New Giveaway - Wort Monster Conical Fermeneter!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > NEW BREWER - cleaning/equipment questions




Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-18-2006, 05:49 AM   #1
deranged_hermit
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 70
Default NEW BREWER - cleaning/equipment questions

hi all... i am preparing to brew my first batch of beer with an 'Irish Red Ale' kit, made by Midwest Supplies. i have a homebrewing book (for dummies) and have lurked on these forums for a month now learning about how to brew. i have a few questions before i start my first batch. i plan on using Clorox Bleach (unscented) as my sanitizer. and i have read that i should only use 2 oz. for every 5 gallons to sanitize with. the bottle says to use 3/4 cup for every gallon. how much would you all suggest i use to sanitize my equipment. i'd appreciate any procedure tips as well... ie time requirements, locations, and temperatures.

my second question concerns bottling. i went to my local liquor store and asked if they have any returnable bottles, or if he knew of any brewers that use them (so i could buy the beer and reuse the bottles). he said they didn't have any and that the major breweries dont use returnables anymore. does anyone know what brands i CAN buy and reuse instead of ordering $25 worth of bottles?

finally, i have a question regarding the 3-piece airlock. do i fill the airlock with water before using? up to the holes on the removeable inner plastic cup? also, do i keep the cap on? there are several tiny pin-holes on the cap that i'm guessing is to allow CO2 to escape while keeping bacteria and dust out of the airlock.

thanks in advance!



__________________
deranged_hermit is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-18-2006, 07:07 AM   #2
bleppek
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 26
Default

First of all, welcome.
It's nice to see another person from Indiana on here. There's not too many of us. I'll try to answer your ?'s the best that I can, although I'm pretty new myself. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

#1 - The 2oz of bleach sounds more reasonable than the 3/4 cup per gallon (although I've never used bleach myself and I'm not sure what the correct ratio would be). I use Iodophor myself, and you'll probably find that most people around here will tell you that it is much easier to use a no rinse. It's nice to have a bucket full of it while you are brewing, so you can just throw the stuff in and remove when needed.

#2 - Pretty much any beer bottle that is not a screw off top can be used for bottling. I believe most of the non-macro brews should fit the bill here. I've bought a few Grolsch myself for the great swing-top bottles.

#3 - You'll want to fill the air-lock about halfway full (there should be a line on the airlock about halfway up) then put the plastic cap on top and you're good to go. The cap lets the air escape and keeps the plastic cup from getting too high and letting air in. Makes for a beautiful sound during a good strong fermentation.

Hope this helps you out a little.



__________________
On Deck:
Not decided yet
Primary:
#7 Newcastle Clone
Secondary:
#6 Chimay Red Clone
Conditioning:


Drinking
Bottle:
#1 BB American Light Ale (My first brew!)
#2 BB English Brown Ale
#3 NB Cream Ale (w/ vanilla extract)
Keg:
#4 MBC Moosehead Stout
#5 Light Ale part 2
bleppek is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-18-2006, 01:36 PM   #3
El Pistolero
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
El Pistolero's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Houston, Baja Oklahoma
Posts: 3,598
Liked 13 Times on 13 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by deranged_hermit
hi all... i am preparing to brew my first batch of beer with an 'Irish Red Ale' kit, made by Midwest Supplies. i have a homebrewing book (for dummies) and have lurked on these forums for a month now learning about how to brew. i have a few questions before i start my first batch. i plan on using Clorox Bleach (unscented) as my sanitizer. and i have read that i should only use 2 oz. for every 5 gallons to sanitize with. the bottle says to use 3/4 cup for every gallon. how much would you all suggest i use to sanitize my equipment. i'd appreciate any procedure tips as well... ie time requirements, locations, and temperatures.

my second question concerns bottling. i went to my local liquor store and asked if they have any returnable bottles, or if he knew of any brewers that use them (so i could buy the beer and reuse the bottles). he said they didn't have any and that the major breweries dont use returnables anymore. does anyone know what brands i CAN buy and reuse instead of ordering $25 worth of bottles?

finally, i have a question regarding the 3-piece airlock. do i fill the airlock with water before using? up to the holes on the removeable inner plastic cup? also, do i keep the cap on? there are several tiny pin-holes on the cap that i'm guessing is to allow CO2 to escape while keeping bacteria and dust out of the airlock.

thanks in advance!
1) If you're going to use bleach for sanitizing, the proper no-rinse dilution is 2 tsp. per 5 gallons. If you use any more than this you'll have to rinse well, which IMHO defeats the purpose of sanitation.

2) A lot of micro-brews, and most european brews, still come in re-usable bottles. New Belgium and Dogfish Head come to mind. That said, if you get a bench capper you can even re-use twist offs.

