Keg Infection

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Uncle Fester

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All,
Been a looooong time since I posted anything, but it's a new year, so here goes.

I have a 3 font T bar sitting on a freezer, running an STC1000. One beer line has developed an infection. The usual, antiseptic, band aid type of infection.

I have tried a few things, running caustic soda (1tblspoon/litre) through the font, followed by PBW (1 tblspoon/litre) and finally starsan (1 cap/litre)

Infection is still there.

Going to the next step, pulling the keg apart and soaking it. My question, given that the tub I will use to completely immerse my keg in is about 50 litres, what chemicals should I use, what concentrations and what order?

Starting with the keg, and finally re-sanitising the tap (I have a garden sprayer with a liquid disconnect on it for flushing the lines and font.)

All replies gratefully accepted.


Happy new year,

Fester.

**EDIT**

I found this post from way back:
Raising A Keg Form The Dead

- many recommended using boiling water to sanitize a keg. Would filling a keg with boiling water and then running it through the font be worth trying as a chemical free alternative?

TIA,

Fester
 
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Danscraftbeer

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Thorough cleaning should do it but that failing I will use pure phosphoric acid sanitizer for everything. Diliuted correct its rinse free. I add 1ml per liter into the clean keg then fill with boiling water. Seal, roll it etc. Leave it to cool down like cubing.
Disassemble everything in the serving lines, I will soak clean them in a strong warm bath of sodium percarbonate then boil the cleaned parts in sanitizer. Replace the beer line too if its that persistent but I've never got an infection like that yet, touch wood.
 

Uncle Fester

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Thorough cleaning should do it but that failing I will use pure phosphoric acid sanitizer for everything. Diliuted correct its rinse free. I add 1ml per liter into the clean keg then fill with boiling water. Seal, roll it etc. Leave it to cool down like cubing.
Disassemble everything in the serving lines, I will soak clean them in a strong warm bath of sodium percarbonate then boil the cleaned parts in sanitizer. Replace the beer line too if its that persistent but I've never got an infection like that yet, touch wood.
Thanks - Will get onto it straight away.

Fester.
 

Grmblz

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Oh dear, here we go again, OK this is NOT the recommended thing to do with stainless, BUT as a one off neutron bomb it works, BLEACH! yeh I know, pitting, residual taste yada, yada, despite what they say on the label all "domestic" as opposed to "commercial" sanitisers have their limitations, bleach kills just about anything, so unscrew the posts and dismantle them, pull the tubes and washers/grommets out, remove the lid, unscrew the PRV, chuck all the bits in a container and fill the keg and container with a bleach solution, make sure the post threads are soaked, pull the PRV a few times to soak all of it's internals, put the liquid out tube into the keg through the big hole so that it's completely submerged, I'd use 1L bleach to 23L water, yeh it's overkill, chuck all the rubber bits (little o rings in disconnect poppets, every bit of rubber, in the bin, soak everything else for an hour then rinse, rinse, rinse, then rinse with a strong solution of acid sanitiser (will help re-passivate the stainless, and neutralise the bleach) do the same with your disconnects, and taps, now it becomes problematic, I would normally advise replacing the line, but seeing as you have a font, that might be too much grief, I wouldn't put bleach through a line normally but if it's a real pita to replace the line then run some bleach through it, just be aware it'll take a lot of flushing afterwards.
Sorry Uncle, I know it's a massive, but at the end of the day you'll have a clean system. Just be aware that bleach and stainless don't really play nicely together, but a lot of the bad rap has come from people using it on a constant basis, leaving it to soak for days etc. With care it can be used successfully, and will even kill you if you're silly enough. 🤣
 

MHB

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Personally I would go with Iodophor. Bleach, well the free Chlorine in it, will damage stainless, Iodine wont. It is however just as good at killing bugs and Iodophor also contains acid, the phor part of the name is a clue.
Other than that Grumblz procedure is pretty much the way I would tackle the problem.
I would replace any lines to taps that may have been exposed and if possible all the small parts, they cost a shed load less than losing another brew.

