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Old 10-31-2013, 06:26 PM   #1
ErsteBrau
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Default Cleaning AFTER Use

Hi All,

Long time drinker, first time brewer.

How important is it to clean immediately after brewing using certain equipment? For example, I am using a trial jar and hydrometer to check the gravity of beer each day but am not so concerned with cleaning it after each use - just rinsing with hot water. I can't be arsed with cleaning/sanitizing it each time as I use it daily to check the readings. Is this practice okay?

Also, after brew day, is it neccessary to clean all equipment immediately after use, or can it simply be rinsed and then later properly cleaned and sanitized just before the next use?

Lastly, is it fine to use the brew cloth to clean and sanitize the work area as well as the equipment?

Thanks muchly,
Doug

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Old 10-31-2013, 06:40 PM   #2
mjohnson
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Do you dump the samples back in? I don't. If you don't, I don't think theres any reason to ever do more than rinse.

Regarding brew equipment. The only thing you really need to watch out for is stuff that hits the wort after the boil. No need to sanitize boil kettles or mash tuns. Do sanitize wort chillers, spoons used to stir cooling wort, fermenters, etc. By all means rinse everything down and get all the crud off after brewing. That just makes it easier and less nasty. Spent grain and sugary liquid gets funky fast.

Regarding cloths for wiping things down. Again, you don't need to worry so much about pre-boil sanitation. The only caution regarding wiping things down is with plastic that touches wort post boil (i.e. fermentation buckets). You don't want to scratch plastics as it gives bacteria a place to live. So avoid abrasive things. Many people use a oxygen based cleanser like oxyclean free or PBW to knock off the crud (it works great - no scrubbing!), rinse with water, then sanitize with starsan. Once you put the sanitizer in there, don't wipe anything. Just make sure its in contact with the entire surface of anything that touches cool wort.

That said, people use the same buckets for years without any problems. Don't stress too much. Beer is pretty robust. Be conscientious about it and you probably won't have any issues.

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Old 10-31-2013, 06:51 PM   #3
aiptasia
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The most important job in brewing is cleaning and sanitizing your equipment. The level of cleaning you need to perform each time you brew is specific to your setup, your schedule, your equipment and how messy the brew was. That being said, here's my usual routine:

Cleaned and sanitized the day before brew day: Anything that will touch the wort or beer AFTER it's been brewed (fermenters, spoons, hydrometers and dip tubes, auto siphon, strainers, hops bags, blow off tubes, airlocks, 02 wand, wort chiller, etc.

Cleaned but not usually sanitized ON BREW DAY: Mash tun, boil kettle, thermometers, mash paddle, BIAB bag.

Cleaned AFTER BREWING on brew day: boil kettle, mash tun, BIAB bag, auto siphon, thermometers, O2 wand, hops bags, strainers, spoons/stirrers, mash paddle and wort chiller. Not sanitized, just cleaned of all grains, trub, gunk and malt residue.

Cleaned and sanitized BEFORE Bottling/kegging: Bottles, kegs, caps, capper, priming sugar (simple syrup), bottling bucket, spigot, filling wand, auto siphon.

Cleaned but not sanitized AFTER Bottling/Kegging: Fermenter, auto siphon, adjunct ingredient bags (usually hops bags), blow off equipment, airlock, bottling bucket, filling wand, spigot, etc..

As far as your questions, it's ok to just rinse out your hydrometer tube and hydrometer if you don't dump your beer back into the fermenter. Anything going into the beer should be cleaned and sanitized though. So, if you're using a hydrometer tube, an auto siphon or a wine thief (or big turkey baster) to take samples of the beer for the hydrometer, make sure that's sanitized.

I prefer to clean up my equipment right after brewing for a few reasons: Clean equipment and brewing environment reduces the possibility for infections, it prevents molds and fungi, it reduces rust and oxidation and it doesn't take but about 20 minutes of my time after the brew is done. I don't sanitize anything after brew day, just remove the major residue and gunk from my equipment so that it's clean. For a few pieces of the equipment like my O2 wand, this is vital for it's long term usability.

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Old 11-14-2013, 06:27 AM   #4
ErsteBrau
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Hey,

Thanks for the info. Was very useful. I don't put the samples back in - I like to see how it tastes over time. Bottling day was interesting seeing the damn bottling tube and valve Didn't fit. But otherwise okay.
Cheers,
EB

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Old 11-15-2013, 11:19 PM   #5
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My general rule is clean after use, sanitize before. Most things are easier to clean just after use, when things are still damp. Dried up brewing messes are a big pain (and can smell pretty bad). If things are clean, a quick rinse to get rid of any dust and sanitation on brew day and off to brewing.

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