Noticed that a couple of my draft lines have some beerstone build-up, mostly near both ends of the lines. Even after a BLC soak, there still seems to be some residue in there. Lines were replaced about 8 months ago, and I usually replace them yearly. Couple questions though:
NB sells the anti-microbial beer lines. Was thinking of getting these, but will they prevent beerstone build up as well? Even if the line itself is antimicrobial, if there’s a bunch of beerstone in them, I’d think that would still serve as a place for bacteria, etc to set up shop? Are these worth it?
Off flavors? Is beerstone associated with any particular off-flavors? I noticed on two different beers that if beer sat in the line for a while, the first pull would have kind of a corny, lemon-pith kind of aroma and flavor. Thought at first it might be DMS, but not really sold on it, especially since it dissipates quite a bit after the first pull. Now thinking its picking up something from the beer line. First pull is also noticeably foamier than subsequent ones.
I don’t think the extra price of anti-microbial lines is worth it. If you’re replacing them yearly, why bother? I mean, give them a cleaning with BLC every so often and it shouldn’t be an issue.
I don’t think it lends much flavor to a whole pint. If you drink just the beer that’s been sitting in the lines for a couple days, yeah, you’ll taste it and it won’t be good. Usually, if that’s the case, I’ll pour off about an ounce or 2 and dump it before pouring a full pint. I change my lines yearly as well and clean with BLC every few kegs, depending on what was served. If I switch from an IPA to a helles, I can usually taste a bit of the IPA for a bit. So for switching something like that, I give all the lines a BLC cleaning.
I have experienced the same, but I don’t think it’s beerstone. I think it’s some sort biofilm. Maybe from a lactic acid bacteria.
The first pull being foamier, isn’t part of the problem. that is most likely caused by the beer in the lines warming up. I’m guessing you have a draft tower?
Did a test yesterday, and it’s definitely something in the lines. Poured off just the first ounce of two for a tasting, and that off-flavor was very pronounced…poured a clean pint after that and couldn’t detect anything wrong. Still not sure if it’s just the line itself imparting the flavor (there’s a definite rubber/vinyl aspect to it) or something nasty in the line. All common off-flavors don’t really describe it, its not sour or tangy so don’t think its lacto…DMS is the closest descriptor as its does have a corniness to it. Anywho, gonna give the lines a shot of PBW and see if that helps clear out the gunk…otherwise just replace the lines now.
…and I dont have draft towers, but I do have a 10" collar and the lines usually sit within that space, which is probably a bit warmer than the rest of the keezer.
What ifn you pushed a line of weed wackier line through it, then tie a small hunk of cloth, pull back through? Keep it soaking the whole time in PBW… I wonder if thats why you never see clear lines at the local pubs? I’ve not heard of them changing lines…… Sneezles61 :blah:
I do have a tower and I find I need to replace the lines around every two years.
Every keg (sometimes I’ll skip) I switch out results in running oxyclean through the lines followed by a water rinse followed by sanitizer. Even with that, it’s only a matter of time before the biofilm builds up.
Just saw this and I thought I’d toss in a recommendation. The best thing to do is typically to do an acid rinse after every three alkaline (BLC) rinses.
If you don’t have an acid based line cleaner (best) you can use a more concentrated solution of Star San (not as good).
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Beerstone is a relatively brittle solid, so if the deposits don’t flake off after you’ve deformed the tubing, its not beerstone.
I’ve had bio-film growth in some of my lines and after BLC use, it didn’t come off. I resorted to using a lye solution that sat in the lines for about a day. That worked! Follow that with a starsan rinse and they were ready to go.
So I did end up changing out all the lines and the effect on beer taste was instant. Off flavor now gone. Agree though, that I dont think it was beerstone. I cut open the lines to have a good look at it, and it was just some kind of goopy junk, probably just hop and yeast matter. Although repeated BLC/Oxy rinses did nothing to remove it, once I cut the lines open it came off with a swipe of the finger, which was odd.
Lesson learned, going to keep a closer on the lines and give them a good cleaning after every keg now.
What are thoughts on leaving star san or Iodophor in lines that are not in use? Usually I run all the sanitizer out of the line and leave them sanitized but dry until i need em.
I’ve had bio-film growth in some of my lines and after BLC use, it didn’t come off. I resorted to using a lye solution that sat in the lines for about a day. That worked! Follow that with a starsan rinse and they were ready to go.[/quote]
What % lye solution do you use for something like this?
I don’t know what % the lye solution was at. I just put water in the line and added some lye crystals until I thought it was enough. If the solution feels slippery, its probably got enough lye in it.
PS: if it feels slippery, be sure to wash it off your fingers ASAP since its dissolving your skin! It turns the oils in your skin to soap.
[quote=“mabrungard”]I don’t know what % the lye solution was at. I just put water in the line and added some lye crystals until I thought it was enough. If the solution feels slippery, its probably got enough lye in it.
PS: if it feels slippery, be sure to wash it off your fingers ASAP since its dissolving your skin! It turns the oils in your skin to soap.[/quote]
I’m terrified of lye. I nearly feel I need to wear hazmat gear when I bathe pretzels in a 3% lye solution. One time the lye solution gave me a mild burning sensation through the gloves I had on.
I don’t think it demands terror, but you sure better respect it.