One thing I do disagree on is the notion that acid sanitiser will be strong enough to passivate stainless. The chemistry is a bit involved but it simply lacks the ability, even undiluted I suspect it isn't up to the job. Passivation is reasonably exacting. There is a fine line between enough oomph to chemically dissolve out the Iron (Fe) and leave the Chrome and Nickel behind and eating the whole thing, which is what passivation is all about.
Citric Acid wont work either, except under very specific conditions and in concert with other chemicals, yes there are passivating preparations that contain citric acid, but the stuff from woollies isn't going to work- ever.
Mark
 

Uncle Fester

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Oh dear, here we go again, OK this is NOT the recommended thing to do with stainless, BUT as a one off neutron bomb it works, BLEACH! yeh I know, pitting, residual taste yada, yada, despite what they say on the label all "domestic" as opposed to "commercial" sanitisers have their limitations, bleach kills just about anything, so unscrew the posts and dismantle them, pull the tubes and washers/grommets out, remove the lid, unscrew the PRV, chuck all the bits in a container and fill the keg and container with a bleach solution, make sure the post threads are soaked, pull the PRV a few times to soak all of it's internals, put the liquid out tube into the keg through the big hole so that it's completely submerged, I'd use 1L bleach to 23L water, yeh it's overkill, chuck all the rubber bits (little o rings in disconnect poppets, every bit of rubber, in the bin, soak everything else for an hour then rinse, rinse, rinse, then rinse with a strong solution of acid sanitiser (will help re-passivate the stainless, and neutralise the bleach) do the same with your disconnects, and taps, now it becomes problematic, I would normally advise replacing the line, but seeing as you have a font, that might be too much grief, I wouldn't put bleach through a line normally but if it's a real pita to replace the line then run some bleach through it, just be aware it'll take a lot of flushing afterwards.
Sorry Uncle, I know it's a massive, but at the end of the day you'll have a clean system. Just be aware that bleach and stainless don't really play nicely together, but a lot of the bad rap has come from people using it on a constant basis, leaving it to soak for days etc. With care it can be used successfully, and will even kill you if you're silly enough. 🤣
Update - I changed the keg for a PET option - so I can use stainless unfriendly cleaners

I bought the keg cleaner from Keg king, so I can PBW/starsan everything. Its still fu*king there...
 

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Righto let's get serious, just to be clear, you have 3 kegs on 3 taps, and one of the taps pours infected beer, you switched the keg for a PET one to see if it's keg related, and the infection is still there on the same tap, replace the line, strip and sanitise the shank, disconnect, and tap, if you can't get the disconnect apart replace it, I'd dunk them all in bleach, or as Mark suggests ^ iodophor. PBW is a cleaner not a sanitiser, and I've had stuff grow in stored starsan. Let us know how it goes, I love a good whodunnit.
 

mynameisrodney

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Given jgriffen's comments, maybe its also worth switching the CO2 lines and seeing if the infection moves. Maybe some beer made it up into the gas line/disconnect where your cleaning process isn't reaching.
 

Uncle Fester

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Ok Guys - an update... Thought I had it nailed but it came back again, although Im not 100% convinced it isn't oxidization either.

I replaced the cornys with PET alternatives. Im going down the iodophor path but Ive got myself a pond pump so I can circulate PBW through the font for half an hour or so before sanitising with iodophor.

If that doesn't work, I guess Ill be learning some basic font plumbing.

Also going to start pressure fermenting and oxygen free transfer as well to make sure I have it nailed once and for all.


Great to see this forum is still as friendly as ever.

Fester out!
 

Uncle Fester

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Given jgriffen's comments, maybe its also worth switching the CO2 lines and seeing if the infection moves. Maybe some beer made it up into the gas line/disconnect where your cleaning process isn't reaching.
Replaced all C02 lines and boiled the stainless 3 way splitter. New ball lock connectors as well
 

MHB

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Fester
It’s rare for the stainless part of a system to hold a persistent infection. Nearly every time it’s the plastic and rubber parts. By their nature they are porous or at least penetrable by bugs, which a solid metal surface like a well cleaned SS tank isn’t.
You will get near total sterilisation of the stainless parts with just boiling water.
All the small parts should be replaced or soaked in a sanitiser. The big advantage of Iodphos and bleach is that the molecule that does the sterilising is small and gets into every nook and cranny and it’s totally fatal to all bugs (at the right strength and contact time).
It isn’t all that hard to change out the lines in a T-bar font, I would routinely change out lines after 5 years or if I was in the least suspicious of them.
Not as difficult as people make out, if you know a couple of tricks. If you go this way I would replace all the lines at the same time. If you want some help, take some pix of the font, including the bottom where the lines go in, especially is it’s a flooded font
Mark
 

