Chlorine and Beer

beer sampler

Most of us would agree that beer is a very complex beverage containing thousands of molecules, many of which interact with each other affecting the final flavor perception of the product. Whether it is alcohols, esters, aldehydes, sulfurs, or ketones, molecules interact to provide a beverage which we can identify as the beer brand we prefer. Also, among these molecules, are different phenolic compounds and phenolic constituents, 70-80% which are derived from barley malt and 20-30% from hops. Some are phenolic acids, and some can be volatile phenols.

Volatile phenols in beer contribute to typical beer aroma. And for those beer consumers that like “phenolic beers,” i.e., beers which are typified as clove-like, smoky, etc., such as Weiss beers, these beers use yeast strains which can decarboxylate phenolic acids such as ferulic, coumaric, cinnamic and other acids to make such volatile phenolic alcohols as 4-vinyl guaiacol, 4-ethyl guaiacol or isoeugenol.

Phenolic compounds in beer are very reactive and can react with a host of compounds which, other than creating pleasant beer flavors and aromas, can sometimes deliver very unpleasant flavors to beer. One of these reactants on the unpleasant side of the flavor spectrum is chlorine. In beer, chlorophenols impart “mouthwash," “antiseptic," “medicinal," “Band-Aid," “plastic,” and “vinyl” flavors and aromas, and trichlorophenol translates to a "hospital-like" flavor and aroma. Even “musty" flavors can be as a result of the inadvertent addition of chlorine to beer. So, as "a rule of thumb," in any brewing system, it is wise never to let chlorine come into contact with beer at any time and, most of all, to never use chlorine-containing compounds in beer lines because of the overall risk to beer flavor. In fact, this has been known for so long that even the earliest of beer brewing books notated the risks of chlorine negatively affecting beer flavor.

AC Technologies knows about the risks of chlorine to beer flavor and aroma and would never advocate the use of chlorine as a beer line sanitizer. AC Technologies has next-generation solutions for beer line sanitization negating any risk to beer flavor. 

AC Technologies - Clean Once, Clean Right!

A free sample of Draftec's beer line cleaner is available for professional line cleaners and beer distributors. To request a sample, please email us at or call us at (888) 226-8228.