How to Clean Corny Keg (full)

Why is it so important to have a clean Corny Keg?

Anyone who has gotten into brewing, or started doing any research, knows that one of the most important parts of brewing is making sure all your equipment is cleaned on a regular basis. This includes all the brewing equipment, as well as all the serving equipment. After all the hours you put into brewing your beer, I would hope that you would put the time into making sure you have a clean corny keg. Otherwise, you are just going to ruin the beer you worked so hard to create. Make sure you know How to Clean Corny Keg!

Items needed:

  1. Corny Keg (recommend a “ball lock” corny keg)
  2. Rebuild Kit For Cornelius Kegs (if it is your first time cleaning a used keg)
  3. PBW (or oxyclean free, if trying to save a few bucks)
  4. Star San (to sanitize your clean keg)
  5. Line Brush (cleaning the dip tube)
  6. Long Handle Scrubber (in case the soak isn’t enough)
  7. Wrenches (11/16” and 7/8″)
  8. Bowl to soak smaller pieces in (1-2 quarts)


Steps to cleaning your corny keg

  1. Break down the keg
    1. Release the pressure in the keg and remove the top.
    2. Give the keg a good rinse, inside and out.
    3. Use the wrenches to remove the two posts.
    4. Pull the poppets out of the posts and remove the gaskets from the tubes.
  2. Soak the keg and parts
    1. Fill the keg with 3-4 Tbsp of PBW and fill the corny keg to the top with water, preferably hot water. When the keg is about half full, make sure to give it a good shake. If the water is too cold, the PBW may have a hard time dissolving. A good stir will fix the problem.
    2. Now either drop all of the smaller pieces and the lid into the keg, or into a smaller bowl. I personally prefer the small bowl. It is easier to keep track of all the small pieces while rinsing them in a small bowl than having to fish them from the bottom of the keg and hope you don’t lose a gasket.
    3. If using a small bowl, fill it with a PBW/water ratio of about 1 Tbsp/gallon and add the small pieces to it.
    4. Let the keg and pieces soak anywhere from 20 minutes to all night long. The longer soak is preferred. A shorter soak is more likely to require more scrubbing.
    5. When the soak is finished, give the keg a quick Scrub and run the Line Brush through the posts and the dip tube to ensure a clean surface. Give everything a good rinse and make sure to wash off all the PBW solution. I have never had an issue, but the PBW can cause issues with sanitizing.
  3. Sanitize
    1. Pour 1 oz of Star San into the keg and fill it until the foam comes out and nicely covers the top of the keg. Foam is our friend, and it does just as good a job as the rest of the mix.
    2. Soak for 20 minutes or more.
    3. Pour out all of the water and shake as much foam out as you can. Don’t worry about residual foam; it is safe for your beer. Never ever rinse the sanitized keg. Tap water is not sanitized. It will completely counteract the sanitizing of the corny keg.
  4. Reassemble
    1. Slide the small gaskets onto the dip tube and the gas tube.
    2. Slide the tubes into the correct locations. The dip tube goes in the “out” side, while the smaller tube goes in the “in” side.
    3. Place the poppets into the posts. Place the posts on the keg and tighten them down. If you are worried, you may sanitize the wrench; but I never have, and have never had a problem.
    4. If you are just planning to clean the keg and store it for later use, simply fill it with CO2 and it will be there ready and waiting for you.

Making sure you keg is prepared to serve your beer really doesn’t take all that long.  Know How to Clean Corny Keg, and keep your beer tasting fresh!

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