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Old 05-21-2010, 08:34 PM   #1
atlphenom
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Default Moldy Equipment

So I'm very new to this, and I know this is terrible, but after my first batch of beer I was negligent and forgot to clean out my equipment right away. When I went back later to clean it out, I had mold growing in my fermentation and bottling buckets. I immediately rinsed them out, but now I'm not sure if I can use them for brewing again or if I need to buy a whole new kit. I was hoping to start another batch, so I've filled them with a bleach/water mix and am letting them sit. I was wondering A: can I still use them and B: If so, how should I go about cleaning them after the bleaching?

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Old 05-21-2010, 08:42 PM   #2
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Mmm... (more of a 'hmm' than an 'mmm good')
Can you afford to get new buckets?

Some would say "bleach kills everything" (in proper concentrations). And "you should be good to go" with proper soaking, cleaning, and rinnnnnnnnnnsing time. Potential problem I see is that if you are scrubbing hard to really clean everything, you could be leeching the chlorine into the plastic, and exposing this to your beer, creating chlorophenols and phenolic off-flavours.

If it was your first use, it is a shame to get rid of stuff but I'd say to be completely worry-free, get new buckets. But...yes...that's double the cost.

So the other hand says to let them soak for a few days, and use a proper cleaning solution and a rag (something soft) and rinse the HECK out of the buckets and try an inexpensive beer kit (a lighter beer, something that will definitely show off flavours if there are any). If you would rather spend money on the kit and your time involved.

So my advice is weigh out the options in time and money. You may feel better off with new equipment or you may wish to go through with the cleaning.

If it were me personally? I'd soak those suckers, clean 'em, use soft cleaning cloth, rinse the snot out of them, and give 'er! And if it turns out bad, it COULD be from the buckets, or any other step in your chain.




Good luck!

p.s. keep in mind that a lot of people swear by 'just using bleach' but to me: bleach/chlorine is a sanitizer (one that needs to be rinsed rinsed rinsed rinsed rinsed), not a cleaner. I guess I'm a believer in the nice soapy suds when cleaning and like to use no-rinse sanitizers, myself.

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Old 05-21-2010, 08:46 PM   #3
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I did the same thing after my last batch however I just forgot to clean the bottling spigot and racking cane. I ended up just tossing them out seeing as how they're not terribly expensive.

For you Jfriah's advice seems pretty solid.

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Old 05-21-2010, 08:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jfriah View Post
Mmm... (more of a 'hmm' than an 'mmm good')
So the other hand says to let them soak for a few days, and use a proper cleaning solution and a rag (something soft) and rinse the HECK out of the buckets and try an inexpensive beer kit (a lighter beer, something that will definitely show off flavours if there are any). If you would rather spend money on the kit and your time involved.
Yup...you'll need to use soap with a non-abrasive cloth, then sanitize the heck out of it. Even then you are taking a chance depending on how long and how well the mold grew in the bucket(s). And there's really no way to be sure the buckets are ok until after the next batch is bottled and ready for tasting.

Mold can often grow into plastic which can create a couple of problems for you - 1>the sanitizer may not reach all the mold which will then love to grow in your beer, and 2>they make micro-channels in the plastic which is a great place for bacteria to hide out.

I tend to agree - either get new buckets or brew a cheap batch and see what happens...or both
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:08 PM   #5
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I hate seeing new brewers get scared off with bad batches - - it happens, trust me. After nearly 20 years of brewing on and off; I was 50-50 with my first 6 months of brewing and then went to wine for over a decade. Now that I'm learning more about it, it's been a good 5 years back at brewing in various incarnations (kit, partial mash, all-grain).

Easy out: buy new equipment. No worries. Starting from zero. That said -- novice brewer (and even experienced brewer) can still have bad batches. Then what? "they told me to buy new equipment and the beer still sucked!"

Many variables from kit quality / ingredients / yeast all the way through workflow and technique and sanitization.

This is why I brew in glass. Dndlyon makes both valid points 1&2 about plastic. I hate it, personally.

But, yes, I've had suspicious hosing/tubing and instead of trying to run pipecleaners on shoestrings through to scrub; it is a relatively inexpensive 'fix' / preventative measure.

J.

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Old 05-21-2010, 09:25 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately I'm a poor college kid so right I'd prefer to avoid buying new equipment if possible. I'm going to try letting it soak and washing with soap and water and hope that it works out. I'll let you know how it ends up. And thanks for the soft cloth advice, I probably would have scrubbed with one of those abrasive sponges and ended up scrubbing bleach into the plastic without thinking about it.

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Old 05-22-2010, 12:42 AM   #7
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you will be fine, clean it with bleach, soak, to not scrub it with anthing rough. Rinse very well and its brand new.

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Old 05-22-2010, 01:04 AM   #8
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DO you have a dish washer?

REmove the upper tray of the dish washer, put your bottling/fermenting bucket in the lower tray, and put on pots and pans cycle. IF you have a bittling spigot, remove and disassemble it.

DO NOT USE A HEATED DRY untill youre certain there are no odors in the bucket.

All my buckets were cleaned this way. Done brewing, pop em in the dish washer.

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Old 05-22-2010, 01:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b33risGOOD View Post
you will be fine, clean it with bleach, soak, to not scrub it with anthing rough. Rinse very well and its brand new.
I'd agree with this, except that it's not brand new; it's just as good as brand new.

-a.
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:21 AM   #10
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make sure its all clean and you should be alright

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