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Old 06-14-2011, 12:51 AM   #1
ere109
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Default Best Sanitation Practices

I'm still pretty new to brewing, and my last few brews have taken me 12-14 hours. About half of that time is spent sanitizing. I haven't had any infections yet (knock wood), but I fear I may be OVER-SANITIZING. My procedure:
Make a 5-gallon batch of Star San, drop all of my equipment in it.
Make a 5-gallon batch of PBW and wash each of my three keggles, transferring water by auto-siphon to the next in line until all three are clean.
(Start mash water, mash, start sparge water, sparge, boil.)
Rinse each carboy with bleach water, then auto-siphon to next.
Rinse bleach with tap water, then auto-siphon Star San through each carboy.
Dump "dirty" Star San, make new 5-gallon batch, put all tools in it.
(Transfer/chill wort to carboy.)
Use Hose to rinse keggles, followed by PBW wash.
Rinse all other tools in Star San, dump.
(Pitch, go to sleep.)

I'm obviously worried about sanitization. I'm certain that I'm overshooting in some areas, but also concerned that I can never actually get into my hoses to clean those out. Thoughts, suggestions?

Thanks!

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Old 06-14-2011, 01:03 AM   #2
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Wow, that sounds like overkill. Better safe than sorry.

I am a lazy brewer and use One Step, I know it isn't as strong as PBW/Star San but I've never had an infection.

I usually just make 3 gallon and quick clean the carboys and all my gear.

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Old 06-14-2011, 01:10 AM   #3
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I clean after brewing and sanitize during. Everything on the hot side gets rinsed in hot water and maybe some manual cleaning with a wet paper towel. Things on the cold side get the oxiclean or PBW treatment. While brewing, I give everything a quick rinse to remove dust, and things on the cold side get submerged or sprayed with StarSan just prior to use. I have a 2-gallon bucket of StarSan, and a small spray bottle - that's all that's needed.

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Old 06-14-2011, 01:13 AM   #4
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Star San can be reused if used on clean gear.

While my mash is going I heat my sparge water and mix up 2.5 Gallons of Star San in the Carboy. I roll it around every few minutes during the boil.

While my wort is chilling I rack the Star San out of the Carboy and into a bucket and a wall paper tray using my auto siphon. My longer items (Auto Siphone, thief, etc..) go into the bucket and my hoses and yeast packs go into the wall paper tray. I also fill a spray bottle.

When wort is chilled, I spray the Carboy mouth and rack into it.

Sanitizing is something you can do during the "down" times of a brew day: Mashing, waiting for water to heat.

Doing bleach then Star San is not only a waste of time and materials, but it's also dangerous! When bleach and star San mix a very poisonous gas is released!

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Old 06-14-2011, 02:55 AM   #5
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Overkill for sure.

Relax...dont worry...have a homebrew.

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Old 06-14-2011, 03:21 AM   #6
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I use starsan to sanitize exactly three things: my carboy, my airlock, and my stopper. Everything else gets heat sanitized as part of the boil. Sanitation is extremely important, but make sure you're not sanitizing things that you don't need to. 6 hours of cleaning is very, very excessive.

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Old 06-14-2011, 12:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalFet View Post
I use starsan to sanitize exactly three things: my carboy, my airlock, and my stopper. Everything else gets heat sanitized as part of the boil. Sanitation is extremely important, but make sure you're not sanitizing things that you don't need to. 6 hours of cleaning is very, very excessive.
THIS. Except that I use a bucket, so for me it's bucket & airlock.
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:59 PM   #8
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Yeah, skip the bleach. I can do a 5 gallon batch and be done around noon if I start no later than 8:00 AM, and I don't cut corners on any sanitizing.

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Old 06-14-2011, 01:03 PM   #9
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If I'm understanding you, you're sanitizing your brewing tools after you use them - that is completely unnecessary. Sanitize items shortly before you use them. Afterwards, clean them and put them away.

+1 on the comments above about using bleach and sanitizer, that's unnecessary.

What you need to sanitize will depend upon your process. For example, while te wort is chilling, I sanitize a funnel that I use while pitching the yeast.

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Old 06-14-2011, 01:19 PM   #10
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If using a no-rinse/wet contact sanitizer like iodophor or starsan you should always sanitize fresh, and leave things wet. You should sanitize on bottling day (or brew day if you are brewing.) It only takes a few minutes. If you let a no-rinse, wet contact sanitizer like starsan or iodophor, dry your are reducing it's efficacy by half. If it is dry, any micro organisms that touch the surface render it no longer sanitized. If the walls are wet with sanitizer, that organism would be toast. But dry it would still be alive.

There's a lot of great info in this thread, including the links to podcasts about the two most effective sanitizers we use, iodophor and starsan.

Sanitizer Question.

Sanitization is important, but paranoia isn't. It really important to realize that this is a hobby, it's meant to be fun, and most importantly, it's really hard to f-this brewing up. The yeast (who are in charge, not us) manage to make beer regardless of the crap we do to it.

I'm not saying you don't pay attention to basic good sanitization practices, but just don't think you need to wear a body condom to brew.

Here, read this, Revvy's advice for the new brewer in terms of worry. You might find the info and advice helpful....And see what we've all done to our beers in this thread, What are some of the mistakes you made...where your beer still turned out great?

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