Author Topic: Bottle Sanitizing  (Read 17289 times)

Offline KWT62

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Bottle Sanitizing
« on: March 27, 2014, 09:38:23 PM »
How important is bottle sanitizing ?? If I drink a bottle then rinse thoroughly with hot water, re-rinse with hot water before re-use, how much bacteria can actually form to harm my next batch ??

Offline brewfun

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 09:50:09 PM »
Enough that bottle contamination is a common issue for homebrewers.

Rinsing the bottle after drinking from it is a good idea. Don't change that.. At least visibly clean is the minimum and hot water is ok, but not required. As for hot water sanitizing, the water has to be hotter than you're probably comfortable using. At least 161 F (72 C).

There is a very steep time/ temperature ramp. At about 150 F (63C) the time needed goes up to 30 minutes. You then need to cool the glass to avoid damaging the beer or shattering the bottle.

It's much easier and safer to simply use a sanitizer, like Starsan. Less water and energy is needed, plus it's safer for you and the beer is treated more gently.
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Offline spacey

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2014, 01:17:11 AM »
Like most homebrewers, the beer bottles are green or brown. I made the mistake of thinking that I could pour out the beer, rinse the bottle, swirl the water around in the bottle and then just store for next time.

Then on some of my 16 oz. bottles I put the swing cap top back on.  Then when I was ready to use the bottles again, about 10% of the bottles were disgustingly smelly.  Sediment was still in there and had turned to mold.  Though even if the caps had not been on, that sediment in 10% of the bottles would have still been there. 

Man it smelled terrible!!!

Offline jeba55

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2014, 02:47:21 PM »
Different size of bottle can be important matter but i think it can be good when we use accurate bottle.

Offline Freak

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 05:46:28 PM »
I keg most everything but, I do a lot of bottling for competitions and, as a result my beer doesn't sit in the bottle for months on end but, it does sit there for several weeks in most cases. With that said, what I do is very simple and, it works well. I just rinse my bottles as good as possible when I drink them, then when I'm ready to use them, I put them in the dishwasher. It gets hot as Hell in the drying cycle. Be sure to use the heated drying cycle. Some dishwashers will allow you to turn that function off. I've never used a single drop of sanitizer and I've never had a bad bottle. It works for me. Give it a try.
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Offline KWT62

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2014, 09:54:38 PM »
I keg most everything but, I do a lot of bottling for competitions and, as a result my beer doesn't sit in the bottle for months on end but, it does sit there for several weeks in most cases. With that said, what I do is very simple and, it works well. I just rinse my bottles as good as possible when I drink them, then when I'm ready to use them, I put them in the dishwasher. It gets hot as Hell in the drying cycle. Be sure to use the heated drying cycle. Some dishwashers will allow you to turn that function off. I've never used a single drop of sanitizer and I've never had a bad bottle. It works for me. Give it a try.

Thx Freak, I will try your method for the bottles, it seems much easier than the sanitizer. Also I am going to try your suggestion of just throwing a towel over the fermenting bucket vs. Lid & airlock.

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2014, 04:34:38 AM »
I keg most everything but, I do a lot of bottling for competitions and, as a result my beer doesn't sit in the bottle for months on end but, it does sit there for several weeks in most cases. With that said, what I do is very simple and, it works well. I just rinse my bottles as good as possible when I drink them, then when I'm ready to use them, I put them in the dishwasher. It gets hot as Hell in the drying cycle. Be sure to use the heated drying cycle. Some dishwashers will allow you to turn that function off. I've never used a single drop of sanitizer and I've never had a bad bottle. It works for me. Give it a try.

Thx Freak, I will try your method for the bottles, it seems much easier than the sanitizer. Also I am going to try your suggestion of just throwing a towel over the fermenting bucket vs. Lid & airlock.

Both suggestions by "freak" are bad advice.  Have you ever torn a dishwasher apart and cleaned it?  They are nasty inside!  Most of the time they sit in the temperature danger zones for bacteria.  I'm sure they get hot as all get out and probably do sanitize, but StarSan is so inexpensive that even if I were to put my bottles through my dishwaster I'd still do a sanitizer rinse right before bottling!  It's inexpensive and works well.

As far as the open fermentation with a towel over the bucket...I say "hogwash"!  That is just plain lazy and refusing to take advantage of modern brewing knowledge!  Sooner or later, you will get a contaminated batch, if you follow that advice.

Why take the time and effort to make a great beer and then use poor sanitation techniques?

Also, once you get a contaminated batch, have fun trying to get rid of the contamination.  It will be in every little nook and cranny of your equipment, hiding where you can't get at it to clean or sanitize/sterilize it!

