Cleaning with Spent Beer

edited November 2014 in General

So we know that since spent beer is fairly acidic, it can do a pretty good job of cleaning copper.

Has anyone seen any examples of re circulating a freshly spent (and nice and hot) boiler charge through the column's CIP system in order to dousche the schmootz off of the plates,,,,,,, particularly the underside?

100% molasses beer can really leave some funky, sticky deposits. I was thinking that a "solvent" made from the same material as the stuff stuck on the plates would be an excellent cleaner. Any professional painter understands that One thins and cleans with the same solvent found within the paint.

Wondering if the same can be applied here,,,, if you see my meaning?

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  • I've added a little citric acid to the stuff and it upped the potency. even still it's about 30-60 minutes of soaking till it really cleans up.

    I think if you could create dwell time of the solvent on plates it might work fine. then a rinse with water or maybe starsan to clean out any residue.

    Honestly tho I find I need to disassemble the still and clean the stainless well to get the funk off it when I want clean spirits. about every third or fourth run or after stripping and before spirit run has become my method, but I dont have CIP beyond back flushing the column with water

  • edited November 2014

    It would be interesting to see where this would fit in a commercial CIP protocol. Obviously environmental benefits here of being able to use less water and less chemicals. One of the CIP rules of thumb is that inorganic soils were best served with acidic cleaners, but organic soils were best served with alkaline cleaners (caustic). We've got an interesting situation in that the soils are likely both.




    Acid (replace citric or other acid with backset? - you'll likely want to correct the pH)


    Sanitize (not necessary for the still, but we might as well talk generally here)

    I would think, at a minimum, in order to leverage it effectively, it would need to go through at least particulate filtration so you are not soiling your equipment after cleaning it off with water and caustic. You can't sanitize a dirty surface, and if you are potentially leaving organics behind in the equipment, the sanitize will only be partially effective. Example here would be the CIP protocol for a stainless fermenter.

    Some other options are:

    Do your rinses with heated water from the condensers, or at a minimum the pre-rinse.

    Reuse of caustic and acid solutions.

    I suspect (don't quote me) that a cleaner with EDTA (chelating agent) will do a better job of cleaning the copper complexes off the copper and keeping them off as you recirc.

    Doesn't hurt to have big (spray) balls either. Spray balls between plates is probably the ideal situation.

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