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Old 03-24-2010, 12:12 AM   #1
mikebiewer
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Default Cleaning Bottles for Homebrew

I'm sure everyone has their own techniques for this and I'd love to hear them!

However, when I first started out turning my commercial beer bottles into newly acquired homebrew bottles I had some questions about cleaning them and getting the labels off so that they were ready for sanitation and brewing. I compiled a how to that I've found very effective on my brewing blog that I'd like to share with people new to brewing while still getting feedback from you pro's!

Let me know your thoughts

How To Clean Bottles For Your Homebrew

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Old 03-24-2010, 12:16 AM   #2
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I usually do a soak in oxyclean overnight and good rinse. Depending on the brand, labels usually fall right off.

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Old 03-24-2010, 12:34 AM   #3
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I do mine a six pack at a time whenever I get a some used bottles. I fill my kitchen sink with hot water, then add about a quarter cup of Arm and Hammer's Super Washing Soda. This is cheaper than oxyclean, and removes labels in 20 minutes and really gets the adhesive off as well. A light once over with the sponge and running water, a quick rinse and they head to the bottle tree to dry until I'm ready to sanitize and bottle. The only thing I've found that is a huge pain is getting the foil off of beer bottles like Negra Modelo. Any tips on removing that foil easily would be appreciated.

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Old 03-24-2010, 12:35 AM   #4
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I tend to use the commercial bottles where they've opted for paint rather than labels. A brief soak in iodophor, a rinse, and that's it really. Since I rinse all bottles thoroughly after each use, there's no real need for heavy cleaning. I haven't had any issues using this method so far. I've got a bunch of these Mill St. bottles which are clear, so it's easy at least to see if there are any obvious stains or sediment:

http://www.beersnob.ca/uploads/Image...Beer/stock.jpg

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Old 03-24-2010, 12:50 AM   #5
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Yea, I have no tips of those ones with the foil on them. I hate dealing with that. I usually end up going back to the knife scrapping method or just throwing them away if I'm frustrated of bored with them.

I have a hard time doing anything a 6 pack at a time, but I may give your method a try as well. They just stack up if I don't deal with them often.

Thanks for the comments guys!

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Old 03-24-2010, 02:18 PM   #6
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Mike, I am certainly not a pro but here is my two cents.

I do almost the same thing that you do when I first clean the bottles and remove the labels.

You may want to add this - on bottling day I rinse the bottles out using a jet washer (that your reference) and then give the inside a couple of squirts using a vinator filled with StarSan. I too use a dishwasher rack to dry after this but I spray the rack generously with StarSan before I put my bottles on it.

While the bottles are drying I get the rest of the bottling equipment ready.

BTW - great looking blog!

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Old 03-24-2010, 11:30 PM   #7
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Thanks Marsdude.

That is a good tip. I should really mention again in my post that you still need to sanitize after this step.

In my process I usually end up cleaning one day, then bottling some other day. I fill up the same bin with water and starsan and let the bottles sit in there for about a minute or two before draining and filling with beer.

I really need to get off my butt and get a squirt bottle solution going. Seems like you could save a lot more sanitizer this way since you just need contact for about minute anyway.

Thanks for the comments about the blog. Feel free to stop by and say hi anytime!

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Old 03-25-2010, 09:09 PM   #8
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I fill up a cooler with hot water and oxyclean and dunk the bottles in for an overnight soak. By morning, labels usually fall off and a quick wipe removes any label gunk

I pull the bottles out of the cooler 2-4 at a time and give them a rince in a 5 gallon bucket of water, a dunk in a bucket of Star-San, and them put em on a bottle tree. At least thats the process I used before I got kegs.

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