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Clear Brew, the beer line cleaning professionals, guide to reopening your cellar after lockdown

The most recent lockdown, took many publicans by surprise, giving them very little time to shut down their cellars in the most effective way. The time for re-opening is thankfully, fast approaching, so Clear Brew, the UK’s leading independent beer line cleaning company have provided some useful tips on how to get your cellar ready, to assist you in serving pristine pints to your very thirsty customers!

At least a week prior to opening

Check the dates of unopened stock that has been left in the cellar. Many kegs and may still be well within their best-before dates. If any are not, speak to your supplier regarding extending these dates. Some suppliers may be under pressure to fulfil orders, so whilst it may be difficult to anticipate the flow of customers try to be realistic, check the long-term weather forecast, this may impact the number of customers you expect in the first few weeks.

Order a supply of dispense gas at the same time as your stock. Gas suppliers are expecting a run on their products, so order early.

Preparing your Cellar

Once you have been given an indication of when to expect your first delivery, it is time to get the cellar ready. Eliminate any stale air or odours by opening up the cellar door, try to ventilate the cellar for as long as possible (at least a couple of hours). Give your cellar a deep clean, including floors, walls and sinks, check drainage and ensure that lighting is adequate. If you do not have the time to carry this out, speak to professionals such as Clear Brew who as part of their line cleaning service can carry out cellar cleaning.

Once the cellar’s clean, check other equipment within the cellar. Dust and debris may have accumulated, especially in places such as fan and ventilation grills. Before switching on, brush all of these areas and sweep up the floor afterwards. Check the remote cooler and python control unit, they may need topping up with water and glycol. Once clean and all checks have been carried out ensure all equipment is working correctly.

Finally, clean and sanitise all loose cellar equipment, such as taps, keg connectors, auto-tilts, extractor rods and beer line exteriors. These are standard practises when Clear Brew carry out their line cleaning, so once again if you do not have the time or are in any doubt about what to do, use professional services such as theirs.

Cleaning your lines

Lines that have been left standing still for significant periods of time can accumulate nasty micro-organisms which can impact both visually and taste wise, on the beer your serve. Biofilms that normally accumulate in the lines will have become stubborn and hard to remove. Ensure that you use an effective line cleaning solution and carry out the process until you are completely comfortable that your beer lines are clean, free from any chemical residue and ready to serve beer tasting as it should do. Professional companies such as Clear Brew, carry out line cleaning on a regular basis, have experience of bringing back to life cellars that have remained dormant for some time and enable you to focus on getting other aspects of the bar ready. Part of a professional service includes sanitising all elements of the dispense system, including nozzles and bar equipment.

preparing beerlines reopen your pub

Before the big day

Prior to opening carry out a final cellar check. The temperature should be between 11-13 °C. If you have not already done so, connect the beer up in the cellar. Attach the couplers to the kegs, turn on the gas supply (making sure gas bottles are stored correctly) bleed cellar buoys/fob detectors with beer, ensuring they are in dispense mode and pull the beer through to the bar. Professional line cleaners such as Clear Brew will carry out this process as part of their standard cleaning protocols. Check your beer is coming through at the correct temperatures (use a beer thermometer) extra cold keg (most lager) is served at between 2 °C and 5 °C. Check the taste, aroma and clarity of all the beers you have decided to start serving on day one of your opening.

For cask ales, it is recommended that they are tapped and vented 24 hours before service and pulled through when you are ready to open. Casks should be served for no more than 3 days and flushed with fresh water or cleaned between each barrel change.

And finally…

All the best of luck and well done for getting ready to serve your customers again.

Clear Brew, The Beer Line Cleaning Professionals