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Old 11-20-2004, 12:54 PM   #1
Pat
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Default Sterilizing

Hi,
Just joined the forums, and i'm only just starting to brew. I've got all my stuff, but i'm not completely sure on sterilising the bucket/barrel. I've got Sodium Metabisulphate, and i need to know what to do with it basically.
The brew is going to be 5 gallons. How much of it do i need to put in? How long do i leave it in for? Do i stir? Do i rinse? Should i start the brewing immediately after?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

cheers,
Pat

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Old 11-24-2004, 10:33 PM   #2
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I'm not familiar with Sodium Metabisulphate. I use household bleach (store brand). Put 3/4 cup in your bucket, fill with cool water, and stick everything else in it (airlock, lid, funnel, etc.). Let it set at least 30 minutes, rinse with warm water, and you're ready to go. I usually don't empty and rinse until I'm ready to add the wort to reduce the chance of contamination.

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Old 11-25-2004, 05:02 AM   #3
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Default Sterilization

I like to use Iodophor for most of my sanitation purposes. It takes less contact time than bleach and it is a no-rinse sanitizer so you don't have to wash away its residue. The only downside is that it discolors plastics. There is no harm from this side effect though.

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Old 11-29-2004, 08:20 PM   #4
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I know everbody's big on sterilizing there equipment, what might go wrong if some thing happens to get in there? Won't the alchole kill every thing?

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Old 11-30-2004, 03:53 AM   #5
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Default "Off" flavors caused by contamination of beer

Unfortunately, there are wild yeasts and bacteria all around us that can settle in places. If you don't sanitize well, it is possible that these can get into the beer and cause off-flavors.

Sourness in beer is a sure sign of a bacterial contamination. These bacteria can produce lactic or acetic acid and can lend a mild to extreme amount of "tang" to the beer. The bacteria that causes the lactic acid tang is known as lactobacillus and the bacteria that creates acetic acid is known as acetobacter. These bacteria can easily live in beer. There are some varieties of beer that intentionally introduce these flavors. Some examples are: Belgian styles (strong sourness), Guinness (mild sourness). One reason why cask conditioned beer needs to be consumed fairly rapidly is that the beer can be attacked by acetobacter over time and literally turned to vinegar. I tasted a "vinegar" stout on cask one time and it was awful.

Luckily for us it only takes a few minutes of sanitation duty to kill these bacteria in the nooks and crannies of our fermenters and brewing tools. Why take the risk? Sanitize.

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Old 12-27-2004, 05:07 PM   #6
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I use iodine. I thought rinsing with cold water was the way to go, hot water from the hot water heater is more likely to have bacteria in it. Not sure if its true..... but I also only cook with cold water.

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Old 12-28-2004, 06:28 AM   #7
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I would also like to recommend iodophor because rinsing with cold water is not a sanitary practice. There still may be bacteria in your tap water. Iodophor has been safely used in the food service for decades and is inexpensive when purchased in bulk. It also leaves your bottles clean unlike "One Step" or other powder sanitizers which can corrode copper tubing.

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Old 12-29-2004, 02:07 AM   #8
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I can get my hands on a UV sterilizer for very cheap, anyone ever try these to sterilize their washed bottles? Seems like it should work with proper UV and ozone safety precautions, I used to work with UV lasers years ago and know just how dangerous uncontained shortwave UV can be.

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Old 12-29-2004, 10:22 PM   #9
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Default Sanitizing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat
Hi,
Just joined the forums, and i'm only just starting to brew. I've got all my stuff, but i'm not completely sure on sterilising the bucket/barrel. I've got Sodium Metabisulphate, and i need to know what to do with it basically.
The brew is going to be 5 gallons. How much of it do i need to put in? How long do i leave it in for? Do i stir? Do i rinse? Should i start the brewing immediately after?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

cheers,
Pat
Hey Pat,

Welcome to brewing! I'd say welcome to the forum, but I'm new too.

When thinking about cleaning beer equipment, it's your mindset that is the most important thing. Remember, you aren't sterilizing your equipment (unless you brew in a lab or clean room). What you're after is sanitizing. That is, you want to remove as many nasties as possible and stay as clean as possible, though that is never truly sterile.

I use Iodophor and bleach, though mostly the iodine. When I use bleach to sanitize something, it's always followed by thorough rinsing and then iodine sanitizing to be as thorough as possible.

Here are a few tips that will help get you in the right frame of mind:

1) Cleaning - clean everything immediately after use. Don't store dirty equipment, carboys or whatever. Wash it right away. It's easier and more sanitary. Dirty stuff breeds up the population of nasties in your brew environment.

2) Sanitizing - Anything that comes into contact with cooled wort needs to be sanitized. It should be sanitized right up until the time it comes into contact with the beer. In the case of the bucket you are using for a primary, you want to have it filled with sanitizer until just before you want to put your wort into it. The same goes for airlocks, racking canes, or whatever.

3) Minimize exposure time - Once your wort is in the fermentor, cover it immediately. When racking, replace airlocks as quickly as possible.

4) Use a chiller - If you don't have one, get one. Waiting for the wort to cool before pitching yeast invites disaster each and every time. All that time it spends at hot temperatures invites the nasties to grow. Remember, your fermentor is not sterile. There *always* will be undesirable nasties in it. Your goal is to minimize the exposure your wort has to them, and to outcompete them with yeast. Your chiller, if it is a counterflow chiller, is a major vector for contamination, so you need to clean it religiously, and occasionally hit it with caustic line cleaner. ALWAYS rinse and sanitize it immediately after use, because if wort dries in your chiller, you have a major problem.

5) BIG yeast pitch - Always make a starter for your yeast. Always use liquid yeast for the best flavor. I don't care what Wyeast or White Labs say. Their yeasts are not large enough volume even for a five gallon batch. Get yourself some DME, make a small batch(.25 gallon) of wort a few days before you want to brew. Sanitize a gallon jug and an airlock that fits it. Being *very* careful to be clean, put the wort into the bottle, and, once it is cool enough, add the yeast. This will not only increase the yeast cell count, but a couple days later, when you pitch the yeast, it will be at a phase in its lifecycle that lends itself to a much quicker-starting ferment.

If you follow these steps, you won't get infections. That's because your wort will go from boiling hot (sanitized) to chilled very quickly, and then very quickly have a large, healthy, exuberant yeast pitch added to it. So, even though we know that nothing that touches your wort is really sterile, you have put the desirable yeast at such an advantageous position that they will immediately dominate the brew.

After a while, all of this comes second-hand. You won't even have to think about it once you get the right mindset. Have fun!

Janx
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Old 01-02-2005, 02:19 AM   #10
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I think Star San is the best Sterilizer i've ever used. The foam is a bit strange at first but according to the manufacturer it's actually good for beer. You can reduce the foam by siphoning instead of pouring. It's no rinse and I've never had an infection problem. All the info can be found at www.fivestarchemicals.com.

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