Paul Mueller Company Academy

The Basics of Clean-In-Place in a Brewery

You put your reputation on the line every time someone drinks your beer.  The best way to make sure every pint you pour is worthy of putting your brand on it is to have a consistent and thorough cleaning regiment.  Clean-in-place (CIP) systems are an important component of every cleaning program.  

There are a lot of parts to a successful CIP program so lets start from the beginning.

What Is CIP

Clean-in-place is the process of cleaning professional brewing equipment without disassembly or having to transport it to a different location.  It comes with several benefits over the traditional manual cleaning.

Advantages of CIP

Clean-in-place has become the industry standard method for cleaning because it eliminates a majority of the human error element, saves you money on chemicals, and reduces your exposure to harmful chemicals.

  • Reduced Human Error:  Manual cleaning comes with the risk that you might miss some spots or cross contaminate your scrubbing brush between steps.  These mistakes can result in spoiled beer.
  • Saves Money on Chemicals:  With a recovery type CIP system, you have the ability to use a batch of chemicals several times which will save you money in the long run.
  • Reduced Exposure to Harmful Chemicals:  Modern CIP systems are self contained and automated which limit your exposure to harmful cleaning chemicals.


How CIP works


Clean-In-Place animation

Clean-in-place systems use several holding tanks to store their chemical solutions.  The chemicals are pumped out of the storage tanks and into the tanks you are cleaning.  Typically, a spray ball is used within the tank to coat all the interior surfaces with the chemicals.  The chemicals that are used to clean the tank are pumped back out and into the CIP storage tank to be used several more times before being replaced. 

Cleaning Cycle

  1. Pre Rinse: Water is used to wash away a majority of the soils.
  2. Caustic Wash: Caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) is used to break down all organic soils and is captured to be used again.
  3. Rinse: Water is used to rinse the tank and is often recovered.
  4. Acid Wash: Phosphoric acid is used to remove any beerstone buildup and is capture to be used again.
  5. Rinse: Water is used to rinse the tank and is then drained
  6. Sanitisation: PAA (peracetic acid) is used to sanitize and disinfect the tank 


Vacuum relief is just as important to your bright tanks and fermenters as CIP is to your beer.  Without proper vacuum relief, your tanks run a high risk of imploding.  It is important to understand the basics of vacuum relief in a brewery so you can avoid costly mistakes.




Brewing Engineering and Plant Operations book Edited by Karl Ockert Volume 3

Topics: Brewing

About Paul Mueller Company Academy

Teaching and sharing ideas has long been part of the rich heritage at Paul Mueller Company. We have almost a century of quality craftsmanship guiding the way we apply new learnings. Paul Mueller Company Academy is a collection point for those learnings, so we can collaborate and grow more successful together. You will find articles, blogs, guides, infographics and more dedicated to furthering knowledge for all, in the world of stainless steel processing equipment solutions. We hope you enjoy!