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Old 08-07-2009, 08:33 PM   #1
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Default Sanitary Transfer To Fermenter

New to brewing and in the process of reading How To Brew by Palmer. From what I’ve read and got from the boards keeping your cooled wort sanitary is one of the biggest concerns of brewing. So my question is how do you get the wort from the brew kettle to the fermenter and keep it sanitary?

The air isn’t sanitary so won’t just pouring the wort from the brew kettle into the fermenter put the wort at risk of picking up something unwanted? I’d think some plastic tubing from the brew kettle to the fermenter would keep it sanitary, but don’t you need to supply the wort with oxygen for the yeast?

I have the same question for when you move the beer from the fermenter to a bottling bucket and finally into bottles. What is the best way to keep your beer safe?

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Old 08-07-2009, 08:46 PM   #2
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The air is going to be sanitary enough, unless you sneeze right where you are pouring the wort.

Note: sanitary means that there aren't many microorganisms in it, not that there are zero (that would be sterile).

If you are really worried, you can use a hose attached to a spigot on your pot - just remember to sanitize the hose too though. Weldless fittings can be easily added to just about any pot (see Bargain Brew Fitting Home Page). Many of us do this anyway, as it is easier that lifting 5 or 10 gallons of hot wort.

To oxygenate, you can just shake, or pour back and forth between the kettle and the fermentor. Again, the air is clean enough. I use an oxygen cylinder with a sterile filter that blocks all organisms, and the oxygen gives my yeast a bit more of a boost.

When bottling, use sanitized tubing. At this point, you want to minimize the amount of air you introduce anyway.


ETA: no disease-causing microorganisms can live in wort, so any infection is only going to spoil the beer, not kill you. Hops and the pH help to keep the wrong bugs from growing. Plus you are about to pitch a bucket load of healthy yeast (I hope), that will outcompete small amounts of contaminants for the most part. Relax. Don't worry. Drink a homebrew (or a craft brew). No so long ago, beer used to be made in open vats.

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Old 08-07-2009, 08:46 PM   #3
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Sanitized tubing works fine. It's good to limit the exposure of the wort to air, but not necessary to eliminate it altogether. Air exposure can cause infections by wild yeasts or bacteria, but of all the sources of infections, that's low on the list. It's good to get the yeast pitched as soon as possible. That way, any wild yeasts or bacteria that did make it in there won't have time to take off before the yeast take charge.

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Old 08-07-2009, 08:48 PM   #4
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they show a siphon in that book when going from primary to secondary/bottles. a sanitized one will be just fine, plus the alcohol that is in the beer will protect it.

i really wouldnt bother worrying about the air, unless you are going to cough all over the wort as you fill your primary...

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Old 08-07-2009, 08:50 PM   #5
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I just sanitize a small pot and scoop out the wort and pour into a sanitized funnel. When the kettle is light enough I will just pick it up and pour. I don't care about trub. Then oxygenate with oxygen tank that goes through an inline filter and out of a .5 micron airstone. And voila!!

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Old 08-07-2009, 08:56 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone.

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Old 08-07-2009, 09:30 PM   #7
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O.K., first Welcome to the board. Second, your set up will dictate how you transfer your wort.
The Reader's Digest version answers are:
1) When you transfer the wort to the fermenter, you want to aerate it to help the yeast get started. Pouring it and letting it splash a little will usually accomplish this. You will pitch enough yeast to overcome any airborne infection.
2) After fermentation, you don't want to introduce O2 to your wort/beer. It will cause oxidation and lead to off tastes. You do this by making sure your racking tubing goes to the bottom of your transfer vessels.

Now, if you're interested, I wrote up how I used to do it and why. When I was new, sometimes it was hard for me to understand some of the things in the books and I needed it broken down into plain English. Luck - Dwain

I recently started using a "no chill" method, but more on that later. I will tell you what I did and I'm sure someone will jump in and give you their method/explanation. This method worked very well for me for many years. My suppositions are that you are making an ale, using dry yeast and making 5 gal. batches. Also, I use an iodine solution to sanitize. Even though it's no rinse at the proper concentrations, I rinse it.
* Make sure your fermentor, lid, floating thermometer, measuring cup, small fork, air lock, and stopper are sanitized and rinsed if necessary.
* Pour you wort into your fermentor. At this stage, you want to introduce oxygen into the wort to help get the yeast started so splashing is a good thing.
*Cool your wort down to the desired pitching temp. You can do this with an ice/water bath around your fermentor. I did this in the kitchen sink. Put the stopper in the sink, put in a little water and put in the ice. Bring the temperature down to ~75F. Rehydrate your yeast while waiting on the temp to come down. Put about 1/2 cup of 70F - 90F water in your sanitized measuring cup, add your yeast packet and stir it with your sanitized fork. When the wort is at temp., take out your thermometer, take your wort out of the bath, dry it off and pour in your yeast slurry. Put the lid on it and put the fermentor wherever you are going to let it ferment. Remember, the closer you can keep it at 65F - 72F, the better off you are (although I couldn't maintain these temps during the summer until I got more equipment) and preferably dark. Once you are through moving the fermentor around, install your stopper and air lock. From this point forward, you want to minimize the oxygen introduced into the beer. It will cause your beer to oxidize and can produce off tastes. Back when I was starting, I would let it ferment for 2 weeks and rack it the bottling bucket. I didn't worry about the hydrometer reading back then. When you rack to the bottling bucket, sanitize your racking cane, tubing, tubing you will use to bottle and your bottle wand or equivalent, and measuring cup. Take the air lock out of the fermentor, and just put your fermentor on the counter, remove the lid and put something under one side of the fermentor so that it is at a slight angle (I use a piece of 2X4). Try not to shake the fermentor. Put your racking cane in your fermentor setting on top of the trub. Your tubing needs to reach almost to the bottom of your bottling bucket. Start your siphon and catch about 1 cup of wort in a saucepan. Heat it slightly and put 3/4 cup of dextrose in the pan. Mix it up well and pour it in the bottling bucket. Once you have the beer racked out of the fermentor and into the bottling bucket, put the bottling bucket on the counter and start bottling

