UltraSonic Cleaning and Electronic Beer Line Cleaning Options: Do They Work?

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New bar and restaurant owners are committed to keeping their beer lines clean and operating efficiently. To keep customers happy with the quality of their beer, cleaning the beer lines is of utmost importance.

Ultrasonic cleaners and electronic beer line cleaning are two options touted as the new approach to cleaning beer lines. But do they really reduce the need to routinely clean the lines?

The verdict is: neither method works. And here’s the failed science behind both: 

Ultrasonic cleaners emit high frequency sound waves that generate an electromagnetic field and induce a continual cycle of compression and rarefaction waves in the beer. This creates a vacuum cavity within the liquid in a process known as cavitation. Cavitation is the formation of microscopic bubbles, or cavities, in the liquid. These bubbles grow during the low pressure phase and then compress or implode during the low pressure phase of the wave (rarefaction), thereby generating energy. The subsequent energy is said to produce high forces that remove contaminants from the surface of the material being cleaned.

Electronic beer line cleaning systems work through a mechanism similar to ultrasonic cleaners by inducing a process known as deagglomeration. This process tries to prevent the yeast molecules in the beer from clumping together and adhering to the inner surface of the beer lines. The thinking is that less debris and contamination gather on beer lines, allowing bar owners to reduce the number of times they need to clean the lines to a minimum of once every three weeks.

Both sonic and magnetic draft beer cleaning systems are not suitable for line cleaning. Draft lines and components get dirty when bacteria, yeast, and other debris stick to them. Some sonic cleaners may inhibit these growths but they have little or no effect on fittings and hardware. Major breweries, scientists and the Brewers Association, do not recommend these systems, and neither do we!

For more information about draft beer systems and cleaning, reach out to Glacier Design Systems. We’re happy to answer questions and help you properly maintain your draft beer system.

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