Cleaning & Sanitizing in the Brewery

Cleaning and sanitizing in the brewery take energy. You can use mechanical energy. You can use chemical energy. You can even use a combination of both mechanical and chemical energy. Examples of mechanical energy include hand scrubbing with an abrasive pad and Impingement with a directed jet of high-pressure water. Chemical energy is the use of specially formulated detergents to remove specific soil loads. Commonly used cleaners in the brewery include caustic soda-based cleaners, non-caustic cleaners, and acid-based cleaners.

The most effective Cleaning method in the Brewery is a combination of both Mechanical and Chemical Energy.

A common cleaning agent in breweries is Caustic Soda, which is either sodium or potassium hydroxide (NaOH or KOH). It is used in concentrations between 1%-4% and should be used at temperatures between 120°F – 160°F (50°C – 70°C). Caustic soda can be used for CIP procedures for 15 – 30 minutes. It can be combined with Sodium Hypochlorite with caution.

Some advantages of caustic soda are that it is good on proteins and carbohydrates, it is inexpensive, especially if built in the brewery, and it can be reused. However, some disadvantages of caustic soda are that it can set beerstone, is a dangerous chemical, must be neutralized before disposal, higher temperatures are needed for good effect, and cannot be used on “soft” metals and it does not rinse well.

Non-Caustic Cleaners

Non-Caustic Cleaners are another option for brewers. Typical ingredients in non-caustic cleaners are Sodium Carbonate and Sodium Metasilicate. These cleaners should be used in concentrations of 1-2 oz. per gallon of water and at temperatures between 70°F – 180°F (20°C – 82°C). Use non-caustic cleaners to CIP for 30 – 45 minutes.

Some advantages of non-caustic cleaners are that it does not set Beerstone, it is good cleaning on proteins & carbohydrates, they can be used at lower temperatures than caustic soda, they can be used on “soft” metals, it rinses well and is safer on the brewer than caustic soda. On the other hand, non-caustic cleaners cannot be reused, are expensive, do not work well on antifoams and oils, and can take more water to rinse due to buffering capacity.

For more information on other cleaners and sanitizers for your brewery, download this informative Cleaning and Sanitizing in the Brewery PPT by Bryan Pearson of BSI.