19 May 2021

What the ‘Taint’ is that? Part 3

Beer Line Cleaning

Part 3:

With some notable exceptions, ‘Indoor Beer Day’ is here at last, and we’ve already had calls from pubs that have discovered a taint in their lines so we know how important this subject is. To satisfy your thirst for knowledge, here’s the next instalment from our Taint Series.

This time we’re looking at ‘Infection’. It’s perhaps no surprise that the origin of the word ‘infected’ is directly related to old English words for taint, ‘to spoil or contaminate by an undesirable quality’ and, where beer is concerned, should be avoided at all cost!

No. 3 Infection

How to detect it:

No need for tricky scientific terminology for this taint. We’re talking about a contamination that makes beer taste of vinegar or rotten vegetables.

Drinkers might say:

“It tastes like a pint of vinegar”, “It’s given me a burning sensation in my throat!”, “More like a pickled egg than a beer”, “As if it’s been brewed from overcooked cabbage water”, or just plain “Disgusting”.

What causes it:

Dirty beer lines are the most common culprit, in which a variety of bacteria mix with beer to form acetic acid and other contaminations. Infection can also happen during the brewing process if wild yeasts manage to get into the brewhouse. But breweries are so alert to the risk that some even have hospital-grade air filters to prevent it!


Top-notch hygiene practices from cellar to glass are vital. Ensure you have a regular and thorough line cleaning regime, carried out to the highest standards by thoroughly trained staff or entrust the role to professional service providers. By the way, this doesn’t mean leaving chemical in your lines for longer – always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

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