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 How do I clean my Cornelius keg?

How do I clean my Cornelius keg?

Properly caring for and cleaning you kegs is vital to your beer being its best time after time. You also want to make sure that your lines and taps are properly cleaned as well to prevent off flavors in your brews.

First Use

If this is the first time you are using your keg you need to prepare the keg for use. The kegs are reconditioned, and the o-rings replaced, but the cleaning process uses a caustic acid solution. This solution is very strong, and smells a lot like 7-up or Sprite.

It is important to follow these directions before you use the keg:

  1. Fill the keg with a solution of water and you favorite cleaner. Fill it all the way to the top.
  2. You might want to remove the posts on the keg and soak them in cleaner solution as well because the soda residue can become trapped in the posts. Just remember what post goes on what side of you keg because the opening sizes are not the same. The ‘in’ post will always be the one with the notches on the side.
  3. Let everything soak for several hours. We prefer overnight, but a couple hours will get the job done as well.
  4. Pour out the cleaner solution and pour in fresh water.
  5. Let everything sit for several hours again, or overnight.
  6. Pour out the water and your keg is ready to go. It is worth using sanitizer again if you plan on using the keg right away.
  7. Hint: Do not use chlorine (bleach) to clean your kegs as it pit the inside of the keg.


So you’ve gotten through you first keg of beer and are wondering what do you do with the keg? Let’s give you some direction on what you want to do:

  1. Open the top of the keg and remove all the sediment in the keg. It is best to do this as soon as you are done with a keg of beer. If you don’t have that much time, just take the top off and add a gallon of clean water to the bottom to prevent the sediment from drying out and becoming stuck. Use water to remove all the sediment.
  2. Once the sediment is gone, make a solution of your favorite cleaner and water, or use a product like acid line cleaner to clean you lines. Follow the directions for your product. Close the lid, attach your gas and liquid lines, and turn your gas on just like if you were going to pour a beer.
  3. Place a bucket or large container under your tap.
  4. Open the tap just like you were going to pour a beer.
  5. Allow the cleaner to keep running until the keg is empty.
  6. Shut the tap and you are ready for your next beer.
  7. Note: By doing this, you are cleaning everything at one time, and that will help the equipment last longer and be free from off flavors.
  8. Note: Some brewers like to remove the tap from the shank, take it apart, and clean it, but we leave that up to you.

When you are ready to use the keg again, just mix up some more sanitizer solution like you would with any other piece of brewing equipment, and you are ready to go.

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