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Thread: What is being sanitized?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    What is being sanitized?

    Everywhere I stumble upon reading things on the topic of how to brew better beer or related to that subject the reocuring theme is sanitization. Even to go as far as this statement: "The homebrewers sole responciblilty is to be sanitary! the ingrediants will do the works" -Something along those lines. But my question is this: What is being sanitary? For instance, if I'm cleaning my bottles with a no rinse soluation do I let them dry? If so, can i put them in my drying rack if I've cleaned that down with a clorax wipe. Or should I just put todwn paper towls so the bottle tops only touch that. If I'm using a no rinse solution, does that mean I do not have to let it dry? With a basic set up, should I fill a bottle and immediatly cap it, or can I feel 2, 3, or 4 bottles then cap them like that?
    Hopefully you get the idea. So, Tips, tricks and things to watch out for concerning the basic home brewer or anything related to the subject. I'm trying to be as sanitary as possible with my limitations on equipment.
    Graduate of Geology.
    Undergraduate of Brewing.

    Primary: Oudu Bruin, German Alt
    condition:TartRaspberryAle, Saison, Hefeweizen
    on deck: Hmm..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    2,324
    Quote Originally Posted by Undergradbrewin
    Everywhere I stumble upon reading things on the topic of how to brew better beer or related to that subject the reocuring theme is sanitization. Even to go as far as this statement: "The homebrewers sole responciblilty is to be sanitary! the ingrediants will do the works" -Something along those lines. But my question is this: What is being sanitary? For instance, if I'm cleaning my bottles with a no rinse soluation do I let them dry? If so, can i put them in my drying rack if I've cleaned that down with a clorax wipe. Or should I just put todwn paper towls so the bottle tops only touch that. If I'm using a no rinse solution, does that mean I do not have to let it dry? With a basic set up, should I fill a bottle and immediatly cap it, or can I feel 2, 3, or 4 bottles then cap them like that?
    Hopefully you get the idea. So, Tips, tricks and things to watch out for concerning the basic home brewer or anything related to the subject. I'm trying to be as sanitary as possible with my limitations on equipment.
    If your using a No rinse sanitizer you for example Star san, you give them a 2 min soak, dump the excess out and bottle away, no need to let them dry.My Best tip, Dont be cheap on sanitizer, use a good one such as star san,I used to use an iodine based sanitizer and i didn't like it, but it was cheaper than star san, lesson learned! Also make sure everything is Spotlessly clean, no grit,residue etc it will hide the bacteria from the sanitizer and cause problems.Basically if it is going to touch your beer after the boil make sure it has soaked in a good quality sanitizer and make sure everything is thoroughly cleaned.
    The mind is like a beer, it does the most good when it is opened.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    148
    Quote Originally Posted by Undergradbrewin
    With a basic set up, should I fill a bottle and immediatly cap it, or can I feel 2, 3, or 4 bottles then cap them like that? .
    I never felt my bottles... but your question brings me to the first time I made beverage with my parents. We were doing all grain with their glorious 8 gallon stew pot on their awesome inferno fryer, and I dropped the lid from my fermenter bucket and a leaf fell onto the interior surface of the lid. I had used idophor, so I blew off the leaf, then angled the lid so that brown fluid ran over the spot.... then for some reason I turned to them and said 'nine seconds and we are sanitary! ' [yes, it turned out free of infection]

    Q1: no, you do not let it dry. So long as the wet sanitation solution is there, it is safe. If it dries out, the sanitation ability has gone limp and is gone.

    Q2: no, do not use a Chlorox brand wipe on anything that touches a suface you will have a consumable beverage touch. That tastes bad and is not food grade. Food grade is a phrase that seems to get missed or miss-interpreted once in a while. Food grade means more than sanitary, it means you can consume it without getting sick.

    Q3: you can fill a whole case worth of bottles and then cap them. . . if you cap them before a breeze blows gunk into them. The issue here is if you have a draft [of wind] and if you might allow air to carry something undesired onto the bottles or beverage. The question is 'how much air movement do you have?' In a bathroom with 4x8 foot space, I can soak 18 bottles in my tupperwear storage container full of chlorine water, pull them out, put in the next batch, then fill all of the ones I pulled out, and cap them, then move on to the next 18 bottles. Why? Because there is no air movement that might bring contaminants across the bottles.

