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Old 01-28-2010, 04:20 PM   #1
GRHunter
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Default Sanitizing Bottles

I am a few weeks away from bottling my first batch of beer. Given the number of mistakes and difficulty I encountered in my initial brew I figured I would use the time before bottling to see what I could learn to simplify that process. All my bottles are were given to me by a fellow home brewer who has evolved beyond simple beer bottles. Free bottles are good, but they are used and therefore quite dirty. So here is my plan:

For washing I plan on soaking all the bottles over night in a TSP bath, giving them a good scrubbing with the bottle brush, and then running them through the dishwasher without any soap or drying agents. Because the bottes are old and dirty I don’t really want to skimp on the cleaning process, at least for their initial use.

For sanitizing I was planning on using Iodophor and doing a 2 minute soak and then drip dry on my bottle tree. For the 60 bottles I plan to prepare I figured that this process would take about an hour, maybe slightly less. Then my friend told me about this bottle sanitizer that in a single motion squirts the Iodophor solution up into the bottles and then you just put them on the tree to dry. That sounds great, now we’re talking about 5-10 minutes to sanitize. But how does the sanitization take place without the Iodophor recommended 2 minute soak? The bottle squirter thing sounds like a real time saver, but I am concerned that in my haste to save a few minutes of work I might ruin a beer that I have been waiting almost 2 months for.

So is the bottle sanitizer squirter a viable option? Or should I just go ahead and do my 2 minute soak like the Iodophor instructions recommend?

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Old 01-28-2010, 04:41 PM   #2
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I use Iodophor and have always used it as an "On Contact" sanitizer. In 13 batches bottled to date, I have had no infection issues. Just get all the inside surface and the capping lip area wet and you are good to go. The device you are asking about is called a Vinator. http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...oducts_id=1322

I came up with another system to sanitze my bottles here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/almo...-video-125881/ With the help of a friend, we just bottled an approx. 10 gallon batch of 94 bottles in about one hour.

I don't know about using TSP as a cleaner. It may take a lot of rinsing to get it all out. The dishwasher does not rinse the inside of all the bottles all that well. I would recommend soaking them in Oxyclean. It rinses off very easily. I would also recommend buying on these bottle washers: http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...oducts_id=2343

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Old 01-28-2010, 04:42 PM   #3
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This is what I do when I bottle:
Take my bucket and fill it with hot water and StarSan. Submerge (stand them up) in the water. You can fit 12 bottles like this. Let them sit for a couple minutes and take them out (pour all of the sanitizer back into the bucket) and then dunk 12 more in. Fill the 12 bottles you just removed and cap them. Remove the 12 bottles that are soaking, return the sanitizer, dunk 12 more in... fill them and repeat!
It really helps to have someone capping or doing something else for you.

Since you have dirty bottles, definitely soak them and use a bottle brush if you have one. I don't think you need to run them through a dishwasher... I would just rinse with hot water. You won't do any harm but I think you might be going a little overboard.

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Old 01-28-2010, 04:46 PM   #4
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GRHunter:

Your plan looks good. I'd substitute OxyClean for the TSP, but that's just me. I'd also substitute StarSan for the iodophor. But again, that's just me. The bottle sanitizer squirter (aka Vinator) is an awesome piece of equipment to have. The two-minute soak is really unnecessary, as what you need is not soaking, but contact time. Both StarSan and iodophor are no-rinse sanitizers, so as long as the bottles don't dry out, you're golden.

For a MUCH more complete discussion, allow me to direct your attention to this thread:

Bottling Tips for the Homebrewer

Revvy says it much better than I could.

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Old 01-28-2010, 05:04 PM   #5
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TSP will rinse easier than oxyclean, almost nothing would rinse worse than oxyclean.

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Old 01-28-2010, 06:37 PM   #6
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i would skip the dishwasher step. From my experience the dishwasher does a poor job of cleaning the insides of bottles but does do a good job of baking on anything that is in the bottle when it goes into the washer - making it harder to get out after the fact. The soak, scrub, sanitize steps you are proposing are going to be totally effective.

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Old 01-28-2010, 07:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remilard View Post
TSP will rinse easier than oxyclean, almost nothing would rinse worse than oxyclean.
I've never had a problem rinsing OxyClean.

Actually, I usually only use OxyClean on "new" bottles when I'm de-labeling. When I empty a bottle, I triple-rinse it in the sink, then put it on the shelf. When bottling day comes, I do a quick inspection, then sanitize with StarSan, then bottle.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:33 PM   #8
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Being your first use of these bottles, a good cleaning like you are doing should be fine. Just make sure they are rinsed well of the TSP. Otherwise this level of cleaning seems to be a little overkill.
I am a fan of oxyclean as well and I like sanitizing with iodophor or starsan. Sometimes I will use my dishwasher without any detergent just before bottling. Not so much for the cleaning, but to steam the bottles. Maybe not the best way to sanitize, but I have never had a bottle go bad on me. Fermented beer is sometimes more resilient to critters than we give it credit.

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Old 01-28-2010, 07:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomerJR View Post
I've never had a problem rinsing OxyClean.

Actually, I usually only use OxyClean on "new" bottles when I'm de-labeling. When I empty a bottle, I triple-rinse it in the sink, then put it on the shelf. When bottling day comes, I do a quick inspection, then sanitize with StarSan, then bottle.
Maybe you have low ion water, in which case anything will rinse easily and oxy clean still rinses as bad or worse than other cleaners.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/clea...-clean-152440/

Lots of people have to use a separate sequestering step with oxy clean which would not be required with TSP or with PBW or with dishwasher detergent.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:39 PM   #10
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i dont know about iodapher but i use StarSan to sanitize my bottles. it says on the package to let them soak for 3 minutes. i never let them sit that long in the bucket. as soon as the bucket is to full of bottles to hold more i wait maybe a minute if that then start taking them out. haven't had a problem yet.

also it sounds like you may be over thinking things with the cleaning and sanitizing. if your friend gave you bottles that weren't washed out before he stored them then yea you need to clean the crap out of them the way your talking. if thats the case i would slap your friend for causing you this grief. on the other hand if he washes them out after pouring the beer then your over doing the cleaning process. you really only need to use the bottle brush and scrub if there is obvious crusty beer/yeast dried to the bottom of the bottle.

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