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Old 10-20-2010, 09:26 PM   #1
evanos
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Default Steam for Sanitizing/Cleaning?

Hey gang,
Just wondering about the possibility of using steam to clean and sanitize equipment. Steam is an incredible cleaning agent for gunky, nasty things and it can be created at temperatures in excess of 100 C, which makes it excellent for killing little beasties that could intrude on a brew. So I'm working on design considerations for a steam powered bottle tree that could clean and sanitize a large number of bottles simultaneously. Any thoughts?

Cheers!

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Old 10-20-2010, 09:30 PM   #2
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That's how an autoclave works, which some brewers use to sanitize. A steam powered bottle tree? Sounds more like a rocket launcher

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Old 10-20-2010, 10:31 PM   #3
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That sounds great. That would be sooome beer porn.

I use steam to sanitize my fermenters (Sanke). It's a step in between the PBW and StarSan washes. Totally redundant. I'm going to experiment with whether steaming will liquify all the trub or bake it on. If it's liquify, I could do away with the clean cycle. Or ... do away with the StarSan cycle... Not willing to try it right now.

I use one of those clothes steamers that has a base/floor unit and a wand (like you find in SkyMall). Had one lying around. I just removed the wand. The base has 3/4" MPT. Works very well. My fermenter gets to 212 (as per my thermowell probe). I even daisy chain serving kegs after the fermenter and they get real hot too. Bet you could find a craigslist one cheap. I was going to sell mine... don't work very well for clothes.

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Old 10-21-2010, 12:18 AM   #4
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why not put your bottles in the oven the night before, crack it up to 300 degrees and let them sit for an hour or so. Then turn off the oven and leave it closed until bottling time. that way the entire oven interior and contents are sanitized.

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Old 10-21-2010, 02:28 AM   #5
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Steam sanitizing (for 15 min- as in an autoclave) is as effective as it gets! actually, at that time- you are the point of sterilizing.

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Old 10-21-2010, 03:06 AM   #6
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If you have the ability to make a steam powered bottle tree, I would just make an autoclave. Put foil over the tops of the bottles so that once the cycle is complete, your bottles will be sterile until you open them. The added benefit would be that you could sterilize anything in it.

If you are dead set on a bottle sanitizer, I would suggest the following:
I am assuming you are talking about containing the bottle tree in some sort of chamber (autoclave) since having live steam flow into bottles venting to a room sounds like a lot of wasted steam, not to mention dangerous. Instead of a bottle tree, set up a dishwasher. Have a rack with vertical posts that you can set the bottles on and then slide them into the steam chamber. Each rack should hold 12-24 bottles, and the racks should stack. They should also have handles to make them easy to carry.

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Old 10-21-2010, 03:26 AM   #7
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Sounds like you are suggesting a partial commercial dishwasher build...

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Old 10-21-2010, 08:13 PM   #8
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So I'm not thinking an autoclave, simply because that seems a bit daunting. A dishwasher isn't a bad idea, but I want more cleaning access to the inside of the bottle for more forceful cleaning. And Mr. McAllen, this would definitely be an outside contraptions Here in the Southwest, we can get away with doing things outside for 95% of the year, which is nice.

Anywho, my idea for the design was maybe like a bottle tree that would essentially be the steam delivery manifold. Each spike on the tree would be a multiport, multidirectional nozzle that's inserted into the inverted bottle. I was thinking a cylinder of some sort (large PVC pipe, steel conduit, idk, something pipe-like) would then slip around the tree to prevent blast offs as Mr. Broas mentioned. Steam would then be forcefully injected into the system and blast out the inside of each bottle while cooking any bugsies. A "tree" may not be the best design, but I was thinking it would be a simpler manifold. I don't know, I'm not an engineer, I'm a molecular biologist, lol. Anyway... thanks for the thoughts

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Old 10-21-2010, 08:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evanos View Post
So I'm not thinking an autoclave, simply because that seems a bit daunting. A dishwasher isn't a bad idea, but I want more cleaning access to the inside of the bottle for more forceful cleaning. And Mr. McAllen, this would definitely be an outside contraptions Here in the Southwest, we can get away with doing things outside for 95% of the year, which is nice.

Anywho, my idea for the design was maybe like a bottle tree that would essentially be the steam delivery manifold. Each spike on the tree would be a multiport, multidirectional nozzle that's inserted into the inverted bottle. I was thinking a cylinder of some sort (large PVC pipe, steel conduit, idk, something pipe-like) would then slip around the tree to prevent blast offs as Mr. Broas mentioned. Steam would then be forcefully injected into the system and blast out the inside of each bottle while cooking any bugsies. A "tree" may not be the best design, but I was thinking it would be a simpler manifold. I don't know, I'm not an engineer, I'm a molecular biologist, lol. Anyway... thanks for the thoughts
Maybe instead of a tree, more of a Vinator? Give one bottle a steam blast and then move on to the next one.
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:22 PM   #10
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I feel the need to reiterate that steam is hot, and seriously hurt you. I really don't like the idea of just releasing live steam.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evanos View Post
A "tree" may not be the best design, but I was thinking it would be a simpler manifold. I don't know, I'm not an engineer, I'm a molecular biologist, lol. Anyway... thanks for the thoughts
If you vent into the bottles on a tree, you will most likely make rockets. I would set up a wooden 6 pack holder and fill it with bottles. Then make a manifold with 6 tips that lowers into the bottles and blasts them. This way the bottles can't go anywhere and you have something you can use to carry the hot bottles away to cool. Put a piece of foil over the mouth of the bottle while it cools so that the inside stays sterile.
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