Beer Line Cleaning Upgrade

>> Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Brew Hardware has some really innovative gadgets for homebrewers. He may have not been the very first to use them, but Bobby M was the first homebrewer I ever saw using stainless cam-locks on their brew rig and he's the reason I use them on mine. I recently ordered a stainless racking cane with a male cam-lock fitting soldered onto one end. I use it as a carboy filler. It ensures none of my precious brew ends up on the garage floor while I gently manipulate the boil kettle so that I don't leave any sweet wort behind. Other items I've ordered from Bobby include my stainless steel elements in my HLT and HEX, and the sight glass on my keggle.

One of the newer products from Brew Hardware is the ball lock disconnect jumpers. Judging by how quickly they sold out after their introduction, they seem to be very popular. I saw they were back in stock, so I pulled the trigger on a set about a week ago.

The basic idea with these is they let you connect two ball lock QD's together. This is useful when cleaning lines, transferring between kegs, etc. I decided to use these so I could clean all my draft lines at the same time. I'd built one of the DIY Beer Line Cleaners in the past and it works fairly well, but from what I've read, beer line cleaning solutions do a better job when they're recirculated. That plus cleaning multiple lines at the same time is pretty appealing.

I'd planned on using a small fountain pump that I bought years ago. I know I have this pump somewhere in the house...I just don't know where. After about 45 minutes of looking and failing it I went to my spare parts bin to see what else I could use to somehow connect this to my portable brew pump. I found a type B stainless cam-lock fitting and scavenged the post fitting off my DIY Beer Line Cleaner. I then used a LFA-177 brass fitting from Lowes to join the two stainless fittings together. What I ended up with was a fitting that converts from cam-lock to a ball lock post so I can connect the keezer lines directly to the pump.

To use the cleaner, I attach the converter fitting to the pump output then connect the taps as follows:
  • Pump pulls liquid from reservoir
  • QD #1 connected to adapter on pump
  • Tap #1 jumpered to Tap #2 with silicone hose
  • QD #2 jumpered to QD #3 with ball lock jumper
  • Tap #3 jumpered to Tap #4 with silicone hose
  • QD #4 jumpered to QD #5 with ball lock jumper
  • Tap #5 returns to reservoir
I recently used this setup for the first time and it worked great. I was picking up some oxidized character on one of my lines. When bypassing the tap, I wasn't picking up anything odd, and the beer actually took first place in a club comp. So it seemed the issue was definitely with the line itself. I did a hot flush, followed by a recirc of hot Oxyclean, hot rinse again, hot recirc with Liquid Line cleaner, hot rinse and recirc, and lastly a sanitizer recirc. Beer lines are now running clean and absent of any off flavors. Here are a couple pictures of the components.
Brew Hardware Jumper
Cam-lock to ball-lock adapter