3) With a three piece airlock, just add enough water to float the inner cylinder.
__________________

[/I] Up Next - Hobgoblin
After That - Czech Pilsner
Primary - Humboldt Hop Rod (4/24)
Primary - NOT Wheat AG SNCA (5/5)
Secondary -
Conditioning - SNCA Clone (3/3),

El Pistolero is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-18-2006, 01:57 PM   #4
DeRoux's Broux
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
DeRoux's Broux's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Beaumont, Texas
Posts: 2,966
Liked 6 Times on 4 Posts
Likes Given: 8

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by deranged_hermit
hi all... i am preparing to brew my first batch of beer with an 'Irish Red Ale' kit, made by Midwest Supplies. i have a homebrewing book (for dummies) and have lurked on these forums for a month now learning about how to brew. i have a few questions before i start my first batch. i plan on using Clorox Bleach (unscented) as my sanitizer. and i have read that i should only use 2 oz. for every 5 gallons to sanitize with. the bottle says to use 3/4 cup for every gallon. how much would you all suggest i use to sanitize my equipment. i'd appreciate any procedure tips as well... ie time requirements, locations, and temperatures.

my second question concerns bottling. i went to my local liquor store and asked if they have any returnable bottles, or if he knew of any brewers that use them (so i could buy the beer and reuse the bottles). he said they didn't have any and that the major breweries dont use returnables anymore. does anyone know what brands i CAN buy and reuse instead of ordering $25 worth of bottles?

finally, i have a question regarding the 3-piece airlock. do i fill the airlock with water before using? up to the holes on the removeable inner plastic cup? also, do i keep the cap on? there are several tiny pin-holes on the cap that i'm guessing is to allow CO2 to escape while keeping bacteria and dust out of the airlock.

thanks in advance!
glad you found us and welcome to the wonderful world of fermentables!

1. i don't use bleach as a sanitizer, but many do. i'd go with what El Pistolero said. you can do a search for bleach on the forum and several heated posts will pop up....or look into some no-rinse sanitizers like StarSan or Iodaphor. all homebrew shops will carry them, or check www.northernbrewer.com, www.morebeer.com, www.austinhomebrew.com.
2. Sam Adams beer, Bass Ale, Pete's Wicked Ale's come to mind for pop tops. most all domestic micro brews are pop tops. hit friends up that drink good beer for their empties. buy some micro or import brews to sample while your 1st batch ferments. we call it research and re-use those bottles for the homebrew.

3. most air locks have a fill line about half way up the side ofthe lock. insert the air lock, fill to the line, drop in the float and pop the cap on. if you get an active ferment w/out the cap on, that float could shhhooooottt right out.

good luck and keep us posted!
__________________

Cheers!
DeRoux's Broux

DeRoux's Broux is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-18-2006, 02:17 PM   #5
Darth Konvel
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Darth Konvel's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 1,046
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

Greetings and welcome to the boards!

If you use bleach, I'd go with the 2oz/gal, let it 'soak', and then rinse with boiled & cooled water. If you can get your hands on it, I'd recommend either iodopher or starsan, but that's more for ease of use.

__________________
-LupusUmbrus
Up Next: ???


Darth Konvel is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-18-2006, 02:30 PM   #6
Rhoobarb
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Rhoobarb's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Woodstock, GA
Posts: 3,573
Liked 16 Times on 11 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default

What they said! Yes, as for bottles, here in the midwest, it's nearly impossible to find returnables anymore. Here's a short list of some other brands to look for that do not have screw tops, can be used over and over again and are generally available in the Midwest at larger stores. And they all make good beer! Plus, in some cases, you'll be supporting regional Micros!:

Three Floyds
Great Lakes
New Holland
Two Brothers
Left Hand
Rogue Brewing

__________________

Last edited by Rhoobarb; 01-18-2006 at 02:38 PM.
Rhoobarb is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-18-2006, 02:49 PM   #7
Pumbaa
I prefer 23383
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Pumbaa's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,230
Liked 68 Times on 54 Posts
Likes Given: 66

Default

not gonna quote the original post cuz just about everyone else has

Bleach - the topic here may start a small war but I DO use bleach. I use about a "glug" to a bathtub full of HOT water then let the bottles soak for the day. I then rinse with HOT water as I take them out and just b4 I bottle. whenI say HOT water I mean HOT. I have my water heater set to about 165ish.

