowledge. This one is unique because it uses their custom color, food grade post o-rings AND… it works with both liquid and ball lock jumpers.Here it is installed. This is connecting two 10′ EVABarrier tubing runs.If you look on the right you’ll see my Intertap faucet is equipped with a ball lock nozzle. This would work the exact same way with a NukaTap faucet. If you have another brand, you’d just make a jumper that fits over the spout of your faucet.Complete Setup for Two Line Test

The plumbing for my test is as follows

  • Flushing Assembly – 2 L bottle/carbonation cap/dip tube (on left) >
  • Ball Lock Line Jumper – 2 ball lock QDs with a short length of EVABarrier tubing >
  • Intertap ball lock spout on right faucet >
  • 10′ EVABarrier tubing with ball lock QD >
  • Ball Lock Jumper Fitting >
  • 10′ EVABarrier tubing with ball lock QD >
  • Intertap faucet (second from right) >
  • 2 Quart collection pitcher

In Action – 2 Lines!

I was actually quite surprised at how well this worked. It’s over 20′ of tubing, four QDs and a jumper.  All being driven by the head pressure in half of a 2L bottle.

Super Size It

Kegland makes a 2.5 Liter PET Growler Bottle Growler that gives you some additional capacity.

Alternative for Pin Lock Systems

The setup outlined here is for ball lock systems.  I know of no similar Pin Lock carbonator caps or fittings.  You could build as outlined and make a small jumper to go from Lock to Pin Lock

Related: What’s the Difference Between Ball Lock Kegs and Pin Lock Kegs?

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For Fun, Here’s More about V1…

This setup also uses a PET bottle to store solution, but gets more complicated and… harder to use from there.The cap was modified by installing a Shrader valveInside of the converted capFrom there, I put together a bunch of relatively expensive parts to form the ball lock connector

To make it harder to use… there’s no dip tube. The bottle had to be oriented so the top faces down.

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Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application.  Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application.  Always read and follow manufacturer directions. toppost:lineflush tag:tpr

9 thoughts on “Building a Simple Ball Lock Draft Line Flushing Setup

  1. Anonymous

    Chris – do you know that you don’t sit there and pump it? The sprayer pressurizes. You pump it for 10 seconds which builds up a bunch of pressure in the bottle, and then just pull the trigger (which has a lock-on position) and it flows continuously. You’d never be pumping and flowing at the same time.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    I agree with the hand pump sprayer, it ends up being about the same cost (or cheaper) and you get the pressurization system built right in. My kegerator actually does not have the tap sitting directly on the top of the box, so it has to push up about an extra foot, and the garden pump has no problems getting the liquid up to that height.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    It’s not the CO2 use, it’s just that there’s a better solution out there that is actually cheaper. Check out this link:

    It’s not only cheaper and more durable, but it’s even easier to use since you can just pump it up, even if there’s no CO2 nearby.

    Reply
    1. Chris Brewer

      That build is awesome. It is mainly for deep cleaning your draft lines. I built a recirculating pump for this purpose. I don’t want to have to sit there and operate a hand pump for 30 minutes for each of my faucets. Because of that I built a recirculating setup. The tool that this post covers is a quick line flushing assembly. I wanted that because my main line cleaning tool takes a bit of work to get out and put away. There are no doubt cheaper solutions out there for everything, but that isn’t what this particular post is about. I like the simplicity of this and it’s size. It’s a 1 liter bottle and some tubing. The hand pump is sweet and is certainly a great choice if you don’t mind running the pump by hand.

      Reply
    2. Anonymous

      Your recirc pump is much better for “deep cleaning”. The link is for a quick rinse mostly – I keep one with Starsan in it all the time so I can quickly sanitize if I’m swapping kegs. Just connect the liquid line and pull the trigger, easy as could be.

      Reply
  4. Chris Brewer

    Some points of clarification: 1. I’m not suggesting this as a device to use to complete a thorough cleaning of your draft lines. It’s for quick purging and sanitizing. 2. I’m using a 1 Liter bottle. CO2 use isn’t a major factor here. 3. If you are that concerned about CO2 use, I’ve made a suggested modification that would use no CO2 at all.

    Reply
  5. William Watson

    I use a tetra whisper 40 air pump with a tube and a gas-in connector. That way I can pop it on to a keg full of PBW/water and pump it out into the second keg in line. Then I do the same with water. Gives it plenty of time in contact with the lines then flushes them without using CO2.

    Reply
  6. Paul Williams

    Do you know if the corny plug adapter would work with a Pin lock liquid post? I’d love to build something for cleaning my lines, but I use all pin lock kegs….

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    I built the same one from the hand-pump garden sprayer and it works awesome, and I don’t have to mess with my CO2. I’ll fill it with PBW and warm water to clean the lines every time I change a keg. A quick batch of sanitizer through and it’s ready to go.

    Reply

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