It depends on the application. Sodium Hydroxide, while strong and inexpensive, is more difficult to rinse and more corrosive to faucet finishes. Potassium Hydroxide is more expensive and easier to rinse, but less caustic and corrosive. In beverage line cleaning, Sodium Hydroxide is too corrosive on faucets and fittings to justify use. However, we do blend Sodium Hydroxide with a Potassium Hydroxide solution to take advantage of its alkalinity.
Failure to routinely clean lines and draft equipment will result in glasses of beer that taste bad, smell bad, or have brown flakes floating in them. Bacterial and yeast growth can produce acidic flavors. Organism growth can lead to excessive foaming, cloudy beer, or flakes.
Lines less than 25 feet in length need to be cleaned a minimum of every 2 weeks. Lines greater than 25 feet in length and all glycol cooled systems must be cleaned a minimum of once a week. Faucets should be disassembled and cleaned every time the lines are cleaned. Taps should be disassembled, cleaned and lubricated a minimum of every 2 months. There are many variables, including the type of beer, that affect how often lines need to be cleaned. Adjust your cleaning schedule as needed to maximize the quality and profitability of your draft system.
Using a cleaner formulated specifically for wine will be more efficient at removing tannins (anthrocyanins) and potassium bitartrate build-ups than cleaners for draft beer. If you are using beer system cleaners for wine lines, you may be missing soils impacting the quality of the wine.
Most operations rotate between alkaline and acid based cleaners, but this may not be enough. Rotation between two different alkaline based line cleaners and an acid based cleaner will help remove additional build-up. Penetrate and DAC are designed to be complementary products using different alkaline sources and surfactant formulations to give you the better cleaning, especially when included in an acid rotation.
Bacteria may produce a greenish or yellowish colored material on faucets. If the temperature of your draft beer rises above 50 degrees a secondary fermentation may take place, causing a white colored substance or yeast buildup on faucets. The beer stone will build and may cause drawing problems when it flakes off; evidenced by a brownish color on the faucet, inner beer line wall, or brown flakes in the beer.
Excessive detergent or inadequate rinsing may lead to dispense problems. Lines absorbing detergents may cause a dry phenolic flavor (medicinal/plastic). While soluble proteins lead to cloudiness and head retention problems.
“Beer ready” is a term used to describe glassware properly cleaned for beer use. Improperly cleaned glasses leave behind residues that kills the head of the beer and creates off flavors and odors. A “beer ready” glass keeps the beer sparkling clear and retains a thick, creamy, foam head. Properly cleaned barware leads to added profits and repeat business.