    So, in the end, it depends on the chemical [chlorine takes longer to sanitize than iodophor or peroxide, so some [iodophor / star san / one-step] are 15 seconds to freedom while others [chlorine] are half-hours-of-soaking to freedom]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    148
    Quote Originally Posted by Undergradbrewin
    Or should I just put todwn paper towls so the bottle tops only touch that.
    Sorry, I missed one

    The goal is to protect the area touch-able by the beverage. If you put a bottle upside-down on a paper towl or other towel, then those items will touch areas of the bottles that the beverage will be able to touch, so they can pick up infections from those spots.

    What I do, soaking bottles in chlorine, is pull them out of the soaker, pour them out; after all of them are poured out [and I insert new bottles into the bath] I then cycle from first to last of them and pour out the remnant fluid that is in the bottle, then I fill them.

    If I screw up, such as I brush my arm against the rim of the bottle when I reach over them [once in a while I do during the filling process], I put them back into the chlorine bath until the next batch is ready.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    6,445
    When I bottle, I spray the racks of my dishwasher with StarSan, soak the bottles a few minutes and put them upside down on the dishwasher racks to drain. The StarSan draining from the bottles will also put more sanitizer on the racks so I figure I'm double safe. I keep the caps in a bowl filled with StarSan and shake them off before cappping. I usually put the cap on the bottle as I fill them, them crimp them when I have 6 filled.
    If you're using a bottling wand have a bottle of sanitizer handy that you can put the wand in while you crimp the filled bottles-make sure it's stable so it won't keep falling over.
    It's always time for a beer

    On tap:Oatmeal Stout, ESB
    Primary:Imperial HoppyRoggenbier
    Bottled:2006 crabapple cider,Cherry Brett,Black Braggot,2 Prickly Pear Meads(1996 and 2006),Sour Pumpkin
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    3,695
    I'm pretty much with Corky here. Before I sanitize the beer bottles, I sanitize a champagne magnum. Nice big heavy stable bottle to hold the beer gun between fillings or when swapping kegs. I keep my crowns in a small glass container filled with everclear. Super-sanitary, and no need to shake the solution off. I just pour the everclear back into the bottle for the next time.

    I'll have to post a picture of my bottling setup sometime. I use one of the double-sided janitorial buckets that has a ridge down the middle. It's a Rubbermaid Commercial #2626, I can't find a link to it, but bought it at an Ace Hardware. I put this over the side of a laundry sink, with the side of the sink running down the middle. I have a rack made that straddles the middle of the bucket out of 1/2 copper pipe with six tubes, about 5" long, three leaning toward each side. With this I can sanitize the bottle in solution in both sides of the bucket, move then to the rack to drain, and then fill them. I add more bottles to the solution and move them to the drying rack as I go along.
    Last edited by Mill Rat; 03-06-2010 at 08:17 PM.
    On deck: a clone of Carolina Beer Co's Rye Stout, clone of Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter,
    Primary: Schwarzbier
    Secondary: Dortmunder, Hopweizen
    Keg Conditioning: Dunkelweizen, Roggenbier, Okto, Ord. Bitter
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    110
    Ahh, these are some really -really- helpful awsners. I'd apologize for the usual broad questions but it seems more efficent then posting specific questions. within these multiple postings I've gotten some good tips which will defiantly refine my process, especially drying the bottles, I think I've got an idea how to handle it next time.
    Graduate of Geology.
    Undergraduate of Brewing.

    Primary: Oudu Bruin, German Alt
    condition:TartRaspberryAle, Saison, Hefeweizen
    on deck: Hmm..

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    410
    I think my next purchase will be a bottle of starsan. I have been using c-brite which I feel I have to rinse like crazy to get the chlorine smell out of before I can bottle. Really looks like starsan is the way to go, and another 5 gallon bucket.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    225
    I use the Powder sanitizer from my LHBS by LD Carlson.

    I wash my bottles with a brush after use, then 10 mins before i bottle i soak them in the Sanitizer.
    Bottled - Saison
    Fermenter - Belgian Pale Ale
    Secondary -
    On Deck -
    Future Brew -

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    110
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaimez
    I use the Powder sanitizer from my LHBS by LD Carlson.
    That is what I am currently using, Seems to do the trick honestly. Pretty simple but I'm running low and everyone seems to use star-san,so that may be the next purchase. I just came across another 5 gallon bucket I'm going to use for bottling. Now I'll be able to soak then go straight to bottles. The way I was doing it before is so inefficent.
    Graduate of Geology.
    Undergraduate of Brewing.

    Primary: Oudu Bruin, German Alt
    condition:TartRaspberryAle, Saison, Hefeweizen
    on deck: Hmm..

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