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Old 08-07-2009, 09:33 PM   #8
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwain View Post
O.K., first Welcome to the board. Second, your set up will dictate how you transfer your wort.
The Reader's Digest version answers are:
1) When you transfer the wort to the fermenter, you want to aerate it to help the yeast get started. Pouring it and letting it splash a little will usually accomplish this. You will pitch enough yeast to overcome any airborne infection.
2) After fermentation, you don't want to introduce O2 to your wort/beer. It will cause oxidation and lead to off tastes. You do this by making sure your racking tubing goes to the bottom of your transfer vessels.

Now, if you're interested, I wrote up how I used to do it and why. When I was new, sometimes it was hard for me to understand some of the things in the books and I needed it broken down into plain English. Luck - Dwain

I recently started using a "no chill" method, but more on that later. I will tell you what I did and I'm sure someone will jump in and give you their method/explanation. This method worked very well for me for many years. My suppositions are that you are making an ale, using dry yeast and making 5 gal. batches. Also, I use an iodine solution to sanitize. Even though it's no rinse at the proper concentrations, I rinse it.
* Make sure your fermentor, lid, floating thermometer, measuring cup, small fork, air lock, and stopper are sanitized and rinsed if necessary.
* Pour you wort into your fermentor. At this stage, you want to introduce oxygen into the wort to help get the yeast started so splashing is a good thing.
*Cool your wort down to the desired pitching temp. You can do this with an ice/water bath around your fermentor. I did this in the kitchen sink. Put the stopper in the sink, put in a little water and put in the ice. Bring the temperature down to ~75F. Rehydrate your yeast while waiting on the temp to come down. Put about 1/2 cup of 70F - 90F water in your sanitized measuring cup, add your yeast packet and stir it with your sanitized fork. When the wort is at temp., take out your thermometer, take your wort out of the bath, dry it off and pour in your yeast slurry. Put the lid on it and put the fermentor wherever you are going to let it ferment. Remember, the closer you can keep it at 65F - 72F, the better off you are (although I couldn't maintain these temps during the summer until I got more equipment) and preferably dark. Once you are through moving the fermentor around, install your stopper and air lock. From this point forward, you want to minimize the oxygen introduced into the beer. It will cause your beer to oxidize and can produce off tastes. Back when I was starting, I would let it ferment for 2 weeks and rack it the bottling bucket. I didn't worry about the hydrometer reading back then. When you rack to the bottling bucket, sanitize your racking cane, tubing, tubing you will use to bottle and your bottle wand or equivalent, and measuring cup. Take the air lock out of the fermentor, and just put your fermentor on the counter, remove the lid and put something under one side of the fermentor so that it is at a slight angle (I use a piece of 2X4). Try not to shake the fermentor. Put your racking cane in your fermentor setting on top of the trub. Your tubing needs to reach almost to the bottom of your bottling bucket. Start your siphon and catch about 1 cup of wort in a saucepan. Heat it slightly and put 3/4 cup of dextrose in the pan. Mix it up well and pour it in the bottling bucket. Once you have the beer racked out of the fermentor and into the bottling bucket, put the bottling bucket on the counter and start bottling
Some good advice here, but I wouldn't rinse a no-rinse sanitizer. You are just defeating the purpose. I also wouldn't transfer hot wort into the fermenter (especially a glass carboy/better bottle). Even if you put it in a bucket, your pot will transfer heat better than plastic.

I would also advise people to use a hydrometer. They are not difficult to use, and are essential in helping diagnose problems with your fermentation/beer. Plus, nobody enjoys bottle bombs.
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Old 08-08-2009, 06:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by double_e5 View Post
Some good advice here, but I wouldn't rinse a no-rinse sanitizer. You are just defeating the purpose. I also wouldn't transfer hot wort into the fermenter (especially a glass carboy/better bottle). Even if you put it in a bucket, your pot will transfer heat better than plastic.

I would also advise people to use a hydrometer. They are not difficult to use, and are essential in helping diagnose problems with your fermentation/beer. Plus, nobody enjoys bottle bombs.
+1

Invest in a wort chiller and a hydrometer fo sho!

I think Jamil said that he uses Iodophor for his fermenter because he thinks that the residue from Star-San kills head retention. I haven't had this problem though. I sanitize at the beginning of my brew day to let the foam settle out...just let it air dry...I use the carboy dryer from Northern Brewer (like $6).
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