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Old 12-18-2009, 12:32 PM   #1
JimE
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Default Have You Sanitized (Sterilized) Using Your Oven?

I started sterilizing my wine bottles and now my beer bottles in my oven. I use the following times and temperatures taken from John Palmer's book and ebook:

Temperature Duration

338°F (170°C) 60 minutes
320°F (160°C) 120 minutes
302°F (150°C) 150 minutes
284°F (140°C) 180 minutes
250°F (121°C) 12 hours (Overnight)

I wash, rinse and dry my bottles as I use them. When they are dry, I wrap a bit of aluminum foil across the top to keep anything from getting in the bottle. When I have a a couple of dozen of these cleaned bottles, I put them in the oven at 340 degrees F for 60 minutes. I let the bottles cool in the oven. If you take them out while hot, they can break (they aren't pyrex). I just put them into a case box (still with the foil over the top of each bottel) and close the flaps. They remain sterile and are ready to go when I need them. I like this since it makes the tedious part of brew day easier.

Do any of you use this method? It really works for me.

Jim



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Old 12-18-2009, 01:01 PM   #2
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Star San is a lot cheaper than firing up an oven.

Drink a bottle of beer...
Rinse well...
Soak in San Star...
Drain & dry...
Store...
Soak in San Star....
Drain....
Fill with beer...
Repeat....



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Old 12-18-2009, 01:04 PM   #3
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I rinse and dry on the bottle tree and use the vinator to shoot starsan or iodaphor a few times before bottling. The foil/oven thing seems hard.

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Old 12-18-2009, 04:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s3n8 View Post
I rinse and dry on the bottle tree and use the vinator to shoot starsan or iodaphor a few times before bottling. The foil/oven thing seems hard.
This is the same method I use. In the time it takes for my oven to heat to 320, I can have 2 cases of bottles sanitized & ready to fill.
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:08 PM   #5
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I use my oven when it's not occupied for food preparation. It has worked well for the past 5 batches. Typically I will load the oven at 8pm bake the bottles at 320F for 3 hours to account for warm up time and then kill the oven before I go to bed. In the morning the bottles are cool and I fill/cap with a towel on the oven door.

Naturally, everyone has their own process, but I like the simplicity of pulling my sterilized bottles from the oven without mucking around with an iodophor or starsan solution and a bottle tree. The biggest con for me with oven sterilization is I can't use plastic labelled bottles (Amstel) or the plastic fliptops (newer Grolsch bottles).

Do you foil the bottles while they are still hot? Do you sterilize the foil with bottles or just skip sterlizing the foil?

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Old 12-18-2009, 05:16 PM   #6
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I use the oven technique. It's really easy. I don't have a bottle tree or a vinator. I basically do what the OP does - when I drink a beer, I rinse out the bottle pretty thoroughly, then put it in a milk crate. When I have 2 milk crates filled with empties, I rinse them again, cover them with foil, then put them in the oven. This whole process takes about 15 minutes. Turn on the oven, set the timer (I just set the oven at 340 and set the timer for about 80 min or so), turn off the oven. Put the bottles back into milk crates whenever I get a chance.

When it's time to bottle, I always have a few cases of bottles ready to be filled. No need to do anything to them. Makes bottling day easier, IMO.

I've never really tried the vinator/bottling tree way, since it seems easier to keep bottles stored in milk crates than on a bottling tree (space is a little tight). But if I ever see a cheap vinator on craigslist, I may get it just to give it a try.

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Old 12-18-2009, 05:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rushis View Post
Do you foil the bottles while they are still hot? Do you sterilize the foil with bottles or just skip sterlizing the foil?
I foil them just before they go in the oven. The heat sterilizes the inside of the foil, too. As long as the foil stays on the bottles, they should (according to Palmer, at least) stay sterilized indefinitely.
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:40 PM   #8
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If the bottles are not completely dry inside no big deal. The water will turn to steam and aid in sanitizing.

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Old 12-18-2009, 05:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gammon N Beer View Post
Star San is a lot cheaper than firing up an oven.
Now I am curious how much money I could save with starsan:

Price Comparison of Dry Heat (oven) vs. Starsan

Gas prices in LA are 49.786 cents/therm (1 Therm = aprox. 100,000 BTU)
An average roasting oven uses 30,000 BTU/hr
3 hours of operation for 48 bottles

$0.49786/100,000*(3*30,000) = $0.448 cents per bottling session

Starsan: $9.99 for 8 oz bottle
1 oz to 5 gal --> $1.24 for gallons sanitizer
Assumption: 12 oz of Starsan dilution in a Vinator is consumed/discarded while sanitizing 48 bottles.

$1.24 / (5 gal * 128 oz/gal) *12 oz = $0.023 per bottling session

WOW, please tell me the math is broken somewhere. Head-to-head Star San wins in an epic fashion.

Just for kicks let's account for equipment costs (I know we should never count equipment cost), a bottling tree and vinator costs $46.98, at savings of $0.42 for santizing enough bottles for a 5 gal batch, it would take 111 5-gal batches to recoup the upfront equipment cost. That is assuming that you lose 12 oz of the Star San dilution with each bottling session.

I'm cheating a little bit and not counting the cost of the oven for the Dry-Heat numbers, but hey who buys their oven for the express purpose of sterilizing bottles?

That was fun, now my number crunching OCD has been placated.
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:51 PM   #10
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Your math is wrong, I fixed it for ya.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rushis View Post
$0.49786/100,000*(3*30,000) = $0.448 cents per bottling session = Pretty close to free
$1.24 / (5 gal * 128 oz/gal) *12 oz = $0.023 per bottling session = Pretty close to free


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