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Old 10-22-2010, 07:55 PM   #1
megamanisrad
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Default Quick question on sanitizing beer bottles using heat

Hey everyone! So I live in a remote area, and I can't just walk to the local supply store and buy Star-San or whatever you might use to clean/sanitize bottles and equpiment. All I have at my disposal right now is unscented bleach and heat. I'm doing my first ever batch and I will be bottling on sunday.
I am in the process of getting my bottles ready and I have read of using the oven to sanitize. Just wondering if you can give me some helpful tips in ensuring my bottles to crack, etc? I've put a few in the oven already, at about 375C for about 1 hour. I put tin foil over the top and some of the bottles look cloudy inside (although the cloudyness disappears when I put water in it) It also doesn't smell very nice when I take the tin foil off. Should I just put the bottles in without tin foil? Then put them on later?
One more thing! I thought I cleaned everything out, but I noticed that there is some residue on the bottom of a few bottles that is now baked in place. Will that affect the brew? I'm pretty sure that stuff isn't going to come off now!
Thanks!!

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Old 10-22-2010, 08:03 PM   #2
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I think that oven temp is too high. Your bottles should have been cleaned thoroughly before baking though. Whatever is caked on the bottom poses a risk to contamination, but it should be lesser because of the baking/sanitizing. Whenever you do get to a place to get StarSan, you should. The bleach works fine, make sure to dilute it properly though. And also make sure you rinse it out VERY good.

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Old 10-22-2010, 08:09 PM   #3
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What I do for my bottles is clean them with a bottle brush, then immediately put some foil over the top of them. Its fine if theres a little water left in them b/c the steam will help in sterilizing them. I bring them to about 150F, then gradually increase the temps to 375F. Hold at 375 for 45 min to an hour and then let them cool. Its best to do this the night before brew day because its gonna take a long time for those puppies to cool down.

Put tin foil on before you put them in the oven, then leave it on until you bottle. You take it off and you're just gonna have to sanitize again.

I've done this several times with my bottles with no problems.

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Old 10-22-2010, 08:14 PM   #4
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When I first started brewing all I did was run a load of bottles in the dishwasher with the heated drying option on and never had a problem. Make sure your bottles are clean though before you put them in because the dishwasher can't really clean the inside of the bottles very well at all.

Your oven goes up to 375C?? Mine only goes up to 550F (290C). You only really need the temperature of your bottles to reach about 170F (77C) for a few minutes for them to be sanitized. I would think heating the bottles up to 375C would have some kind of effect on the structural integrity of the bottle.

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Old 10-22-2010, 08:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megamanisrad View Post
I've put a few in the oven already, at about 375C for about 1 hour.
Holy smokes, this has to be a typo.

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Old 10-22-2010, 08:22 PM   #6
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I use a pressure plan to generate high temp steam.
I wash the bottles first, then steam then for 1min each.
I'm on batch #55 now and have never had an infection.
Most people use star-san though, which seems to be the easier way.
Tip:
The best thing is to wash your bottles right away after drinking your beer, so the residues doesn't dry out and get stuck inside.
When that happen, I add 1/2 cup of raw rice to the bottle, add water to half full, then shake well. That cleans the inside pretty good.

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Old 10-22-2010, 08:25 PM   #7
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I've never sanitized my bottles by heat, but working in medical devices I have used dry heat to sterilize and depyrogenate devices. Typical steam sterilization temps are 121C (250F) and dry heat is the same or higher depending on how long you want to let them sit at that temp.

Here is a good chart. If you have a conventional oven (not convection), use the dry wrapped heat numbers.

The highest temperature I've ever used in med devices is 250C, and that is for depyrogenation of an implant, which we don't need to do in brewing, so I think 375C is waaaay high.

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Old 10-22-2010, 08:25 PM   #8
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Wow, you guys are amazing! Thanks for all your help/ideas. I definitely need them here! And I did make a typo, I had them in the oven at 375F haha.
I am definitely going to stock up on star-san when I am in the city. Seems like a much easier way to do things!
If you have any more ideas, keep em coming!! Thanks again!

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Old 10-22-2010, 08:32 PM   #9
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Research the threads a bit on sanitization; just the other day there was a post for a table spoon of vinegar in 5 gal water, stir, then a table spoon of bleach. The vinegar keeps the bleach from evaporating making a home made Star San-like sanitizer.....

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Old 10-23-2010, 04:14 AM   #10
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I can vouch for 1 tbsp bleach and vinegar in 5 gal of water. You really need to add the bleach first, mix very well, rinse your spoon and then add the vinegar to the 5 gal of water.

It will smell of bleach and vinegar: don't be tempted to rinse. Leave it as is, everything will turn out fine. I've also tried baking bottles (some are even baking right now). I basically clean with oxyclean, rinse each bottles two times, put foil and put in cold oven. The remaining water will escape from the bottles. I then wait for the next day to get them out of the oven since they will be cool by then. Place the bottles ona cookie sheet, you don't want them to crash and shatter inside the oven. If you are bottling with 12 oz, it can (and is) a PITA. With bombers, you can probably cram everything in only one baking session if you have a standard 5 gallon batch.

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