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Master Brewers Association of the Americas > BREWING RESOURCES > Ask the Brewmaster > Posts > Ideal CIP Practices?
October 16
Ideal CIP Practices?
Q: I have some questions regarding CIP practices. I have heard the ideal CIP protocol is Caustic then Acid followed by a no rinse Acid Sanitizer.

Why is this ideal? Why not Acid followed by Caustic then Sanitizer? What are the considerations for this particular regimen? What are the benefits vs risks of doing it differently?

I really want to know why this regimen is preferred over others and why others would be harmful or less than ideal. I will likely have follow up questions. Thank you for your time,

A: You didn't specify what you are cleaning, so I will assume the application is for a CCT used for fermentation. Typically, caustic is used first to remove organic soil. The tank should be rinsed and inspected following the caustic cycle. If the soil wasn't fully removed, additional spot cleaning or another caustic CIP is necessary.

Next, acid (typically a phos/nitric blend) is used to remove beer stone. Some plants run acid during every tank CIP, others do it at regular intervals instead. The reason this is done after the caustic cycle is because it is difficult to remove beer stone if it is covered up by the organic soil. 

Then, of course, a sanitizer (often PAA) is used as a final SIP step on a fully cleaned and rinsed tank.

There are plenty of other CIP protocols for other applications and circumstancs. There is a CIP procedure similar to what you described known as "caustic override" in which acid is followed by caustic. The acid is drained but not rinsed. This procedure is primarly used when dealing with baked-on protein soils (like what you may find in a brewhouse) and would not make sense in a fermentation vessel. The acid is used to denature protein and the reaction between caustic and acid creates available oxygen (scrubbing bubbles). Another strategy for that type of soil is to add peroxide to caustic.

Here are just a few of the great MBAA resources relevant to your question:

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