The last thing you want after waiting several weeks for your homebrew to ferment is to spoil your beer by putting it in a dirty corny keg. The easiest and most efficient way to clean your keg is with a Keg and Carboy Washer, which will spray the inside of your keg or carboy with a jet of cleaner or sanitizer solution. It’s an easy first-step to cleaning corny kegs.
For those of you without the Keg and Carboy Washer, read the steps below for cleaning and sanitizing your keg.
*Note: Whenever you finish off a keg of beer, rinse the corny keg well with hot water and soak in a brewing cleanser bath for up to 24 hours. This will make cleaning and sanitizing your keg much easier when it comes time to use it again.
How-To Instructions For Cleaning Corny Keg
- Vent pressure from the keg by pulling up on the pressure release valve on top of the keg. This is a safety precaution – don’t skip this step!
- Remove the lid from the corny keg by pulling up on the handle that holds the lid onto the keg. If needed, give it a 90º turn to remove it. Set the lid aside in a cleanser bath.
- Using a socket wrench or crescent wrench, remove the connect posts from the corny keg. Be careful not to strip the screws. Also, take care not to lose the poppets valves. These are the spring mechanisms inside the posts. Place these parts in the cleanser bath, as well.
- Remove the dip tubes by pulling from the topside of the keg. There is a long one for beer and a short one for gas. Set the long one inside the keg (through the lid) and the short one in the cleanser bath.
- Inspect your corny keg O-rings (there are 5 total: 1 for the lid, 2 for the posts, 2 for the dip tubes). Clean them with a damp cloth or replace them if needed.
- Using a damp cloth, clean all keg parts. A line brush can be helpful for getting inside the dip tubes.
- Rinse and dry all parts according to the directions on your cleanser of choice.
If this is a used corny keg and it’s the first time you are using it, then these steps are a must. You should get in the habit of cleaning corny kegs inside and out before using it for the first time.
How-To Instructions For Sanitizing A Corny Keg:
Repeat all steps using your sanitizer of choice (Iodophor or Star San). When finished, reassemble your keg. Be sure to put the right dip tube with the right post. Check for leaks by applying soapy water to each of the posts, around the lid, and to all connections on your CO2 setup. Hook up the gas disconnect to the gas-in post, turn on gas at the tank, then turn on gas at the regulator. 10 psi should be ample pressure to check for leak, which will be indicated by bubbles at the various connections. You may need to tighten the connection or replace the O-ring.
There’s more than one way to go about cleaning corny kegs – how do you clean and sanitize yours? Any tips, tricks or secrets you’d like to share? Here’s some more of our kegging tips.
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder and editor of the Local Beer Blog.