After some investigating, I've discovered that beer stone (calcium oxalate, mostly) doesn't just taste vile, it's highly toxic. Plus it's ugly.

As if that wasn't bad enough, it's also incredibly tough & tenacious. TSP didn't touch it. Easy Off plus pressure washing peeled some of it away, and a good long soak in OxiClean softened it up enough that a scrub brush plus pressure washing got rid of some more. Chemicals plus lots of elbow grease will remove it…where you can reach.

Barring heroic measures, such as blasting the insides of my Sankey kegs with, e.g. crushed walnut shells, can anyone tell me what WILL remove this poisonous dreck where the hand of man cannot go?

[ edit: in my distress & aggravation I forgot to add "Thanks in advance, any input would be much appreciated! ]

  • 2
    Have you tried PBW?
    – uSlackr
    Jul 17, 2014 at 2:49
  • Not yet, but I'll be heading in to the Big Smoke (Vancouver BC) tomorrow & will pick up some at the homebrew supply store. Looks like handy stuff, whether it puts a dent in this infernal beer stone or not. Thx!
    – Glasseyed
    Jul 17, 2014 at 19:05
  • PBW isn't significantly different than Oxiclean.
    – Denny Conn
    Jul 17, 2014 at 19:15
  • In that case, I wonder if hydrogen peroxide (industrial strength, not drug store grade) might degrade it to the point where I can pressure wash it off. Something else to try, and report on if it works…though if it were that simple it probably would have been mentioned in the article David PGB linked to.
    – Glasseyed
    Jul 17, 2014 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


Try this article. Most breweries are using a caustic clean solution I believe. The attached article talks about using a Phosphoric/ Nitric acid combination followed up with a non caustic alkaline based cleaner. These are serious chemicals however, be sure to take safety precautions when pouring, mixing and rinsing these cleaners. Serious chemicals for a serious cleaning job!

  • Good article, thanks! Lacking immediate access to any of the chemicals mentioned, I tried the only acid I have on hand: a gallon jug of vinegar, 5% acetic, at full strength. Can't say I expect it to do anything, but I figure what the heck. If it does work, to any extent at all, I'm ahead & will definitely report back.
    – Glasseyed
    Jul 17, 2014 at 19:00
  • No surprise: vinegar might as well be water. I hoped it would at least discolor, but it came out pretty much as clear as it went in. Next experiment: a quart of 35% hydrogen peroxide, which may very well have turned to water (H2O2 + O2 yielding H2O) in the years it's been sitting in the bottle.
    – Glasseyed
    Jul 18, 2014 at 0:01
  • There goes another fine idea: even at 35% concentration (don't brush your teeth with it, or get any on your skin!), H202 didn't do anything worth doing. I thought it might have reverted to water over the years, but when I poured it out onto our concrete driveway, it sizzled and fizzled like Alka-Seltzer. Made a big clean spot, so now I have to pressure wash the whole d~n thing. Guess it's time to Google chemical suppliers…
    – Glasseyed
    Jul 18, 2014 at 3:22
  • After rehabilitating another grunged-up Sankey keg I can report that, of chemicals that are readily available at big-box stores, OxiClean works pretty darn well. The water has to be hot, you need to give the stuff time to work (say a couple of hours), and you WILL need to follow up with a pressure wash. Cold water works OK for that, but I have no doubt that a hot pressure wash would be even better. Thought I'd pass it along.
    – Glasseyed
    Aug 16, 2014 at 1:41

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