Chapter 20

Brewery Cleaning And Sanitation

Modes of Application

Cleaning and sanitizing modes can be broken down into three types: manual, clean-out-of-place (COP), foam cleaning, or mechanically by clean-in-place (CIP) systems.


Manually cleaning is just exactly what it sounds like—a worker physically cleans the brewery equipment either by brushing, scrubbing, or other physical means. Many breweries do not have the luxury of CIP systems and have to manually clean and sanitize their equipment. They often have to use soft-bristled brushes, non-abrasive pads, cloths, and handheld high-pressure spray guns for cleaning. When cleaning manually, great care must be taken to assure that brushes and equipment are cleaned to avoid cross-contamination.


Clean-out-of-place (COP) means specifically “cleaned-out-of-place” and requires the disassembly of equipment after rinsing so that all parts and short pipe sections can be placed in a recirculation tank for chemical and physical action cleaning. This procedure is based on the use of a rectangular recirculation tank equipped with an integrally mounted high volume recirculating pump; the combination generally being referred to as a “parts washer.”

Foam Cleaning

Foam cleaning is a method for cleaning large, exterior surfaces. Special chemicals with foaming agents or gels are applied via low pressure foam units. Foaming is a very economical method for cleaning large exterior surfaces that cannot be cleaned via CIP. In particular, foam cleaning is suitable for cleaning the outside of vessels, such as fermentation tanks, maturation tanks, and bright bee tanks, that are close to each other and difficult to access manually.

Foam Cleaning Process

Typically, the surface is first rinsed with ambient water before applying the foam. The foam itself can be applied with either low or high pressure foamers. However, low pressure foam cleaning has clear advantages over high pressure foam cleaning and is today the preferred method of use. The surface to be cleaned is applied with a thin film of foam, and then left on the surface depending on the type for foam product.

Types of Soil

There are two basic types of soil: organic and inorganic. Organic soils are the most common. To correctly target these, caustic-based foam cleaning products are required usually that contain sodium hypochlorite and either sodium or potassium hydroxide. These cleaners are often chlorinated, meaning you will want to keep them out of the interior of your equipment.

Foam Cleaning Systems

There are different sorts of foam cleaning systems such as stand-alone wall-mounted units require a compressed air supply. There are centralized foam units that have several outlets, which enable several users to apply foam at the same time.

Clean-In-Place Systems

Cleaning in place refers specifically to the cleaning and sanitizing of brewery processing equipment and piping in its assembled condition by recirculation of the necessary rinse, detergent, and sanitizing solutions under the appropriate conditions of time, temperature detergency and physical action.

Cleaning and Sanitizing Cycle

Every CIP cleaning cycle has its own unique set of parameters, so there’s really no such thing as a “typical” CIP cycle. The elements, sequence, and duration of the cleaning process can vary widely from one system to another, but some common steps are included in most cleaning cycles:

Anatomy of a CIP System

The size and number of tanks in your CIP system is determined by the size and complexity of required cleaning and sanitizing. Individual tanks may be used for freshwater, caustic solution, acid solution, reusable washes, or rinses, product recovery, or sanitizer.

Centralized or Mobile CIP Systems

Clean-in-place systems can be centralized or configured as a mobile unit and easily moved from tank to tank. A centralized CIP system is a single system that delivers cleaning solutions to an entire brewery. It can supply many different circuits and coordinate a large number of operations from a single location so operators can manage processes using a central set of controls.

Spray Heads

Proper selection and placement of spray devices is critical to the success of your tank cleaning and sanitizing cycles. The spray heads should be positioned so that the entire tank surface is reached while ensuring that one spray head covers any shadowed areas not reached by another. The number and positioning of the spray heads also depend on the tank configuration being cleaned.

CIP Single-Use or Recovery Systems

Single-Use Systems. In the single-use system, the cleaning solution is prepared and re-circulated through the system and discharged at the completion of the cleaning and sanitizing cycle. In some systems, the cleaning solution is used as a pre-rinse for the next cleaning cycle and then discharged.

Recovery Systems. At the other end of the spectrum, a CIP system can be as complex as a fully automated multi-tank, multi-circuit apparatus that recovers and re-uses solutions while cleaning and sanitizing in parallel with processing activities. All the cleaning and rinsing solutions can be pre-charged into their own tank and pre-heated to their optimum preset temperature, ready to go.

CIP Formulations

Caustic soda is typically the product of choice because of its excellent organic dissolving and saponification powers. Often the brewer will add other compounds (e.g., chelating agents, surfactants, etc.) to enhance the cleaning properties of caustic soda. The effectiveness of caustic soda and the added depends on operating conditions of temperature, water hardness, pH range, and, lastly, the final percentage of the working solution.

Stainless Steel

It’s important to recognize that stainless steel is not invincible. Any stainless steel can pit or corrode if subjected to iron (or other metal) contamination.

Cleaning Pipes and Hoses

Pipes and hoses are cleaned by circulating cleaning solutions through them with a pump. The cleaning cycle is the same as in vessels.

CIP Monitoring

Routine monitoring of dosing levels is essential to ensure that the correct concentration of chemicals is being used in the cleaning process. Overdosing of chemicals is wasteful, and underdosing can lead to contamination and an ineffective cleaning operation.

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