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Beer Clean Glassware

By Rich Pulsifer August 09, 2020

Beer Clean Glassware

You may have the country’s best craft beer on draft and you may clean your beer lines every morning, but if your glassware isn’t “beer clean” then you’re doing that beer, and your customers, a huge disservice. Beer clean glassware means using a properly cleaned glass, with no visible marks or residue, and no residual soap or sanitizer. These things can ruin a beer, by imparting flavors into the brew and ruining head retention. Neither of these are things we want! Let’s look at the two cleaning methods available to us and the testing methods that help us pour excellent beer into beer clean glassware.

Cleaning Methods

The two systems recommended for producing beer clean glasses are those already required by health authorities in states across the nation: the three-compartment sink or an automatic glass-washing machine. Everyone is familiar with these methods but there’re a few criteria which are recommended for beer clean glassware.

  • Have a dedicated machine or three-compartment sink for washing glassware. Nothing else should ever go in these sinks or machines. You can use it for other beverage based glassware, but nothing containing milk or cream.
  • Never empty the contents of glasses into the washer. It will dilute the solution and hamper cleaning.
  • Know the correct sanitation levels for the volume of your machine, and keep test strips handy for your staff to use daily.
  • Make sure the water is the correct temperature for properly cleaning and sanitizing glassware.
  • A slightly different point from cleaning, but you should never use the same glass for beer. However some customers themselves prefer this.

Glassware should be air-dried and stored upside down. Drying glassware with a cloth will leave lint and potentially transfer residue or dirt onto the inside of the glass.

Testing Method

There’re three methods for checking if your glassware is beer clean. The first two are for testing your glassware. The third methods is one to help you spot that your glassware isn’t clean during service.

  • Salt Test - Sprinkle salt on the inside of a wet glass. The salt should stick evenly to the surface. Where it doesn’t stick there are grease spots and dirt. Uneven distribution of the salt on the glass means that the glass has been poorly cleaned.
  • Sheeting Test - Submerge the glass in water and when you pull it out the water should run evenly off the inside of the glass. If there is a film of chemicals or grease on the inside of the glass the water will turn into droplets inside the glass.
  • Lacing Test - If the glass is clean the foam of the beer will stick to the sides of the glass in parallel rings with each sip taken by the drinker. If it adheres randomly, or not at all, then your glasses are not beer clean.

Having beer clean glassware is an essential part of serving great beer. Follow the above tips and use the tests to ensure that you’re doing the brewers hard work justice by serving it correctly.


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