I had three beers in fermentors ready to be transferred to kegs the other night. I had my Winter Warmer, Oatmeal Stout #2, and an American Cream Ale. I took some pics to outline my keg cleaning process and getting things together. Just a little insight into my brew-house operations.
First off, I had no clean kegs ready so I had to make up a quick batch of hot PBW. I generally make about 2 gallons of warm PBW (not boiling) and I put that into my kegs, seal the lid, and shake. The real annoying part about cleaning kegs is that you also need to clean out that dip tube that runs the length of the keg. I have a long thin brush for this, but taking the coupler off and pulling the tubes is a pain. So I started to use a “jumper” connection to transfer hot beer from keg to keg. This allows me to shake the kegs to clean the kegs, then I push the hot PBW through the dip tube and into another keg, which cleans the dip tube and the ball lock connectors a the same time.
Here is a small pot of PBW just about ready to transfer to the first keg. Just starting to foam from the heat.
I lined up all three fermentors on my work table. Doesn’t look like much but left to right is the Winter Warmer, Oatmeal Stout and Cream Ale. I actually brought these out to the cold garage the night before. This dropped the temps down to about 40-43F, and helps to crash out more of the solids in the brew.
Here is the transfer set up in progress. The keg on the right (not in the fridge) is hooked up to the gas manifold (grey connector), and it is full with PBW cleanser. You can see the double ended jumper between the two kegs. The keg on the left has the lid off and is ready to receive the hot cleanser. I just turn on the gas at 25PSI and blast the cleanser through. I let the gas run for about 10 seconds, then turn it off. That builds up enough pressure to push the whole keg through. No need to over do it and waste CO2 gas.
Once the transfer is done. I seal the keg with the cleanser and shake it up for a minute or so. Then I rinse out the first keg which is now clean and ready for sanitizer. I transfer sanitizer (Star-San) the same way through all the kegs and all the dip tubes.
I go through several kegs this way rather quickly with little scrubbing or effort on my part. I just let the cleanser and the equipment do the work. Sort of like a mini CIP (Clean in place) opertation. After all my kegs are cleaned up and ready for beer I just go down the line with a siphon transferring each beer to its new keg. I take a sample for my hydrometer on each brew for my notes.
Once all the kegs are filled, I purge the headspace with CO2 and then I connect all the kegs to the gas manifold and start force carbonating. In 5 days or so I’ll have three new beers fresh and ready to drink.
After all this work I called it quits and drew a quick pint of ESB to cap off an evening of beer chores.