-1 to Freak for spouting just plain bad advice!
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Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2014, 04:53:50 AM »
I always give my bottles an overnight soak in a bleach solution, followed by a good rinse before filling them with beer. There are always some nasty floaties in the bleach bucket.
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Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2014, 05:09:11 AM »
I always give my bottles an overnight soak in a bleach solution, followed by a good rinse before filling them with beer. There are always some nasty floaties in the bleach bucket.
 

This used to be standing operating procedure too.  It just seemed way cheaper than StarSan.  I had one beer that was entered into a competition where a judge said he detected a hint of a chlorine odor.  Since it was a blind tasting by him and he had no way to know that I used chlorine instead of StarSan, it kind of opened my eyes.  It may have just been residual dried chlorine left on the outside of the bottle, but you'd think that after two months in the bottle, the chlorine on the outside would be undetectable.

I had about a dozen bottles of that beer left and paid attention to them whenever I opened one.  I couldn't really detect chlorine.  A brew friend of mine tried one and he said that maybe it's there, but he doubted he would have ever picked up a chlorine flavor or aroma if I had not told him to look for it.

Summarized, it's what made me make the switch to StarSan.  I haven't regretted it.  I've learned to not fear the bubbles, which I have to admit, freaked me out the first few times.  Now, I just enjoy the show them put on, when I watch them come out of the top of my carboy and corkscrew their way up the supply tubing.

Here's a photo of the show they put on.
Kegs:
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 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

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Offline ihikeut

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2014, 06:42:23 AM »
I just don't know why anybody would accept the advice of anyone with - 16 karma in 52 post. I do put my bottles in a dishwasher for cleaning but on bottling day I submerge them in a bucket of Star San.

Freak I just don't know why you continue to give out bad sanitation advice on this forum. Star San is cheap and simple to use and can be store for long period of time when mixed with distilled water.     

Offline Oginme

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2014, 07:12:17 AM »
I go by the mantra of sanitize, sanitize, sanitize...  and when in doubt, sanitize.  If I am putting a few hours effort into making one of my recipes and wanting it to come out such that I am proud to give a few bottles out to friends, then I would put the little bit of additional extra effort into making sure I don't scrimp on something as quick and fairly easy as sanitizing my bottles.

My bottles get cleaned, even new ones, and then soaked for a day in PBW or Oxiclean-free.  They get drained and dried.  A few hours before filling, they get a starsan rinse and drain again.  I've learned also not to fear the foam, as even after a couple of hours draining, there may be a few small bubbles clinging to the bottom of the bottles.

40 brews behind me and I have yet to have an infection.

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Offline tom_hampton

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2014, 10:12:01 AM »
I keg most everything but, I do a lot of bottling for competitions and, as a result my beer doesn't sit in the bottle for months on end but, it does sit there for several weeks in most cases. With that said, what I do is very simple and, it works well. I just rinse my bottles as good as possible when I drink them, then when I'm ready to use them, I put them in the dishwasher. It gets hot as Hell in the drying cycle. Be sure to use the heated drying cycle. Some dishwashers will allow you to turn that function off. I've never used a single drop of sanitizer and I've never had a bad bottle. It works for me. Give it a try.

This advice just confuses me.  Exactly what is the point of suggesting methods that have such wild variability?  Sure, the right dishwasher with a sanitizing cycle CAN work.  But, not all dishwashers have such a cycle (actually most don't).  Why would anyone want to "hope" that each bottle they open doesn't gush or taste sour, every time they open a bottle? 

I just don't understand this personal crusade to take the state of homebrewing back to what it was 20 years ago.  I'm not quite to "23 years", but maybe 15 counts for something?  "Don't use sanitizer", "covering your fermentation vessel is a waste of time".  I don't care how much you have spent on equipment---it doesn't make your advice any better. 

A brewer with significant experience and knowledge can get away with a lot of things, because they know what matters and what doesn't.  That knowledge has been gained by years and year, and hundreds of batches.  Some of which didn't turn out how they hoped. 

When someone asks a basic question about sanitation like this one, it is NOT being asked by an experienced brewer.  It indicates a fundamental lack of understanding of the infection process: where does it come from, how does it develop, what prevents it, what promotes it, etc.  That person needs sound repeatable advice, so that they continue to enjoy their beer and advance in the hobby. 

If this person takes your advice and makes 3 or 4 bad batches of beer because of an infection, maybe they give up and leave the hobby.  What good is that?  Better some slightly more conservative advice that ensures they don't have any badly infected batches, so that they continue to enjoy the hobby and learn more about brewing.  Ultimately, they will learn through their own experience what they can get away with and what they can't. 

