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How to Clean a Beer Draft Cooler

on May 04, 2024

Maintaining a beer draft cooler isn't just about preserving the integrity of your draft system—it's about safeguarding the very essence of the beer you serve. From the moment that golden liquid leaves the keg to the instant it cascades into a waiting glass, every component of your draft system plays a crucial role in preserving its quality and flavor. Yet, amid the hustle and bustle of running a bar or restaurant, the importance of regular cleaning and beer draft cooler maintenance can sometimes be overlooked.

In this guide, we delve into the vital why's and how's of cleaning a beer draft cooler, uncovering the essential steps and best practices to ensure your customers always enjoy a perfectly poured pint. If you're in the market for a new beer draft cooler, don't forget to check out our BEER DRAFT COOLER BUYERS' GUIDE.


Why cleaning a beer draft cooler is essential?

A beer draft cooler is a setup used to store and dispense draft beer. These systems are made up of various components such as CO2 tanks, regulators, air lines, gas blenders, beer lines, keg couplers, draft towers, and faucets, all of which work together to ensure the beer is dispensed at the right temperature and pressure.

Cleaning a beer draft cooler is essential for maintaining the quality of the beer served and ensuring the integrity of the draft system. Over time, beer lines and equipment can accumulate yeast, bacteria, and other organic residues, leading to off-flavors, reduced carbonation, and potential health hazards. Regular cleaning helps remove these contaminants, preventing the buildup of biofilms and beer stone that can affect the taste and appearance of the beer.

Clean draft lines also contribute to proper pouring and serving, ensuring that customers receive a fresh, flavorful beer with each pour. Moreover, routine maintenance reduces the risk of equipment failure and extends the lifespan of the draft system, ultimately promoting customer satisfaction and enhancing the reputation of the establishment.


How do you clean a beer cooler in 9 steps?

Cleaning a beer draft cooler is essential for maintaining the quality of the beer served and ensuring hygiene standards. Here are nine steps to effectively clean a beer draft cooler:

  1. Turn off the CO2 tank and disconnect the keg coupler from the keg.
  2. Place a check ball lifter or screwdriver in the coupler to keep the ball valve open, then place the coupler in a bucket to collect the spent cleaning solution and water.
  3. Disconnect the draft faucet using a spanner wrench.
  4. Fill a cleaning jar or bottle with a mixture of warm water and a sodium hydroxide (caustic) based beer line cleaning solution.
  5. Connect the cleaning jar to the faucet shank using a beer line washer, then pump the cleaning solution through the beer lines.
  6. Allow the cleaning solution to soak in the lines for 5-10 minutes before pumping the remaining solution through.
  7. Rinse the system thoroughly by pumping clean, cold water through the lines until all the cleaning solution is flushed out.
  8. Disassemble and clean the keg coupler and faucet using a brush, then reassemble them.
  9. Reconnect the keg coupler and turn the CO2 back on to retap the keg.

Regular maintenance and cleaning are crucial for the longevity of the beer draft cooler and the quality of the beer served. It's advisable to follow manufacturer recommendations and local health regulations when performing cleaning procedures.


How often should you clean a beer draft cooler?

The recommended frequency for cleaning a beer draft cooler is every two weeks. This cleaning frequency is recommended to maintain a sanitary environment and ensure the quality and taste of the beer.

Some sources note that the exact cleaning frequency may vary depending on factors like the number of beer types being served, but two weeks is the general guideline. Regularly draft beer equipment cleaning is crucial for maintaining the intended flavor profile of the beer.

So in summary, we recommend cleaning a beer draft cooler every two weeks as the standard industry practice for optimal beer quality and taste.


Best cleaning solution for beer draft coolers

The best cleaning solution for beer draft coolers is a sodium hydroxide (caustic) based solution for regular cleaning, with an additional recommendation of using an acid-based cleaner every third or fourth cleaning session. It is advised to use a motorized cleaning pump to recirculate the cleaning solution for at least 10 minutes for effective cleaning.

There are also other solutions for cleaning a beer draft cooler:

  • Alkaline Cleaners: These cleaners are effective at breaking down organic residues and biofilms commonly found in beer lines. They are typically used in conjunction with a low-pressure pump to circulate the solution through the lines.
  • Acid Cleaners: Acid-based cleaners are useful for removing mineral deposits and beer stone buildup from the lines and equipment. They are particularly effective in areas with hard water.
  • Brewery-Approved Cleaners: Many breweries and draft system manufacturers offer their own proprietary cleaning solutions. These products are specifically formulated to meet industry standards and are often recommended for use with their equipment.
  • Oxygen-Based Cleaners: Oxygen-based cleaners use the power of oxygen to break down organic matter. They are environmentally friendly and can be an effective option for regular draft beer equipment cleaning.
  • No-Rinse Cleaners: Some cleaners are designed to be left in the lines without rinsing, saving time and water. However, it's essential to ensure that any residual cleaner won't affect the taste or quality of the beer.

Attention: When selecting a cleaning solution for your beer draft cooler, it's essential to follow the manufacturer's recommendations and guidelines.



A clean beer draft cooler isn't just a matter of hygiene—it's a testament to your commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. By following the steps outlined in this guide and embracing regular maintenance practices, you're not only ensuring the freshness and flavor of the beer you serve but also prolonging the lifespan of your draft system.

Remember, cleanliness is not just a task to check off your list; it's an ongoing dedication to excellence in every pour. So, as you embark on your journey to cleaner, better beer, may your taps flow freely, your glasses sparkle, and your customers raise their glasses in appreciation of the brews you serve.