The right detergent for the keg cleaning
No matter how good the quality of the contents is – if the container is not clean taste every beverage flavourless or even inedible. There are at least just the same amount of cleaning methods as existing keg systems. But which detergent is the best?
Whether big international brewery groups, medium-sized breweries or local small- and micro-breweries – they all meet the daily challenge of producing a high-quality product of constant flavour and quality. To achieve this is not only a hygienic filling process necessary, but also a sterile cleaning of equipment and barrels in which the product will be delivered. We are offering the suitable system engineering. But this is only one part for the perfect result. Only with the combination of the right detergent is it possible to get an optimal cleaning.
The cleaning of kegs itself is already easier than from the other barrels. Since it is not possible for dirt or small bacteria to enter from the outside and since the kegs are hermetically sealed, is the formation of mould and other refuses almost impossible. They only have one opening for the filling-, emptying- and cleaning process. Corresponding valves ensure that the keg is always close.
The best solution of course is the cleaning with caustic, acid and a sterilisation afterwards. Caustic is necessary to remove organic compounds, an afterwards cleaning with acid removes non-organic particles like for example beer scale inside the keg.
Between the times mixed- and hot water were rinsed and the afterwards desinfection with for example water, steam or hydrogen peroxide removes also the last pests. This procedure is especially at the large keg-cleaning-systems possible.
However, by reason of the costs many smaller machines are designed with only one detergent with a sterilisation afterwards. This takes the producer of detergents up. Due to optimise of acid and alkaline detergents is it possible at smaller systems to remove the organic contaminations with only one detergent. “Every master brewer or producer has his own philosophy”, said Karl-Heinz Schröder (61), service engineer at Ecolab and in business for 30 years. “It always depends also on the kegs contents. Mineral water salts remains behind and dissolves better with acid”, said Schröder. It is a different situation for beer and lemonade “here is an alkaline detergent more practical since sweeteners and protein were better dissolved with caustic”.
Principally the product of the detergent producer hat not changed in the about last 20 years. However, they will be continually developed and modified. So there are further ingredients in acid or alkaline cleaning agents which make the cleaning with only one detergent possible. The exact formulation is of course confidential. “It depends on the composition. The detergents will be improved continually with new ingredients. But also here depends it on the customer requirements and on their keg-systems”, said Schröder. But the government has also something to say. “If the legislative authority classifies the ingredients as poisonous we must adapt the detergents and find solutions in order to survive the product and to improve it continually.
The legal requirements to the detergents producers are changing regularly due to new resolutions for the protection of the environment. “The detergents must be suitable for surfaces in contact with food. From the environmental point of view it is possible to neutralise ingredients like nitric acid or caustic soda before they were disposed and therefore they does not have an influence on the environment”, explained Schröder. Since every detergent will disappear in the drain in one day.