Fault-finding checks

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What tests are necessary to make
sure your kegs are being cleaned,
sanitized and filled correctly
By
Andrew J. Brewer
[email protected]
636-388-9163
Kegs
1
1. 
2. 
3. 
4. 
5. 
6. 
7. 
Spear fitting.
Valve.
Hand hole
Chime
Rolling ring
Spear tube
Drain hole
Barnes neck
7
2
3
4
5
Spear valve types:
Quality testing areas to be covered
  Pre-production checks
Checks during CIP and bringing the Beer down to the line.
  Running checks
Making sure all services supplied within specification and checking all
processes are working correctly.
  Fault-finding checks
Additional checks that will help correct problems found.
  Fault-finding kegs
  A few good tips
Simple things that can stop problems occurring.
Pre-production checks
  During CIP or Sterilization of the line
It is of upmost importance that prior to starting production that the Beer supply and
the machine is clean.
Often when micro problems are seen in the finished product one of the first
questions is: “Was the CIP carried out correctly?”
A simple check sheet that the operator can use to log the temperature and titration of
the CIP solution, length of time taken etc. will help to answer this question.
With additional notes on the procedure such as what valves to open and close etc.
will assist an inexperienced operator preform the task correctly.
Also prior to bringing the Beer onto the line, swabbing the filling head on the
machine is also a good idea to prove the CIP worked.
It is recommend prior to a CIP circulate cold water around the CIP routes and
look for leaks and fix before staring the CIP.
Pre-production checks
  Start up Base line tests
Take micro samples of the Beer coming to the line and at any surge tanks, flash
pasteurizers etc.
Take CO2 in solution, Balling and DO of the Beer being supplied.
If possible take this as close to the filling head on machine as possible prior to
running the first keg.
These Base line reading will help to see if changes to the Beer are occurring in
the keg due to the washing and filling cycles.
Running checks
  Services
Make sure all services supplied to the line and machine are within the specifications
agreed between you and the machines equipment suppliers.
These include:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wash pressures
Wash temperatures
Wash titrations
Purge gas pressures
Back pressure settings during fill
Beer pressure and temperature
Surge tank top pressures
Control air settings on cylinders and valves
Though these reading can be automatically taken it is recommended that manual
readings are also taken by the operator at various times during production using pressure
and temperature gauges fitted where they can be easily and safely read.
All Gauges should be calibrated regularly .
Running checks
  CO2 in solution and DO tests
If you have the equipment these tests will insure your product leaves the brewery at
the specifications you require.
  Micro checks
Use a sanitized coupler and clean all connections
Running checks
  Occasional checks
 
Internal keg inspection.
To make sure the washing cycle you are using is keeping your keg float clean, take a
keg off the machine that has processed through the machine but just prior to filling.
Fully De-pressurize the keg and the using the correct equipment remove the
spear valve and inspect the walls of the keg and its spear.
Running checks
  Occasional checks
 
Internal keg inspection.
Running checks
  Occasional checks
 
Checking on Spear washing
If your equipment has spear washing it is important to make sure the flow rate is set
correctly.
Running checks
  Occasional checks
 
Liquid carryover checks
To make sure all the wash and or sterilizing agent has been removed out of the keg
prior to filling, take a keg off the machine that has been processed just prior to filling.
Place a coupler on the keg, then turn the keg neck down and push the coupler
handle down and measure the amount of liquid that comes out of the gas ports.
 
Chemical carryover checks
To make sure all the chemicals has been removed out of the keg after sterilizing,
take a keg off the machine after the sterilizing agent has been removed out of the
keg.
Note: If Steam is the sterilizing agent, first cool the keg.
Place a coupler on the keg, then turn the keg neck down and push the coupler
handle down and titrate the liquid that comes out of the gas ports.
Fault-finding checks
  Micro problems
Micro problems can be due to many areas:
 
Beer supply or insufficient cleaning of the line prior to production.
Taking samples from Beer supply and swabbing the head should help to find the
problem area.
 
Kegs that cannot be cleaned and sterilized.
If the keg float is not getting cleaned, over time Beer stone and other residues can
harbor bacteria that can not be removed or killed during sterilization.
This where a regular sample internal inspection of the kegs helps.
Note: Also damaged kegs, dents etc. can stop some of the kegs surfaces seeing any
wash solutions and where steam is not used any sterilizing agent.
Fault-finding checks
  Micro problems
 
Kegs that cannot be cleaned and sterilized.
Taking a keg off the machine just prior to the purge of the sterilizing agent, then with
a sterilized coupler, de-pressurize the keg and turn it neck down and collect some of
the sterilizing agent for micro sampling out of the gas ports.
This may help to see if the washing and sterilizing cycle is working.
Note: If Steam is the sterilizing agent, first cool the keg.
If the above is okay taking a keg off the machine just prior to filling the keg, then
with a sterilized “wide mouthed” coupler, de-pressurize the keg and introduce
sterilized water into the keg. Then roll and shake the keg so all surfaces are touched
by the water . Then turn it neck down and collect some of the water for micro
sampling out of the gas ports. This may help to see if the problem is after the wash
is due a dirty head or CO2..
Fault-finding checks
  Micro problems
Micro problems can be due to many areas:
 
CO2 supply
This often a forgotten area for sampling and for cleaning.
The CO2 should be supplied via sterile filter and during CIP the supply pipe work
should be cleaned as far back as possible to that filter.
Micro checking of the CO2 can be performed by bubbling the CO2 through sterile
water and the plating it.
Fault-finding checks
  DO and CO2 in solution problems
These issues often go together and can be caused in problems in the Beer supply in
not removing air traps in pipework etc. and with incorrect setting of top pressures in
supply tanks.
 
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DO problems can also be caused by not removing all air out of the keg prior to filling
and by leaks in Beer or CO2 pipework that is pulling in air during flow by the Venturi
effect.
Check the CO2 pressure and purge times are at the correct settings and try
increasing the purge time to correct the problem.
For Venturi problems, circulate cold water around the system and check for leaks.
Fault-finding checks
  DO and CO2 in solution problems
 
DO2 pick up and CO2 loss or pick up problems are often caused by turbulent filling
during the Beer fill and can be caused by Beer pressure problems or more likely by
problems controlling the Back-pressure.
To check if the Back-pressure control system is working correctly allow a keg to
process through the machine but turn off the Beer supply.
Allow the keg to think it is Beer filling and then take it off the machine and conduct a
head pressure test.
If the Back-pressure control system is working correctly the pressure should be
within 1 to 2 PSI of it’s set point.
Fault-finding kegs
  Keg with window and pressure and temperature gauges
For safety reasons this test keg should be purchased from a keg manufacturer
and certified for this use and not a home built device.
Also all gauges should be able to take full vacuum.
Fault-finding kegs
  Automatic test keg
This keg will allow you to automatically log all the pressure , temperature and fill
information for the keg throughout the complete process.
Profamo Inc. - www.profamo.com
Fault-finding kegs
  Automatic test keg
A few good tips
  Monitor all services and utilities
If you do not have pressure gauges fitted, fit them!
  CO2
Keep the CO2 supply and pipe work as clean as possible.
  Learn all the machines processes
Find out from the machines manufacturer what checks are made in the
program to insure all processes are carried out correctly.
  Do not let any one change the machines program
  Monitor your keg float
One-way kegs
Acknowledgements
Andres Jensen
www.jenrey.ca
416-670-8897
Jeff Gunn
www.iddeas.com
805-529-9890
Chris Nimptsch
www.profamo.com
941-284-7990
I would like to thank all the above for providing information and pictures for this
presentation.
Questions?
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