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Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by beertunes, Feb 22, 2020.
Here's how Founders does it:
And bartenders need to keep the tap nozzles away from the beer being poured.
I get so disgusted when I see contact between the 2.
There's really no excuse these days not to clean your taplines. From off flavors to beer (and sales) loss. The discerning customer/consumer deserves cleanliness and quality, and beer as true to what the brewer intended as possible. I've worked at a few bars where line cleaning was a dismissed practice, an afterthought, a needless extravagant expense. Each of those joints are all now closed. They all had some other issues, for sure. Regardless, SOP it need be.
I've seen some breweries and bars post the 'date cleaned' on their beer menu board. It would be nice if every place did that, and that we could trust that it was actually done.
I've had "dirty tap line" beer, and I couldn't get the metallic taste out of my mouth for about 24 hours. Tried everything, just took time. I figured it was infected, but others have said it was dirty tap lines.
A taproom manager told me they once had to change out a line when they couldn't de-skunk it after being used for New Belgium The Hemperor. That stuff is vile, as if was was obtained from fresh-squeezed skunk.
There is a local chain which I go to a few times a year and they have Shiner Cheer (Pecan/Peach Dunkel) on that tapline every Christmas time. For the rest of the year, each seasonal that goes on that line ends up tasting like peach. Mgr came over one night and asked how everything was and I informed him of that and he said "Huh, we clean our lines". I told him I had no doubt that they did, but they needed to replace the tubing because it was ruined on that one tap. We'll see if they listened next time I go.
Yup, certain beers do leave their mark. Replacing some tubing is (relatively) cheap. Even lines that are properly maintained, after a while, get a certain stain.
The very best proprietors always have their own cleaning equipment and determined schedule of cleaning beer lines. After all considerations beer is a food product and requires cleanliness and close attention. The big beer companies leverage line cleaning for cherished tap placements. They only clean "their" own lines. The business owns the lines period and they should be responsible for their cleaning.
I like how they're using the exact SOP for the bartender/employee: "Cleaning must be finished before the taproom opens" lol
Also, "Put everything away in the proper place - other people use this stuff too." What do they mean by "other people"?!
I’ve has dirty tap line beer too and the beers were just terrible, not off but truly bad. The smarter owners have them professionally cleaned by people who both know exactly what they’re doing and the proper equipment. Can’t think of a better way to go out of business they selling beers out of dirty lines. If you get that reputation your in trouble, what do you do announce, “ we now have clean tap lines “ on your sign?
Wait - there was an era when there were excuses for serving beer from dirty tap lines?
A BEER DISPENSERS HANDBOOK - U. S. Brewers Association, 1937
Section Four - Sanitation:
Of course, that was the era of bars with only a couple of taps and before the "closed system" Sankey keg became the standard.
This PSA is especially poignant with all the hazy IPAs that have oat, wheat, lactose, etc. Those proteins build up fast.
Sam and Kitty split duty every other week at The Long Branch Saloon. They most often had whiskey. It was good for dancing and removing bullets from the gullet.
The sad thing is at least by me the distributors will clean the lines if the locations push hard enough.
We have had to do that several times at the growler store I work at. Most notably for New Belgium The Hemperor. Everything coming from the line reeked of pungent vegetal nastiness (it wasn't good Pot smells or tastes, just days old unwashed stank). Didn't matter how many times we ran cleaner or how long we let it soak. The other notable time was when a newer brewery was trying out hazy IPA's for the first time (they claimed they were going to be the "Trillium" of Houston) and the line literally clogged up so much from all the crap in the keg that no liquid could go through. We have never had them on again, but live and learn.
Ohh. The only Pub here in town gets their lines cleaned only once a month. I’ve never noticed anything off.
Finally was able to try Perennial Abraxas (19). I’ve had more than enough fine stouts to discern between a beer I like/dislike, vs poor quality. Based on all I have gathered, this is a fantastic beer. And it tasted almost medicinal. There was a sharp medicinal burn and no flavor. I am assuming the tap line was compromised.
I recall seeing this at breweries in the past, but haven't noticed it recently. Not sure if I'm not paying attention, or they stopped posting it.
There is a local company that provides the service, and their website list a number of breweries, restaurants, and watering holes that use their service.
Had a bartender working for me in another industry. She told me that she would never drink beer from a tap because too many bars that she has worked at did not clean their lines frequently enough. After reading about the crap that has grown in lines including bacteria and parasites, and with me having a compromised immune system, I am much more careful about where I drink from a tap.
Pretty much the only time I drink anything on draft these days is when I'm at a brewery taproom or know the proprietors care about their draft lines. I've worked in the service industry for years, and I can't tell you how many times I've heard stories like yours from servers and/or bartenders.
That is why you must trust your local publican. Good beer places stand out and do not necessarily proliferate.
I have a trade show in Northern Indiana each year and there is a bar that has 80 some craft beers on tap. The beers taste awful, such off flavors it’s astonishing. I don’t understand why they don’t clean their lines, but then again 90% of their customers drink either Miller Lite or Bud Light.
I would reckon that if the tap lines aren't cleaned, it would be most noticeable with beers that are on the lighter side. Shrugs.
My brother said the Miller lite tasted odd but not clearly bad.
I don't understand why their distributors, as representatives of the breweries, don't make them do it.
If most of their customers drink the Miller or Bud stuff then maybe they save money and clean only those two lines and say, "Piss on you craft beer lovers. You want flavor, you get extra of it here." .
You don't want to piss-off the customer (the bar owner). Sales need to be made.
If anybody has worked in a beer hall or watched Bar Rescue you know how nasty that ish can get. One of the Beer 101 rules that get constantly ignored.
Better to piss off the owner than the customers who are buying the beers and expecting them to taste what the brewers intended. I see line cleaning at our Old Chicago all the time.
Yeah, and in reality, the distributor's sales person will probably lose their job for looking the other way when the beer tastes bad because of those dirty lines.
Could it also be, the beer is so old? Even being old it shouldn’t have wildly off flavors.
Probably call the tap lines the n word after too.
Fill me in.
That's the n word that came to my mind.
I think that really hits the nail on the head though, if those places has happened to close down for other reasons those reasons are probably tied into the same mentality of not cleaning tap lines. It carries over the other day today things that are indulgences so to speak, like wiping down the bar, or cleaning the glasses out.
This reminds me of the Island Grill in Fort Collins... all they have that I wanna drink is Odell IPA on draft, like almost anywhere in town- which is obviously great.
What’s not great is that they clearly NEVER clean their lines... they serve you a beer that you can *see* from a mile away is an Odell IPA, but then you take a sip and can tell immediately that its off. Its honestly disgusting...
Then you hear that ‘if you think that’s bad, you should see their dumpster area...’ and its clear that nothing in between the taps and the garbage out back is anything you should be consuming.
TL;DR anywhere with draft lines needs to clean them regularly to keep the integrity of the beer being served.
Dirty tap lines is the same as a restaurant not cleaning their grills, ovens, or stoves. Its basic stuff, and if it isn't done, there are a whole lot of other things they aren't doing. Same deal with keeping old beers on tap, if it isn't selling enough to cover the keg before it gets too old, get rid of it.
I'm glad I work at a place that views all of this stuff as super important. We make our own beer and serve other beers of nearby breweries, so there is a reputation to uphold, with customers and others in the industry.