How to Clean a Cornelius Keg

Properly caring for and cleaning your homebrew kegs is vital to ensuring the quality taste of your beer. To clean a Cornelius keg, start by preparing the keg for use if it’s your first time using it. Fill the keg with a solution of water and your preferred brewing cleaner, making sure to remove any cleaning residue. Soak the keg in the cleaner solution for several hours, preferably overnight. Then, pour out the cleaning solution and fill the keg with fresh water, letting it sit again for several hours. Finally, pour out the water and sanitize the keg before use. Avoid using chlorine bleach, as it can damage the keg.

Key Takeaways:

  • Properly cleaning your Cornelius keg is essential for maintaining the taste and quality of your beer.
  • Start by filling the keg with a cleaning solution and soaking it for several hours.
  • Rinse the keg with fresh water and sanitize it before use.
  • Avoid using chlorine bleach, as it can damage the keg.
  • Regular cleaning and maintenance will ensure your keg is always ready to dispense delicious beer.

Deep Cleaning a Keg

When it comes to maintaining a clean and sanitized Cornelius keg, a regular deep cleaning is essential. This helps to ensure the longevity and quality of your keg, as well as the taste of your beer. Here are some best practices for deep cleaning your keg:

Gather Your Supplies

First, gather all the necessary supplies for deep cleaning your keg. This includes a keg and carboy washer or a homemade washer, a keg-safe brewery wash (such as PBW), and new o-rings if needed. Having the right equipment will make the cleaning process easier and more efficient.

Disassemble and Soak

Next, open the top of the keg and remove any sediment or residual liquid. If you don’t have time to clean immediately, add a gallon of clean water to the keg to prevent the sediment from drying out. Then, disassemble the keg by removing the lid and posts. Soak all the components, including the lid and posts, in a solution of your preferred cleaner and water. Let them soak for a few hours to overnight to ensure thorough cleaning.

Rinse and Reassemble

Once the components have soaked, rinse them well with clean water to remove any remaining cleaner residue. Inspect the o-rings and replace them if necessary. When everything is clean and rinsed, reassemble the keg, ensuring all the parts are properly aligned and tightened. If using new o-rings, make sure they are seated correctly. Your keg is now ready for use, but remember to sanitize it before filling it with beer.

Keg and carboy washer or homemade washerGather all the necessary equipment for deep cleaning
Keg-safe brewery wash (such as PBW)Disassemble the keg and soak all components in the cleaner solution
New o-rings (if needed)Rinse components thoroughly and inspect/replace o-rings

Reusing Your Corny Keg

When it comes to reusing your Cornelius keg, proper cleaning and maintenance are key to ensuring the longevity and quality of your keg. By following a few simple steps, you can recondition your keg and maintain its cleanliness for future use. Here’s how:

  1. Clean out all the sediment: After using your keg, it’s important to clean out any residual sediment as soon as possible. This can be done by rinsing the keg with clean water and ensuring that no debris or particles are left behind.
  2. Soak the components: To thoroughly clean your keg, create a solution of your preferred cleaner and water. Disassemble the keg, including the lid and posts, and soak all the components in the cleaning solution. This step helps to remove any built-up residue and bacteria.
  3. Rinse and reassemble: After soaking, rinse all the components thoroughly with clean water to remove any cleaning solution residue. Then, reassemble the keg, ensuring that all the parts fit snugly and securely.
  4. Sanitize before use: Before filling the keg with beer again, it’s essential to sanitize it to eliminate any potential contaminants. Use a brewing sanitizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, making sure to sanitize all surfaces, including the tap.

Additionally, you have the option to remove the tap from the shank and clean it separately for a more thorough cleaning process. By following these steps, you can recondition your corny keg and maintain its cleanliness, ensuring that your beer always tastes fresh and delicious.

Table: Recommended Products for Keg Cleaning

Five Star PBW CleanerA powerful brewery wash that effectively removes dirt, stains, and organic deposits from keg components.
Craft Meister Alkaline Brewery WashAn alkaline cleaner specifically designed for cleaning and sanitizing brewing equipment, including kegs.
Barkeeper’s FriendA versatile cleaner that can be used to remove tough stains and deposits from keg components.