Uncle Fester

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Fester
It’s rare for the stainless part of a system to hold a persistent infection. Nearly every time it’s the plastic and rubber parts. By their nature they are porous or at least penetrable by bugs, which a solid metal surface like a well cleaned SS tank isn’t.
You will get near total sterilisation of the stainless parts with just boiling water.
All the small parts should be replaced or soaked in a sanitiser. The big advantage of Iodphos and bleach is that the molecule that does the sterilising is small and gets into every nook and cranny and it’s totally fatal to all bugs (at the right strength and contact time).
It isn’t all that hard to change out the lines in a T-bar font, I would routinely change out lines after 5 years or if I was in the least suspicious of them.
Not as difficult as people make out, if you know a couple of tricks. If you go this way I would replace all the lines at the same time. If you want some help, take some pix of the font, including the bottom where the lines go in, especially is it’s a flooded font
Mark
Thanks Mark.

Ive got a sprayer that can inject undiluted bleach through the lines/tap. Ill give that a bash, and I have iodophor as well, along with starsan and Proxitane (peroxyacetic acid/hydrogen peroxide/acetic acid.

Between all of these, I will be dissapointed if I can't get on top of this.

Fester
 

Uncle Fester

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Thanks Mark.

Ive got a sprayer that can inject undiluted bleach through the lines/tap. Ill give that a bash, and I have iodophor as well, along with starsan and Proxitane (peroxyacetic acid/hydrogen peroxide/acetic acid.

Between all of these, I will be dissapointed if I can't get on top of this.

Fester
Fester
It’s rare for the stainless part of a system to hold a persistent infection. Nearly every time it’s the plastic and rubber parts. By their nature they are porous or at least penetrable by bugs, which a solid metal surface like a well cleaned SS tank isn’t.
You will get near total sterilisation of the stainless parts with just boiling water.
All the small parts should be replaced or soaked in a sanitiser. The big advantage of Iodphos and bleach is that the molecule that does the sterilising is small and gets into every nook and cranny and it’s totally fatal to all bugs (at the right strength and contact time).
It isn’t all that hard to change out the lines in a T-bar font, I would routinely change out lines after 5 years or if I was in the least suspicious of them.
Not as difficult as people make out, if you know a couple of tricks. If you go this way I would replace all the lines at the same time. If you want some help, take some pix of the font, including the bottom where the lines go in, especially is it’s a flooded font
Mark
Here are some photos - Currently Andale taps bit id be happy to change for Brumby if there is some sort of conversion kit. Brumby taps seem simpler.

Font is flooded, but not connected.

Help much appreciated.

Fester

20211015_131740.jpg
20211015_131749.jpg
20211015_131754.jpg
 

MHB

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Ok, the taps are Floryte by Andale and it is worth putting a kit through them. To my mind they are one of the best taps made in Australia and I would stick with them. Service kit here.
They can be a bit tricky to assemble, but when tuned up are a great forward sealing tap.

Is the line inside the fount 4 (4*7) or 5 (5*8) mm?
Mark
 

Uncle Fester

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Ok, the taps are Floryte by Andale and it is worth putting a kit through them. To my mind they are one of the best taps made in Australia and I would stick with them. Service kit here.
They can be a bit tricky to assemble, but when tuned up are a great forward sealing tap.

Is the line inside the fount 4 (4*7) or 5 (5*8) mm?
Mark
youre assuming Ive pulled anything apart. I can give you the beer line dimensions, but ive never got that drastic.
 

The Mack

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Sounds like that might be a great place to focus on- that one tap that was giving you grief..

Sure you'll get to the bottom of it mate- pretty frustrating at the moment though no doubt. Not overly constructive but do love being able to pour boiling water on things in the brewery, just that extra peace of mind!
 

Grmblz

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youre assuming Ive pulled anything apart. I can give you the beer line dimensions, but ive never got that drastic.
Full disclosure, I'm sitting here after a couple of largish late night beers, and I mean no offence, but ffs Uncle, you haven't pulled it apart!!! AND! you're chasing an infection? Oh my giddy aunt!
May I refer you to #4 and #5 of this thread.
You've driven me to a Vana Tallinn (Estonian) night cap, for which I thank you. (something special needs to happen before I can avail myself of my limited supply)
 

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