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Brewery Cleaning Processes

Views: 63     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-01-03      Origin: Site

Most modern brewery equipment uses ‘clean in place’ (CIP) systems to ensure a thorough wash across all surfaces. This means that cleaning solutions are pumped into a vessel via a spray ball, which sprays the interior in its entirety.

You can use a dedicated CIP station to do this, which consists of 2 or 3 vessels, each to hold a different solution. The CIP station is fitted with a pump, and the correct cleaning solution is pumped from the CIP into the vessel. From there, a hose at the exhaust valve of the vessel returns to the pump, allowing the cleaning solution to be recirculated via the spray ball.

Alternatively, mix your cleaning solution directly in the vessel and use a separate cleaning pump. In both cases, it’s important that the cleaning station is mobile (on wheels), to reduce hose lengths and increase cleaning pressure. When using CIP systems, high pressure is desirable, as this will ensure the cleaning solution is sprayed hard enough to reach every part of the vessel.

Cleaning The Brewhouse

Ideally the brewhouse should be cleaned after use, but this isn’t always possible on the same day. However, once brewing is complete, it’s essential that the entire brewhouse system is at least rinsed.

  • Rinse all organic matter washed away with a hose or pressure washer

  • Spray hot water into the vessel to loosen any dirt, then spray again with hose or pressure washer

  • Run hot water through all the pipework to remove any trace of wort, grain, etc.

  • Run hot water through the heat exchanger to dislodge any solids. If possible, run hot water backwards through the heat exchanger for best results.

The next step is to give the vessels a quick caustic wash. This will remove the more stubborn dirt. Recirculate a hot caustic wash (up to 80℃) through any dirty vessels, giving each one at least 30 minutes. If the vessels have been well rinsed and there’s not too much organic matter to begin with, you can reuse the same cleaning solution on each vessel.

Run the caustic cleaning solution through the pipes and let it soak for around 30 minutes. Rinse everything well.


Cleaning The Heat Exchanger

This is one of the most important tasks, as it is here that the wort loses the protection of heat, and becomes susceptible to infection. After a hot rinse, recirculate a hot caustic wash through the heat exchanger, using a filter to catch the worst of the debris.

Recirculate for at least 30 minutes, and then let soak for another 30 before rinsing thoroughly. For best results, backwash the heat exchange, making sure to rinse out both ways.

Before the next use, some brewers run a sanitizing acid solution through the heat exchange to kill off any potential threats, and let it soak until ready to use. Alternatively, run boiling (or higher than 75℃) water or even wort through the heat exchanger to sterilize it with heat.

Cleaning Fermenting Vessels And Conditioning Tanks

Fermenting vessels and conditioning tanks should be cleaned out after being emptied. The sooner you do this, the easier they are to clean, as dried foam and yeast can stick to the edges.

  • Emptying

To empty the vessel, you should first start depressurizing it by opening the spray ball valve. Be sure to turn on any extractors or open the doors and windows to vent the CO2 – and if you start to feel dizzy, head outside for some fresh air immediately.

Next, hook a hose to the exhaust valve, and open it slowly. Sometimes, especially after high dry-hop doses, the valve can become clogged. Pump hot water back into the valve to dislodge the blockage. Empty the yeast, trub, and whatever’s left of the beer into the drain if allowed. Once it’s empty, open up all the valves and the manhole and allow it to vent.

  • Rinsing

First of all, give the vessel a good rinse with hot water via the spray ball – this should dislodge the worst of the dirt. Next, open up the manhole and valves, and take a look inside – be careful not to breathe in the CO2. Use a hose to rinse off any stubborn parts, but don’t spend too much time doing so. Leave the valves and manhole open and vent for at least an hour before the caustic wash. This releases the CO2 from the vessel, which would otherwise neutralize the caustic soda, or in severe situations, cause a vacuum failure and implode your vessel.

  • Caustic Wash

Close the manhole and all valves, and hook the vessel up to your CIP station or cleaning pump. Fill with a caustic soda/warm water solution at 1%, and recirculate for at least 30 minutes. In most cases, this is enough to clean the worst organic matter off.

  • Disassembly

After a good hot rinse, carefully remove all the valves, racking arms, carbonation stones (wear gloves when handling the carbonation stone, as the oils from your skin can block the pores), etc. from the vessel. Check the openings and scrub or rinse out any dirt that remains. Often, deposits of yeast can build up in these areas, and will need to be cleaned by hand. Wash all of the pieces (including clamps and gaskets) by hand and let soak in hot water. Rinse off and reattach everything, ready for an acid wash.

  • Acid Rinse

Allow the vessel to cool down fully before giving it a rinse with acid. Normally, you should only do the acid rinse on the same day that you’ll fill the tank. This offers the best protection. Simply hook the vessel up to your cleaning station and recirculate a mix of peracetic acid and water (0.1% acid to water) for around 30 minutes. At this concentration, you won’t need to rinse the tank out after emptying it.


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