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Old 07-13-2010, 03:12 AM   #1
copper
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Default Sanitation Best Practices

What are YOUR best practices for sanitation at brew/bottling/kegging time?

I have trolled a lot of threads posted by this community on various topics of interest while searching for answers to my questions, or just drifting through the different conversations. By now we should all know the importance of proper sanitation; however, unless a thread is responding to a specific question, I quite often see "good sanitation practices" mentioned as an abstract reference. And the detailed suggestions are quite widely scattered throughout thousands of threads.

Of course there are the generic basics: use gear that is in good repair and thoroughly clean all equipment of debris before and after use, use one of the many sanitizing solutions to cleanse anything that will come into contact with your beer (at least ONE of them will fit your brew setup), and avoid anything that might unnecessarily expose your beer to the risk of unwanted infection. For the purposes of this thread, we can take these items for granted.

What I want to start a discussion on is what do you do to KEEP your equipment sanitary during the brewing process. What best practice do you employ to avoid cross contamination or to assure that you didn't forget to prep a critical item? What have you found works for your particular system? Hell, what didn't work?

I am not trying to over-think proper sanitation, but I would like to flesh out those "good sanitation practices" beyond just clean and sanitize.

Please share!
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:35 AM   #2
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I always have a keg full of sanitizer on hand for cleaning beer lines with. On brewday, I just pour some off into a 3 gallon bucket and keep it near by. Anything that needs to be sanitized just gets thrown in the bucket until I need it.

I don't sanitize ANYTHING pre-boil. Some may frown upon this, but I feel that if you have good cleaning practices, then sanitizing before the boil is a waste of time and sanitizer.

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Old 07-13-2010, 11:36 AM   #3
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while the wort is boiling, I fill the fermenter with 6 tsp of 1-step and fill it to the brim with water. I'll also leave a big spoon, the airlock, the hydrometer, etc and put the lid on the bucket loosely to sanitize everything.

For bottles, I rinse each bottle 2x after I empty it. When I have 40 or 50 I soak them all in the utility sink with clorox for a day or so, then use a jet bottle washer to spray out the inside 2x and hang up to dry. After they're dry I store them in a beer box and then it's time to bottle I run them through the dishwasher on a high temp cycle

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Old 07-13-2010, 01:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884 View Post
I always have a keg full of sanitizer on hand for cleaning beer lines with. On brewday, I just pour some off into a 3 gallon bucket and keep it near by. Anything that needs to be sanitized just gets thrown in the bucket until I need it.
How long does the sanitizer last? What is it? Sounds very useful to have premixed sanitizer on hand all the time (& I have a few extra kegs!) I use starsan and I assume it loses viability after... time? How much I don't know!
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:34 PM   #5
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In my experience, Starsan lasts a good while. I keep mine in a covered 5 gallon bucket. I check the pH with a strip before using it. When it gets above 3, I freshen up the bucket with about another 1/2 oz. of concentrate. I probably use the bucket of solution for 6-8 batches, then make a new one. And, a spray bottle of the solution is always at hand.

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Old 07-13-2010, 02:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevedasleeve View Post
How long does the sanitizer last? What is it? Sounds very useful to have premixed sanitizer on hand all the time (& I have a few extra kegs!) I use starsan and I assume it loses viability after... time? How much I don't know!
StarSan lasts as long as the pH is low. If you use distilled water to mix it, it can last months. Various minerals in tap water can cut that time way down depending on the water profile. If it gets cloudy, it's no good anymore.
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Old 07-13-2010, 02:47 PM   #7
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i just relistened to the sanitation episode of Brew Strong and John ( I think his name was John, not John Palmer and not Charlie Tallie) from Five Star said that Star San is good as long as pH is below 3.5 and not cloudy.

I assume RO/DI water would also help Star San last long just like distilled water would.

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Old 07-13-2010, 04:01 PM   #8
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Could someone check my math for me? I try to keep a spray bottle of Star San handy in the kitchen, and a fresh bottle on brew day, rather than a whole bucket to store later.

32 oz. spray bottle = 1/20 oz Star San?

As long as I estimate a reasonable 1/8th oz. or less in the squirt filler of the Star San, I'm ok, right?

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Old 07-13-2010, 05:38 PM   #9
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All of the small items I use (or used, in the case of bottling... I keg now), like keg parts, bottle caps, adapters, rubber stoppers, air locks, etc., after sanitizing, I put them on aluminum foil and in some cases of a significant wait to use, cover with aluminum foil as well. My presumption is that the aluminum foil is sanitary and I've never had an infection.

Also, I use sanitized latex or nitrile gloves to handle parts after sanitizing, particularly for keg parts as I put the kegs back together.

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Old 07-13-2010, 06:03 PM   #10
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Last brew session I had, I mixed up a couple gallons of idophor to clean all of my cups, spoons, hoses, ect. Anything that got used was washed off and dumped back in the bucket until needed. I've also used pieces of foil (dunked through the sanitizer for good measure) to cover the open mouths of bottles and jars. I haven't bothered to run out and get one yet, but I plan on using a spray bottle to mist these parts in the future as it will use less solution in the long run.

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