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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Boiling wort to sanitize fermenting vessel?
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default Boiling wort to sanitize fermenting vessel?

I did a brew tonight with a mate and we each took half the load in each of our fermenters but didn't sanitize them first. They were clean, just not starsan clean. The reasoning was that the boiling wort will kill any bacteria in there. Seemed to make sense to me but I wonder if any of you had any opinions on the topic?

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Old 09-13-2013, 03:48 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by durbo View Post
I did a brew tonight with a mate and we each took half the load in each of our fermenters but didn't sanitize them first. They were clean, just not starsan clean. The reasoning was that the boiling wort will kill any bacteria in there. Seemed to make sense to me but I wonder if any of you had any opinions on the topic?
Although boiling wort will kill the vast majority of bacteria that spoil beer but it is a bad habitfor a couple of reasons.

First, did BOILING wort hit every surface including the lid? What was the thermal mass and conductivity of the ferementor...in other words was the 212F/100 C wort actually at that temp when it contacted the surfaces?

Second, how long is it going to take to chill the wort in the fermenters if it was boiling when added? Any chance the contracting vapor in the headspace will suck in outside air as it cools that may be contaminated?

If your yeast pitching rate is up to the task and the wort was chilled in a timely fashion, you will likely be fine but even as lazy as I am about other things, sanitation is always done to the letter.
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:59 PM   #3
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Pouring boiling wort into a fermenter is a bad idea for another reason. With plastic it is possible that you will warp the container. With glass you can get thermal shock which can shatter a carboy causing serious injury.

Agreed that when cooling you might get air sucked into the fermenter.

Use the Starsan, in the long run it might be a lot cheaper than dumping an infected beer.

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Old 09-14-2013, 03:39 AM   #4
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I wouldn't trust it to sanitize the fermenter.

It takes a sustained exposure to high temps (like boiling liquid) to kill bacteria. Once you dumped the wort in the bucket, it immediately lost some of its heat and some of its ability to sanitize. A significant number of the bacteria could survive to later multiply in your wort.

There's a reason that those of us who sanitize our chillers by immersing them in boiling wort (or pumping it through a plate chiller) do so for at least 10 minutes.
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by durbo View Post
I did a brew tonight with a mate and we each took half the load in each of our fermenters but didn't sanitize them first. They were clean, just not starsan clean. The reasoning was that the boiling wort will kill any bacteria in there. Seemed to make sense to me but I wonder if any of you had any opinions on the topic?
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/ind...o_Chill_Method

This even addresses the concern of sanitizing by describing turning the cube on its side to get all parts in contact. Although it does say that the can should be cleaned and sanitized. So what you did may not really be best practice, but I think there's a decent chance you'll just get lucky this time.
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