Bottles - if you can find a place that sells the old 24 bottle cases in the heavy cardboard boxes with the fold over tops you can use those. You may have to do a bit of running around but I buy cases of empties here for $1.20. (try a old timer bar) For brown bottles look for brands like Old Style, Pabst, Blatz, Leinnies, etc. If ya plan on keeping your beer in the dark anyway and not under a giant light or in the open sun light Miller products come in clear bottles. Brown and clear bottles discussions could also start a war here. Personally I use both. Brown bottles do protect your beer from the light better wich avoids sunky beer, but the only time my bottles see the light of day is moving from my fridge to the glass I pour them into. The rest of the time they are in my basement under the stairs behind a door in cases, or in the fridge.

3 piece air lock - like they said just enuff to float the cup. I have a couple of single piece air locks and 3 piece and am parital to the singles, but thats just cuz I am wierd and like the shape better

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. O'Rourke
"There are just two rules of governance in a free society: Mind your own business. Keep your hands to yourself."

Last edited by Pumbaa; 01-18-2006 at 02:53 PM.
Pumbaa is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-18-2006, 08:39 PM   #8
Rhoobarb
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Rhoobarb's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Woodstock, GA
Posts: 3,573
Liked 16 Times on 11 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumbaa
not gonna quote the original post cuz just about everyone else has

Bleach -
Same here and no plans to change. I use hot, but not too hot water - about what you're advocating here. Beach can send off dangerous fumes if the water is too hot and your ventilation is poor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumbaa
Bottles - if you can find a place that sells the old 24 bottle cases in the heavy cardboard boxes with the fold over tops you can use those.
Those are exactly the ones that used to be plentiful here in the Midwest, but no longer. Nobody carries them because (as the guy at a large liquor store told me recently when I went looking for them) "nobody wants to hassle wth them."

I remember in college we used to buy 16 oz. returnable Stroh's pop-top bottles when they were on sale. Man, those would be great for homebrew nowadays!
__________________

Last edited by Rhoobarb; 01-18-2006 at 08:42 PM.
Rhoobarb is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-18-2006, 09:53 PM   #9
Pumbaa
I prefer 23383
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Pumbaa's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,230
Liked 68 Times on 54 Posts
Likes Given: 66

Default

Quote:
- about what you're advocating here. Beach can send off dangerous fumes if the water is too hot and your ventilation is poor.
Yeah it can but the amount we are talking about here I dont think would really be that big of an issue. Even if you are taking a HUGE crap (I'm talking like a whole novel kinda crap) and have the place sealed up air tight, I think the most that would happen is you MAY get a bit of a sore throat or some upper airway irritation. Not really sure how much my bathtub holds but for a whole bathtub I doubt the "glug" of bleach I use is much more then 1 cup worth, the same amount you may use for your laundry.

Then again any chemical we may use as a cleaner in the wrong proportion may give off fumes in a poorly ventalated area . . . turn on the bathroom fan or crack a window if you are really concerned about it. In my 10 years as a firefighter/paramedic I have only been on one 911 call for a issue like this and it was for some nut who was a asthmatic, litterally was cleaning every surface in a upper flat with bleach from a spray bottle had the heat cranked up to about 90f and all the windows sealed with plastic film. In the same situation she put herself in I think Dove soap would have got to me. I will say it was a very clean place. Cleanest I have ever seen in the inner city.

Bottle wise - maybe it's a Milwaukee thing but they are still all over here, not at the frachise grocery stores but all most of the bigger liquere stores. Hell if ya need some pop on up, we'll head over grab ya a dozen cases then toss a few back
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. O'Rourke
"There are just two rules of governance in a free society: Mind your own business. Keep your hands to yourself."

Last edited by Pumbaa; 01-18-2006 at 09:55 PM.
Pumbaa is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-19-2006, 02:34 AM   #10
homebrewer_99
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
homebrewer_99's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Atkinson (near the Quad Cities), IL
Posts: 17,957
Liked 80 Times on 71 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumbaa
Bleach - the topic here may start a small war but I DO use bleach. I use about a "glug" to a bathtub full of HOT water then let the bottles soak for the day...
A little known fact...bleach actually works better in cold water. The correct amount is 2 tablespoons for 5 gals water.

I've used bleach, hell, I've used all the cleansers and sanitizers. I have a collection of them. I don't know which one I prefer over the other.


__________________
HB Bill
homebrewer_99 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
First time brewer, need some equipment advice the_beer_makes_me Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 10 04-09-2009 08:13 PM
Cleaning questions. size Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 2 01-07-2009 07:50 PM
cleaning keg equipment stevea1210 Bottling/Kegging 3 09-07-2008 02:41 AM
All grain equipment for new brewer- pots, mash tun, etc Jumbo82 Equipment/Sanitation 22 02-12-2008 06:40 PM
Cleaning equipment for storage Captain Tex Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 8 06-17-2007 02:08 PM