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How does a brewery clean beer equipment without a CIP system?

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    In the previous article, we have briefly introduced the precautions when choosing CIP equipment. In our layout design of breweries, we often recommend that our customers install CIP systems for equipment cleaning, but we also understand that some breweries did not plan to use CIP system cleaning in the early stage due to financial or space reasons. So how should a brewery without a CIP system clean its own beer equipment, and what cleaning agents should it use? In this short guide, we’ll discuss standard cleaning procedures commonly used in breweries.

    Manual cleaning of beer equipment in breweries
    Manual cleaning of beer equipment in breweries

    Manual cleaning of beer equipment in breweries

    cleaning process
    Mix the cleaning solution directly in the container and use a separate cleaning pump. The cleaning station must be mobile (on wheels) to reduce hose length and increase cleaning pressure.

    Ideally, breweries should be cleaned after use, but this doesn’t always happen on the same day. However, once brewing is complete, at least the entire brewhouse must be rinsed.

    Rinse off any organic matter that has been washed away with a hose or pressure washer.

    Spray hot water into the container to shock the dirt, then spray again with a hose or pressure washer.

    Run hot water through all pipes to remove any traces of wort, grain, etc.

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

    The next step is to give the container a quick alkaline wash. This will remove more stubborn dirt. Recirculate the hot lye (up to 80°C) into any containers that require cleaning for at least 30 minutes per container. The prepared cleaning lye can be reused in individual containers if the containers have been rinsed clean and there is not much organic matter to begin with. The lye is run through the pipes and allowed to soak for about 30 minutes. Rinse off thoroughly.

    Cleaning of the heat exchanger
    This is one of the most important tasks, because it is here that the wort loses its protection from the heat and becomes susceptible to infection. After the hot rinse, a filter is used to recirculate the hot lye into the heat exchanger, flushing away debris first. Recirculate for at least 30 minutes, then soak for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. For best results, backflush the heat exchanger, ensuring bidirectional flushing.
    Before the next use, some breweries run a low-concentration acid sanitizer through a heat exchange to eliminate any potential threats, and let it soak until ready to use. Alternatively, pasteurize boiling (or above 75°C) water or even wort by passing it through a heat exchanger.

    Cleaning beer equipment
    Cleaning beer equipment

    Disassemble beer equipment for cleaning

    Cleaning Fermentation Vessels and Sake Tanks

    Fermenters and sake tanks should be cleaned as soon as possible after emptying of beer. The earlier it is the easier it is to clean, otherwise dry foam and yeast will stick to the edges.

    to empty

    To empty the container, depressurize first. Be sure to ventilate to get rid of carbon dioxide (if you start to feel dizzy, get outside for fresh air immediately.)
    Next, connect the hose to the valve and slowly open it. Sometimes, especially after high doses of dry hops, the valves can become clogged. Pump hot water back to the valve to clear the blockage. If allowed, pour the yeast, trub, and whatever is left of the beer down the drain. After emptying, open all valves and manholes and allow it to vent.


    First, do a thorough rinse of the container with general purpose hot water – this should remove residual grime. Next, open the manholes and valves and look inside — be careful not to inhale carbon dioxide. Use a hose to rinse off any stubborn parts, but don’t spend too much time doing this. Leave valves and manholes open and vented for at least one hour before alkaline cleaning. This releases carbon dioxide from the container, which would otherwise neutralize the caustic, or in severe cases cause the vacuum to fail and implode your container.

    lye rinse

    Close the manhole and all valves, then connect the container to the cleaning pump. Inject 1% lye and recirculate for at least 30 minutes. In most cases, this is enough to remove the worst organic matter.
    Drain the lye and rinse thoroughly with hot water. A pH meter can be used to check that the caustic has been completely flushed out. Do not rinse residue with cold water after a hot lye rinse – this could create a vacuum and cause the tank to deflate!

    to disassemble

    After hot rinsing, carefully remove the valves, rack arms, carbon rods from the vessel (wear gloves when handling the carbonite as oils from the skin can clog the carbon rod holes), etc. Check the opening and scrub or rinse off any remaining dirt. Often, yeast deposits will build up in these areas, requiring hand cleaning. Hand wash all parts (including clips and gaskets) and soak in hot water. Rinse and reconnect everything, ready for pickling.

    Acid Rinse

    Allow container to cool completely before rinsing with acid. Generally, pickling should be done the same day it is used to provide the best protection. Simply attach the container to the cleaning station and recirculate the peracetic acid solution for approximately 30 minutes. At this concentration, you don’t need to rinse it out of acid residue after emptying

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