Cleaning my brew system

Hello Everyone. I recently acquired a really nice brew system. It is 3 keggles (1 HLT, 1 Mash tun, and one wort boiler), all plumbed with copper tubing, pumps to transfer the liquid, built in burners, HERMS coil, etc etc. I have got all of it working perfectly now, minus some really small leaks that I will soon be soldering, but that leads me to a question…

I am wondering what the best way is to clean this entire system as is has been sitting for about a year or so now. I did heat up about 15 gallons of water to boiling and put in quite a bit of pbw and transferred it through the system. Did that a couple times. I was thinking that I should also use Starsan but I want to make sure there is the least amount of debris as possible in the lines. I cant really take it all apart without having to re-solder the entire thing. If I can get around that I would be a really happy camper. The liquid that came out at first was quite brown (had quite a pleasant sweet smell too lol) but now is really clear. Basically just looks like fresh water out of the hose. Can I get away with just doing the same steps a few more times and then do it a few times with something like starsan? Any other options or ideas out there? Im sure there are people all over that have setups like this so maybe they can share some tips/tricks?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks everyone


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First, nice score. I think you are on the right track with PBW. StarSan is better for sanitizing than cleaning from my experience. I keep it clean but anything up to the boil doesn’t need to be perfect in my system. Once in a while when junk starts to build up it gets a good cleaning.

Although many here don’t seem to like it, I find OneStep to be a great cleaner. It removed some “beer stone” from my SS conical that I could not get out without a lot of work. After an overnight soak it mostly fell off.

Thanks hd4mark. I paid next to nothing for this setup so I am extremely grateful to have it. Looking forward to knocking out some tremendous brews! I wouldnt mind giving onestep a shot. I think I have a jug of it that hasnt been opened yet anyways

That type of system would best be cleaned as a CIP (Clean In Place) where you heat up water (160F) and PBW and then run the pump and recirculate for 15-30 minutes. Follow that with a recirculated rinse. You’ll be surpirsed at how much more junk comes out. I have a similar system and I do this at the end of each brew session. Also, it is a good idea during a brew session to recirculate the hot wort at about the 30 minute mark to ensure that all internals are sanitary and ready for flameout.

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I agree that you need to CIP. As @mullerbrau said recirculating PBW should suffice.

Btw nice to see you around again, Greg!

Thanks for the replies. I will just keep doing what I have been doing then.

Yes, nice score! I will second and third the hot PBW and recirc… heck, let it go as long as you like… Maybe yer first brew will release some gumpucky too. All in all, you’ll have more to worry about then that afterwards, like, how does it all work together and efficiency. I think you’ll have some intense hours brewing and discovering all you can do with it! Congrats! Sneezles61

Glad to hear it. Sounds like I have been on the right track. Thanks!

Agree with all the above. I also run the heated pbw through the chiller in reverse direction to make sure and flush it out good. I wouldn’t waste starsan on it. Just flush it with boiling water and you’re good to go. I usually flush the system with boiling water from my HLT prior to sparging so it’s all sanitized and ready once the boil is done but mine is not hard plumbed.

Ok cool. Im feeling better and better about this haha

Speaking of the chiller… I was amazed at how well that works. I was able to go from about 140 degrees to 75 in about a minute. That was incredible to me. I never expected those types of numbers at all

I’m here just about every day reading every post but mostly lurking.

The real beauty of CFC’s is that you chill efficiently WHILE transferring the wort. That is a real time saver. I have twin ChillZillas which have 1/2" inside diameter and chill/transfer 22 gallons from 210 to 60F in about 6-10 minutes.