Crimson 003 Whitepaper from Crimbrew

"Build" Your Caustic

The improved sodium hydroxide

Tyler Russell, CDI Food & Beverage Specialist

The Product

Sodium Hydroxide has long been a favorite cleaner of brewers and the industry at large due to its effectiveness and affordability. While the commodity chemical is suitable, it pales in comparison to blended or "built" caustic. Your standard sodium hydroxide cleaner comes in at 50% strength, and must be used at reduced dilutions in order to achieve an effective cleaning. Blended products can contain chelating agents, wetting agents, surfactant and dispersants, all of which can play a key role in assisting the caustic in its mission to clean. Crimson 003 has been formulated specifically for use in food and beverage facilities, and is designed to provide a better, faster clean and one that uses reduces overall product usage. This alkaline cleaner is a mixture of sodium hydroxide (50%), and the agents aforementioned. Before we discuss the usage and instructions for this product, it is important that we explain how its additives provide an improved solution.

The Additives

Let's start with the chelating agents. These additives are intended to "tie up" hardness in water, meaning that the calcium and magnesium ions are prevented from hindering the caustic from cleaning. Chelating agents include, but are not limited to EDTA, NTA, and gluconic acid. Crimson 003 contains gluconic acid, or more specifically, sodium gluconate (the dry sodium salt of gluconic acid). This particular chelating agent is often recommended for use in alkaline solutions where heavy metal interference poses a problem for cleaning. In addition to "softening" the water, sodium gluconate prevents the formation of soap film, improves rinsability, and reduces the amount of acid washes required. Along with the sodium gluconate, surfactants are also blended in with the caustic. Surfactants are used to lower surface tension, effectively allowing for the entire surface of soil to be reached. This reduced tension detaches fats and proteins, while also suspending the soil.

The Testimony

Jason Crossett, Head Brewer for New York Beer Project in Lockport, NY explains in his own words: "I've been using Chemical Distributors, Inc. for all my chemical needs throughout the brewery. The level of customer service plus their attention to my needs has been above and beyond what I could ask for. I currently use their Crimson 003 Caustic cleaner for my cleaning needs and it, along with their other products, has far exceeded my expectations. I will continue to use Chemical Distributors as my supplier for my chemical and other related equipment needs!"


This paper would not be complete without providing a how to (after all that is what we are after!)

  • To prepare a 1.0% active caustic solution, use 1.4 gallons of Crimson CDI 003 for each 100 gallons (1 l/71.4 l) of water.
  • For CIP of product lines, use 36 oz. of Crimson CDI 003 per 100gallons (28mls/10l) of 150-165°F water for 30-90 minutes. (Minimum of 10 minutes at temperature per spur)
  • For CIP of cold product storage tanks, use 36 oz. of Crimson CDI 003 per 100 gallons (28 mls./ 10 l) of 135-140°F water
  • Large tanks-8-10 minutes at temperature.
  • Small tanks-8-10 minutes at temperature.
  • Horizontal tanks-8-10 minutes at temperature.
  • Silos-15-20 minutes at temperature
  • To CIP processing vats, use 90-140 oz. of Crimson CDI 003 per 100 gallons (70-109 mls./10 l) of 165°F water for 30-40 minutes.
  • To CIP HTST units, use a 1.0-1.5% active caustic solution of Crimson CDI 003; use 138-180 oz. of Crimson CDI 003 per 100 gallons of 178-180°F water for 45-60 min

It is best to remain between 1-2% active caustic for sodium hydroxide-based cleaning. This recommendation is based on a typical cleaning cycle, but can be adjusted in order to accommodate a larger soil buildup. For additional information on Crimson 003, or any of our products, please visit

Chemical Distributors, Incorporated (CDI) was established in 1953. Currently, CDI operates from an 82,000 square foot facility located in Buffalo, New York. We specialize in servicing the entire Northeast marketplace, including food & beverage facilities throughout the country.