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Old 09-28-2012, 02:18 AM   #1
AlphaBeer
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Default Cleaning overkill?

Hello and good evening everyone!

I apologize in advance for the book

I've been browsing these forums for over a year now and I have gained a lot of valuable information. So much so, that I'm just now getting around to joining and posting. I've been trying to find a direct answer to a simple question but haven't really found the answer, so here it is with a little background...

Almost two years ago, I ended up with a Mr. Beer kit. My creations were pretty sub par with the kit, but it was enough to hook me - I not only love drinking beer but I now love brewing it! I invested in the needed equipment to start producing 5 gallon batches and have brewed a few to this point.. Which leads me to my cleaners and sanitizers. I am flying through them!

I thoroughly clean and sanitize everything after using them - I like to think I have a good routine in place here. The PBW instructions state it needs 25-35 minutes of contact time (which I do after racking from fermenter to bottling bucket). However, on brew day, I end up filling one of my fermenters (6 Gallon buckets) to the top with water and the necessary PBW (or C-Brite or One-Step). Enough so that I can barely put in all my supplies and lid without over flowing it. It sit's this way from flame on until it's time to move my wort. I drain the cleaner mix, then use a gallon of water with the necessary iodophor, and shake rattle n roll it vigorously for 2-3 minutes and now I'm ready to roll..

Finally, the question!
Is the second soak overkill? On brew day, can I clean my fermenter in the same fashion I do to sanitize - by swishing a gallon of PBW/Water solution for 2-3 minutes, then transfering the solution to a pitcher for my utensils? If this would be effective enough, I could drastically cut my cleaning bill.

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Old 09-28-2012, 02:45 AM   #2
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I use one step and make a couple gallons on brew or bottle day. all my tools are pretty much covered in that and then I use a sponge on the sides of the fermentor / bottling bucket. Clean up is usually water and the solution and I am just cleaning beer spots off. In 17 batches haven't had a problem. Everybody's different but you may need to try cutting back a bit on so much cleaning solution.

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Old 09-28-2012, 02:59 AM   #3
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Yes, it's overkill. If it's clean, sanitize it. You don't have to sanitize after you clean the first time either, but in the case of fermenters and kegs, I don't think it hurts.

Suggestion. You seem to be thorough. Get a large tub of PBW, rather then the small one, and get a large bottle of starsan or whatever rather then the small one.

Many folks here will tell you to get oxyclean, but I've never really found the unscented kind in bulk and I really like PBW so I stick with it. I've done 30 batches and I'm still not through a large bottle of Starsan or a large bucket of PBW.

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Old 09-28-2012, 03:46 AM   #4
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Oxy/one step products are good for soaking to remove build up in carboys or better bottles, but need to be rinsed REALLY well in my opinion. Oxy leaves a soapy residue that will F-up your beer.

That being said, Star-San is the way to go for brew day/ quick sanitizing. Put some in a spray bottle to spray hydrometers, spoons, or any small items. Then have a gallon or two to swirl in your brew bucket, and to throw airlocks, funnels, siphon tubes, and larger items in. You can get a cheap 5 gal bucket at lowe's or Home depot to keep the Star-san in. When your ready to transfer, use you siphon to transfer the Star-san from your fermenter to your holding bucket, and your all set.

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Old 02-24-2013, 01:34 PM   #5
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So am I to understand that if the stuff is put away clean, it's okay to just sanitize on brew day?

I think I've been going overkill with my cleaning/sanitizing as well. After brewing or bottling I clean all plastic/glass with that pink powder stuff (chloro tri-phosphates?) and brew kettle with soap and water. Then I do the same on brew/bottle day and sanitize after that.

If I can cut out the second cleaning on brew/bottle day I will be a happy man.

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Old 02-24-2013, 03:01 PM   #6
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When I'm done with brewing, I clean, then rinse everything in sanitizer. That way I'm confident no nastiness is growing in my stuff while it sits in the closet. When I'm ready to brew, I take it out and briefly rinse in sanitizer solution. I just use enough sanitizer to swirl around and cover every surface.

If you cleaned right away and then sanitized, you shouldn't need to clean again, just sanitize immediately prior to use.

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Old 02-24-2013, 03:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric_victor View Post
So am I to understand that if the stuff is put away clean, it's okay to just sanitize on brew day?

I think I've been going overkill with my cleaning/sanitizing as well. After brewing or bottling I clean all plastic/glass with that pink powder stuff (chloro tri-phosphates?) and brew kettle with soap and water. Then I do the same on brew/bottle day and sanitize after that.

If I can cut out the second cleaning on brew/bottle day I will be a happy man.
Yes, just sanitizing is fine. No need to go through all that again unless it got really dirty again somehow.

I'm not sure what the pink powder is, but it's really not neccesary either. Unscented oxy-clean is good for soaking carboys and bottles, just make sure to rinse really well. I just rinse everything with hot water, and use a dish rag to wipe down buckets and plastic....NO scrubbies on plastic. The important thing is to rinse as soon as you can before things have time to dry and really stick to your equipment. If your brew pot is alluminum, don't scrub that, just hot water and a rag. It builds a layer of inert oxidation(grey to brownish) that you want on there to help stop metalic flavors. If it's stainless, scrub away if you want, but don't use soap. soap contains fats and oils that are hard to completly rinse away. You will be boiling in it anayway, so it will be sanitzed by that.

The only things you need to sanitize are post boil items. Pre boil will be sanitized by the boiling wort.

On brew day, just pull everything out and spray it with star-san right before use. Star-san is a wet contact no rinse sanitizer, so spray...wait 30 seconds...and use.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:06 PM   #8
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Sometimes I have to rinse things off before using, if they've been sitting around a bit. But there isn't any reason to clean things that are already clean!

If something is dirty, it needs to be cleaned. If it's clean, it can be sanitized.

Cleaning things before you put them away is a great way to have it ready for next time, assuming they are stored in a relatively sanitary place (not a barn!).

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Old 02-24-2013, 07:19 PM   #9
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Thanks for the quick replies yooper and whitehause. Glad to hear I can save some time (and money).

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Old 02-24-2013, 08:26 PM   #10
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The guy at the LHBS said this to me. Anything that comes in contact post boil needs to be sterilized, everything before needs to be cleaned thoroughly and rinsed.

He chuckled, because we went through the entire kits sanitizer when we brewed, and he asked what all did you sterilize.

My first batch we cleaned all the brand new equipment with soap and water, then rinsed and we sanitized everything, brew kettle included. We must have made 10 gallons of sanitizer, this last time we cleaned the fermentation bucket with soap and water, and then cleaned and rinsed everything.

Then when we started the wort chiller, we let the runoff which was quite warm go right into the primary and added the appropriate amount of sanitizer. Dropped the air lock, hydrometer and forced in the lid. I hate to waste water, we are on restriction here in Norman. By the way the wort chiller i got is the greatest invention known to man kind. Its the first thing i did not make myself, the LHBS sells them for 44, and that was 6 dollars more than i could just by the copper tubing for. Wort was cooled down inside 35 minutes.

After each batch my brew buddy and i sit down and discuss what we could do to make the process smoother. It has made brew day get smoother each time. This last time it was all about the cleaning and prep process. I think the next time its gonna be about the mash/sparge process. We are going to do a little research and then discuss what we can do to improve.

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