There are three basic levels of cleaning that apply to breweries:
- Physically Clean – visually clean
- Chemically Clean – clean to a standard where anything coming into contact with the surface suffers no chemical contamination.
- Microbiologically Clean – clean and sterile so that there is no physical or microbiological contamination.
Each Bristol brewery has its own set of guidelines for how it should be utilised in a particular setting. Generally speaking, cleaning solutions with a caustic base are the most effective at removing organic deposits such as proteins, gums, yeast, sugars, and hop residues, whilst cleaning agents with an acidic base are the most effective at removing inorganic scale. Aluminum is corroded by cleansers including caustic soda and other chemicals, thus the building materials also matter.