Best Practices in Preparation for Re-opening After Extended Draught System Shutdown

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In order to reopen your draught beer system after an extended shutdown, it’s important to complete cleaning and operational procedures before serving any beer to customers. Not doing so could compromise the efficiency of your draught system and quality of the beer service.

  1. If you have advanced notice as to when you are permitted to reopen, contact the person who is responsible for cleaning your draught system and schedule a deep cleaning within two weeks before you re-open.
  2. Do a thorough analysis of your beer inventory. Familiarize yourself with the freshness dates of each brewery you carry. Ensure that beer has been stored cold and properly rotated.
  3. Line cleaners should chemically clean the system as recommended by the Brewers Association Draught Beer Quality Manual (Chapter 7 of DBQM v4). Because of the extended shutdown, it’s highly recommended to have lines cleaned using a 3% caustic solution. Following the caustic cleaning, lines should be thoroughly rinsed with water. Once this step has been completed, lines should be cleaned using an acid solution. Acid should be diluted according to manufacturer’s directions. Once acid cleaning is complete, again, lines must be thoroughly rinsed with water. Use pH strips to verify that chemicals have been completely flushed.
    • Each faucet should be disassembled and detailed. Replace any faucet washers that appear to be damaged or missing.
    •  Visually inspect couplers for cleanliness and ensure that all gaskets are present and intact. Replace if needed. Clean all drip trays, bar mats, and glass rinsers.
  4. Clean and sanitize all glassware.
  5. Tap all kegs that are being served.
  6. Turn gas back on.
    • Check all regulators to ensure that applied pressure setting is correct for your system.
  7. Run beer through each line or FOB (confirm the fob is in dispense mode).
  8.  If you have a glycol system:
    • If glycol power pack temperature was raised during shutdown, readjust temperature to the original operating setting. The standard recommended operating temperature is 28°-30°F, but follow equipment manufacturer’s recommendations.
  9. Evaluate each beer to ensure quality service.
    • Have each beer sampled and complete sensory to ensure optimal appearance, aroma, flavor, and carbonation. If there are quality problems with the beer, contact distributor and/or supplier for best solution.

Remember Draught Safety

  • Breathing high concentrations of CO2 can be deadly! Take care to prevent CO2 buildup in enclosed spaces such as cold boxes. System leaks or beer pumps using CO2 can cause this gas to accumulate in the cooler. To prevent this, beer pumps driven by CO2 must be vented to the atmosphere. CO2 warning alarms are available and recommended for installations with enclosed areas, such as walk-in coolers that contain CO2 fittings and gas lines.
  • Draught line cleaning should only be performed by trained personnel.
  • The best way to ensure complete rinsing of all chemical residue is by checking the pH, which can be done very affordably with test strips. Your line cleaner supplier should be able to provide pH test strips. The pH of caustic cleaner should be 10–13.5; the pH of acid cleaner should be 2–4. When a system is completely rinsed, the pH of the rinse water should be equal to that of the local tap water.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) should always be worn while working or handling hazardous materials.