How to Clean Homebrew Kegs

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

How to Use Your Cornelius Keg for the First Time

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 can often use a caustic acid solution. You will want to be sure to remove any cleaning residue prior to using your keg for the first time. 

How to Clean Homebrew Kegs

  1. Fill the keg with a solution of water and you favorite brewing 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 residue can become trapped in the posts. Just remember what post goes on what side of your keg because the opening sizes are not the same. The ‘in’ or gas posts will always have notches on the side.
  3. Let everything soak for several hours. We prefer overnight, but a couple hours will get the job done.
  4. Pour out the cleaning 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.

Re-Using Your Corny 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 clean out all of the sediment in the keg. It is best to do this as soon as possible. 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. You can also use a product like beer 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.