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Why open a keg?

Here is a point to consider. If you have a clean and sanitized keg, the beer in is not contaminated and you have finished the beer, Why open the keg to clean and sanitize again? Why not simply make the connections up that will allow you to gravity fed some PBW into the keg, let it do its thing, then drain and rinse through the tap. Do the same with you’re sanitizer of choice and then fill the keg with the next batch of beer. Why the need to open the keg remove the guts and washers and such, soak in PBW ect, ect, ect.

I don’t remove the “guts” and have had no issues.

When a keg is empty, I open the top of course and place it in a small bowl with sanitizer. I disconnect the hoses and take the keg outside and hose out the keg, shake, inspect for particulates attached to the side and watch for “discolored” water draining from the tube. Once I no longer get discolored water draining back into the keg from the out-tube, I add about a half-gallon sanitizer to the keg, roll it around to insure all surfaces are covered with sanitizer and then install the top, return the keg to the keezer, hook up the lines, and add a little CO2. I run out a bit of the sanitizer to ensure the out-line gets sanitized and I let the whole system sit for at least 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, I’m confident the out-line (tube, hose, shank, and back end of the tap) are fully sanitized. Then I run all the remaining sanitizer out thru the tap, depressurize, open the top (again, it goes in a bowl with sanitizer), and fill with beer and pressurize.

This process take about 30 minutes, start to finish, plus the time it takes to fill the keg with fresh beer.


I open mine and clean them to get the sediment out. To me, it is no big deal to take everything apart and clean. I am usually cleaning and filling at least 2-3 at a time, so I just do a system. I soak all the parts in PBW and rinse and drop into a bucket of sanitizer. Reassemble and fill.

Because what you are talking about is much harder than simply popping the hatch on a corny and getting it clean quick (or easily if you have a keg washer). Further I would have problems deciding when I had gotten every lil bit of left over sediment from the last batch out if I could not look in there…would be forced to way over rinse just to feel safe. Really it is simp[ly too easy to pop the hatch and have at it. It is so easy I literally (and I bet most of us do) comletrely disasemble to clean, store losely assembled and then quickly take apart for a quick dunk in starsan before my beer hits it. Like 3-5 min of work for a beer that has a lot of my labor in it. Well worth the effort.


I don’t clean all the guts with every new keg. I will soak the insides with oxyclean, rinse, sanitize and fill. With every 2 or 3 kegs, I’ll push some oxyclean then sanitizer through my taps to clean them out a little. But I only break my kegs down every so often. Maybe a few times a year. I break my kegerator down once a year. Completely disassemble the tower, take the kegs apart, clean all the connections, replace the beer lines.

Barry, I would agree. I would go nuts wondering if everything was clean. I have had yeast that still needed scrubbed off even after a day long soak in PBW. I’ll pop the lid, thank you.

I drained a keg of Boston red ale yesterday and rinsed the keg really well, but when I popped the top and looked in there was some pretty nasty looking residue on the sides, which I was able to sponge off. I normally clean with the iodine stuff, rinse then run some Star San through the lines and leave the remainder in the cleaned keg under pressure till I’m ready to refill. I also leave the Star San in the beer line until I push it out with a new batch.

The iodine stuff (presumably iodophor) is not a cleaner, it is a sanitizer just like star San is

I’ll generally age my beer in the keg for some period (few weeks to few months) before tapping it, and my experience is that I very often get some kind of gunk that settles to the bottom and sticks there. When a keg blows, I’ll need to use a brush to get it all out. Not really much work to pull the rest apart, give everything a quick rinse and sanitize while I’m at it, so I don’t see much potential for time savings.

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