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Shutting down your draught system

We’re on our third shift to takeout only, which means you’ve still got lots to do, but less time and fewer staff to do it. Let us take any worries about your draught system off your to-do list.

When you’re not using your system, the beer sitting in the lines causes build-up faster than when you’re pouring. Over a period of weeks, this can cause irreversible damage to your lines.

Here’s our guide to shutting down your draught system so you’re ready to pour when the time comes, and a few things you can do to to make reopening even easier.

First, we perform your regular monthly cleaning and maintenance. We clean your draught lines using a chlorinated cleaner. This removes any build-up and yeast that’s accumulated since your last cleaning.  We remove, disassemble, and scrub all faucets, and scrub your couplers and FOBs, and check all components to ensure a tight seal.

At the end of the cleaning, instead of bringing beer back to the lines, we blow them dry and hang your couplers or rest them on the kegs instead of reattaching them. Finally, we’ll check your glycol deck to ensure it’s functioning properly and will be ready when you are. Finally, we’ll turn off your gas to avoid any potential leaks that could build up in your fridge.

Depending on the length of your lines and how long the shutdown lasts, you could be ready to restart your system on your own. For long-draw systems, contact us when you set your reopening date and we’ll let you know if we should flush the lines again before you reopen.

Depending on your system, we may recommend shutting off your glycol deck. Don’t do this yourself. Your draught tech will let you know what we recommend for your set up.

Here are some steps you can take to help make restarting your draught system even easier when the time comes:

  • Wipe down and dry the keg-fridge walls and kegs. This can help avoid mold growth if this shutdown goes long.
  • Keep your fridge at its usual temperature and cold-store all kegs during the shutdown. The average lifespan of a keg is based on cold storage. Move any sealed backup kegs into the fridge.
  • Before tapping any keg, open or sealed, contact the brewery to ensure it’s still good to pour. Different beer styles and brands have different lifespans.

Clean taps are happy taps

The house is full and your staff is running double time to keep your guests satisfied. A server grabs a glass and fills it with beer. She places it on the bar top and as she opens her mouth to ask if the guest needs anything else, someone groans, “Eww, lipstick.”

Your team would never intentionally serve beer in a dirty glass, but all too often, restaurants and bars knowingly serve beer and cider from an unclean draught system. While dirty beer lines are difficult for the customer to identify visually, they will taste it.

Why clean your draught system

Brewers put a lot of time and effort into developing and testing new recipes. The beer you drank last night may have been in the works for a year before it hits a glass. A poorly maintained draught system can ruin that hard work in an instant.

Here are just a few potential problems the can arise from dirty lines:

Yeast: Many craft beers get their distinctive flavours from the yeasts used to ferment them. While this is a highlight of craft beer, it also means that suspended yeast can stick to and re-ferment on couplers and faucets and in your system’s hoses, adding that distinctive flavour to the next beer you tap.

Mold: All mold needs to thrive is damp air and an organic compound. This makes your draught fridge an ideal location to set up shop.

Beer stone: Technically called calcium oxalate, beer stone can build up in your lines, blocking the beer flow or causing foam.

Bacteria: While most beer-borne bacteria won’t make your guests sick, they will spoil a beer’s flavour and aroma by adding off flavours like buttery diacetyl or vinegary acetic acid.

While our first goal is to keep your beer and cider tasting its best, regular maintenance also avoids wasted beer. Inappropriate gas pressure, a worn washer, or a loose connection can cause foamy beer. A well-maintained draught system reduces waste and saves your establishment money.

How we clean your draught system

We start by running a chlorinated cleaner with an enhanced water conditioning package through your entire system from coupler to FOB to faucet.

While the cleaner breaks down protein soils and sediment, we disassemble your faucets to soak in the same cleaner to loosen any build up. We scrub each shank and faucet, and check all washers and components for wear before rinsing in clear water.

Once reassembled, we reattach the faucets, and blow through the cleaning solution to remove any build up dissolved by the cleaning agent. Finally, we run clear water through all of the lines to remove any remaining cleaner.

Next we’re off to your fridge to scrub each coupler and FOB, and inspect all washers and tighten connection points. Over time, changing kegs can loosen the connection points on your couplers causing gas or beer leaks. If you have a long-draw system, that’s when we’ll ensure your glycol cooling unit is functioning properly and circulating the appropriate concentration of glycol to keep your lines cold.

When everything is squeaky clean, it’s time to bring back your beer so you’re ready to serve.

When to clean your draught system

We recommend at least monthly cleaning and maintenance to ensure any problems with your system are caught and resolved before they become expensive.

If your tap list features predominantly craft beer or you change kegs often, we may recommend a more frequent schedule. Call us to discuss your system and we’ll work with you to build a schedule that meets your needs.