The first two batches of beer that I ever made were HORRIBLY infected.  The kit that I purchased, came with "B-brite".  The instructions in the kit called it a sanitizer.  I used it as instructed and the beer tasted fine on bottling day.  3 weeks later is was the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted (outside of milk that has gone bad).  I tried again, not knowing what went wrong.  I had the exact same result.  At that point I did some research, and I learned that B-brite is NOT a sanitizer.  I went out and bought a large bottle of iodophor.  I made a THIRD batch, using the iodophor to sanitize everything.  guess what?  The beer was "the best beer I ever had.  Mostly because I made it." 

Sanitizers work.  Sanitizers work reliably. 

Sanitizers are cheap and easy to use.  Starsan looks expensive at  the store, but it lasts a good long time.   Even if you make 5 gallons of Starsan every brew session (totally unncessary, by the way), it costs about $0.75 per mixed 5 gallons.  If you want it to last longer, mix it with RO/Distilled water and keep it in a container with a lid.  It lasts for months when prepared this way.  Even with most tap waters it will easily last a month.  You can easily make a batch of Starsan for your fermenter on brewday, and then resuse that same batch on bottling day. 

I mix 2.5 gallons of StarSan once a month.  I use it for every brew during that month.  I fill a spray bottle with some of it, and I use that to sanitize fittings, and tools when necessary.  Nothing could be easier, except doing nothing at all...which is just plain dumb.  Amortizing the cost over several brew sessions is an easy way to really drive down expense if that is a concern. 

To sanitize bottles with StarSan you don't need to fill and soak them.  Once they are squeaky clean, dunk each botte in StarSan and let an ounce or two of starsan into each bottle.  Swirl to coat the inside, then let it sit for 30 seconds.  Then swirl a second time, and drain.  Store on a sanitized bottle tree (using spray bottle above).  Starsan has no flavor in rinse and drain quantities.  So, "don't fear the foam". 

If you want cheaper, use Iodophor.  Just be sure to let the bottles dry on a bottle tree before filling, and they need to stay wet for a 90 seconds or something like that (read the bottle).  I used iodophor for years.  it works fine, but its only good for 24 hours (or as long as it has an orange tint).  Plus it colors everything it sits in orange.   For bottling it works perfect.  It's about 1/3rd the cost per gallon of mixed product as StarSan.  So, you can make up a 5a gallon batch, soak your bottles in it for a few minutes, and then let them dry.  Done.

I still keep Iodophor around, and if I just need a one time use solution for some odd task...I will mix up a batch...specifically because its cheaper per batch.  So, if I'm going to pour it down the drain at the end of the day, that's what I use.  It requires a slightly longer contact time, it can give an iodine flavor if you don't let it dry, it turns things orange if left for an hour or more, and it only lasts for a day. 



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Offline durrettd

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2014, 11:47:54 AM »
I just don't know why anybody would accept the advice of anyone with - 16 karma in 52 post. I do put my bottles in a dishwasher for cleaning but on bottling day I submerge them in a bucket of Star San.

Freak I just don't know why you continue to give out bad sanitation advice on this forum. Star San is cheap and simple to use and can be store for long period of time when mixed with distilled water.   

Freak is a bit of a contrarian, isn't he? But, he usually adds a comment that his advice is based on his experience. He has also mentioned that he cleans very thoroughly and rinses his equipment with boiling water. He's probably enjoying the reaction - and negative karma - he gets from almost every post.

Read Freak's posts, consider his point, and relax, don't worry, have a home brew!

Offline drb1215

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2014, 12:44:15 PM »
I've gotten into the habit of as soon as a pour a beer, or very shortly after, I use a vigorous hot water rinse (several times) to clean the bottle.  That way nothing as had a chance to dry, and it all comes out very easy.  From there my bottles get stored in a Fast Rack to dry...and then placed in cases. 

On the day of bottling, each bottle is sunk in a 5 gallon bucket with Star San (wonderful stuff that is used to sanitize everything I have), drained, stored upside down in a Fast Rack...and then filled and capped. 

I've never had an infection, and I've never had a bottle that has any residue/crap left in it.

-Dan

Offline dharalson

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Re: Bottle Sanitizing
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2014, 08:34:54 AM »
I keep a spray bottle of Star San under the kitchen sink.  Every bottle is rinsed clean with tap water and a quick spray of Star San then into the kitchen drain rack.  After dry I store in a cardboard box.  On bottling clean day, I use a bottle tree with at spray tray on top and sanatize all of the bottles.  I make the Star San in a one gallon jug and it lasts a long time that way.  An 8 oz bottle of Star San can easily last several years.  This way is very inexpensive.

D

 

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