I use a recirculating draft line pump for cleaning my draft lines. More information on that build – Recirculating Draft Line Cleaning Pump. That setup has worked great for me for periodic deep cleaning.
The issue I ran into was the desire to periodically do a quick flush to clean or sanitize lines. Two occasions in particular, first when a keg kicks. Unless you sit there and run CO2, while beer and yeast splat out of your faucet, you’re left with some residual beer and possibly yeast and trub sitting in the line. The second occasion is the desire to sanitize when putting a new keg on. Although the recirculating pump works great, it is a bit of work to set it up and clean it after use. I wanted something that I could use to quickly flush and/or sanitize lines.
I decided to come up with an easy quick line flushing setup to use in these occasions.
A 1 liter bottle acts as a liquid containment vessel. For the cap interface, Initially I thought about using a Carbonator Cap or More Beer’s Kent Soda Bottle Cap, but eventually, I decided to go with a tire valve.
I just went to a local auto parts store to find a clamp-in style tire valve. Similar to this.
Note: I’m not suggesting this exact part. It may work, but I’m not sure if it will fit in a 1 or 2 L bottle cap. I’d suggest gathering the other parts first. Then take your cap and a small length of tubing to your local auto parts store to find something suitable.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is drill a hole in the cap so that the tire stem fits through it snugly The tire stem should contain a rubbing oring to produce and airtight seal. I happened to have a food safe Buna N oring around that worked well. The clamp in tire valve will have a nut that goes on the other end of the cap to lock everything together.
You should have something like this:
The inside of the cap should look something like this:
Next you’re going to want to use a valve core removal/installation tool to remove the tire valve core. That core functions as a one way check valve. We’re not making a tire, so we don’t need or want that.
At this point we have a completed cap. Next we need tubing and a mechanism to connect to draft lines. For tubing, I found that 1/4″ ID tubing fit on my tire valve nicely. The remainder of the parts can be seen in this photo:
via Midwest Supplies:
Liquid Post – Cornelius-Spartan, Super Champion & R Kegs
Cornelius Plug Adapter-1/4″ FFL x 19/32″ 5203 – unavailable as of this update
1/4″ MFL to 1/4″ Barb S6017 – unavailable as of this update
Note: As you can see from the pictures, these parts are for a ball lock setup. You can use the same concept for your pin lock setup. If you do, let us know what parts you used and we’ll update this post.
Assemble those together and you’ll get this:
Connect the ball lock assembly with the cap assembly using 1/4″ ID tubing and some clamps to come up with the finished device.
I pressurized this unit and placed it on top of my kegerator, leaning up against my Bulldog Pegboard, because it’s amazing. 🙂
Some variations that I think would work:
You could use a 2L bottle and skip the pressurization step, just squeeze to flush lines or sanitize.
You could cut the bottom off of your bottle. Hold this up in the air and pour rinsing, cleaning or sanitizing solution in. The bottle is acting as a funnel and gravity feeds solution through your lines.
You could also go with a 3L Bottle (available at a lot of dollar-type stores). I went with a 1L size, for easy storage and also because I had it on hand.
The directions on most line cleaners call for recirculating the cleaner for some period of time. Most affordable cleaning setups that are out there include a hand pump. Operating one of those 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 the required amount of 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.
I use a converted chest freezer as my kegerator/keezer. With the aid of some modifications like a collar and an overriding thermostat, it works really well. The big downside I’ve experienced is… condensation. Not just beads of water on the sides, I had pooling water in the bottom. Not a good thing. This varies by how often I’m in it, the season and current weather, but the fact is, a chest freezer just isn’t designed to deal with condensation like a refrigerator is.
Enter the Eva-Dry E-500. The Eva Dry contains a desiccant material that absorbs moisture. The beads inside this unit absorb moisture. As they do that they change color. When they have gone from blue to pink, you know it’s time to “renew” the unit. This is done by removing it from the kegerator and plugging it into an outlet. The integrated heating element drives off any built up moisture. When the beads turn blue (overnight), you’re ready to go. I don’t have to do this often, usually every couple months.