Proper cleaning and maintenance of your Cornelius keg are crucial for preserving the taste and quality of your homebrewed beer. By reusing your keg and following these cleaning steps, you can continue to enjoy your brews with confidence.

Tips for Cleaning a Cornelius Keg

When it comes to cleaning a Cornelius keg, having the right equipment can make the process much easier and more efficient. One essential tool is a keg and carboy washer, which is designed specifically for cleaning kegs and other brewing equipment. Alternatively, you can create your own homemade washer using a pump and spray nozzle, which can also be effective.

If you decide to disassemble the keg for a deep clean, it’s important to label and keep track of the different posts and dip tubes. This will help ensure that you reassemble the keg correctly and avoid any potential issues down the line.

When selecting a cleaner for your keg, it’s crucial to choose one that is safe for use on stainless steel and won’t leave behind any harmful residues. Popular options include PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash), Craft Meister Alkaline Brewery Wash, and Barkeeper’s Friend. These cleaners are specifically formulated for brewing equipment and provide excellent cleaning power.

After cleaning the keg and its components, be sure to rinse everything thoroughly to remove any traces of cleaner. It’s also a good idea to dry the keg and its parts completely before reassembling. This helps prevent any moisture from lingering and potentially causing mold or other issues.

Table: Cleaning Equipment and Supplies for Cornelius Kegs

Equipment/SupplyDescriptionRecommended Brands
Keg and Carboy WasherA device specifically designed for cleaning kegs and other brewing equipment. It typically features a pump and spray nozzle for thorough cleaning.Blichmann Engineering, Kegland, The G. Francis
PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash)A versatile brewery cleaner that is safe to use on stainless steel. It effectively removes stubborn stains and residues.Five Star Chemicals, Craft Meister, The Homebrew Shop
Craft Meister Alkaline Brewery WashA powerful alkaline cleaner that is specifically formulated for brewing equipment. It is highly effective at removing organic deposits.Craft Meister, Adventures in Homebrewing, Austin Homebrew Supply
Barkeeper’s FriendA multipurpose cleaner that is safe to use on stainless steel. It removes stains, tarnish, and residue without scratching the surface.Barkeeper’s Friend, AmazonBasics

By following these tips and using the right equipment and cleaners, you can ensure that your Cornelius keg is thoroughly cleaned and ready for your next batch of delicious homebrewed beer.


Properly cleaning and maintaining your Cornelius keg is crucial for maintaining the taste and quality of your homebrewed beer. We have outlined a comprehensive guide on how to clean and care for your keg to ensure optimal performance.

Regular deep cleaning of your keg is essential to remove any sediment or residue that may affect the flavor of your beer. By following the step-by-step process mentioned earlier, you can ensure that your keg is always clean and ready for use.

Additionally, it is important to regularly inspect and replace any damaged components, such as o-rings, to prevent leaks and maintain the integrity of your keg. Sanitizing your keg before each use is also vital to keep your beer lines and taps free from any off flavors.

With a clean keg and proper maintenance, you can confidently enjoy your homebrewed beer at its best. Cheers to a clean keg and great-tasting beer!


How often should I clean my Cornelius keg?

It is recommended to clean your keg after each use to maintain the quality of your beer.

Can I use chlorine bleach to clean my keg?

No, chlorine bleach can damage the keg. It is best to use a keg-safe brewery wash or specialized cleaning products.

How do I deep clean a Cornelius keg?

To deep clean a keg, open the top and remove all sediment, soak the components in a cleaning solution, rinse well, and sanitize before use.

What should I do if I can’t clean the keg immediately?

If you can’t clean the keg right away, add a gallon of clean water to prevent the sediment from drying out.

What are some recommended cleaning products for a Cornelius keg?

Some recommended cleaning products include PBW, Craft Meister Alkaline Brewery Wash, and Barkeeper’s Friend.

How should I label and keep track of the keg components during cleaning?

It is a good practice to label and keep track of the different posts and dip tubes when disassembling the keg for cleaning.

How often should I sanitize my Cornelius keg?

It is essential to sanitize your keg before each use to ensure the beer lines and taps are free from off flavors.

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