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Old 10-29-2008, 06:37 PM   #1
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Default Three Questions About Sanitization

Hey all,

I bought some potassium metabisulphite as recommended by my LHS. The instructions only say to dissolve a certain amount in a certain amount of water and nothing else. My questions:

1. How long should my primary and equipment stay in the solution?

2. Once everything has been sanitized, do I need to rinse with water, boiling water, or is everything good to go?

3. What is the best way to sanitize bottles without having a big container? Can I use the kitchen sink or is that just asking for trouble?

Thanks!
WW

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Old 10-29-2008, 09:45 PM   #2
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I haven't heard of the stuff before so I looked on Wikipedia:

Wine
Potassium metabisulfite is a common wine or must additive, where it forms sulfur dioxide gas (SO2). This both prevents most wild microorganisms from growing, and it acts as a potent antioxidant, protecting both the color, and delicate flavors of wine.

Typical dosage is 1/4 tsp potassium metabisulfite per 6 gallon bucket of must (yielding roughly 75 ppm of SO2) prior to fermentation, and 1/2 tsp per 6 gallon bucket (150 ppm of SO2) at bottling.

Winemaking equipment is sanitized by spraying with a 1% SO2 (2 tsp potassium metabisulfite per L) solution.


Beer
Potassium metabisulfite is sometimes used in the brewing industry to inhibit the growth of wild yeasts, bacteria, and fungi. This is called 'stabilizing'. It is used both by homebrewers and commercial brewers alike. It is not used as much for brewing beer, because the wort is almost always boiled, which kills most microorganisms anyway. It can also be added to strike water (the water used to mash the barley) in order to remove chloramines which can cause phenolic off flavors in beer.

Based on this alone, I don't think it is a sanitizer for your equipment. Most people here use One Step, Starsan, or just some bleach.

Anyone else have some thoughts on this?

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Old 10-29-2008, 09:54 PM   #3
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I believe that potassium metabisulphite is the active ingredient in Campden tablets, which are added to wine must (and sometimes beer wort) to kill off wild yeasts and other microorganisms before adding your yeast. It's not really the type of sanitizer you'd use to soak your equipment in to sanitize, at least I haven't heard of it being used as such. Star San or Iodophor are most commonly used in a sanitizing solution for utensils, fermenters, bottles, etc. If mixed in the proper ratios they don't require a rinse.

I sanitize my bottles with an Iodophor solution in my bottling bucket - let them soak for 5 minutes (7-8 at a time) then turn upside down onto the (clean) dishwasher racks to drip until I'm ready to use them. You should be able to use a clean sink to do the same soak.

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Old 10-29-2008, 10:01 PM   #4
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I've been using Oxyclean to clean, and Starsan to sanitize. 1 ounce of Starsan treats 5 gallons of water.

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Old 10-29-2008, 10:10 PM   #5
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Hmm, thanks guys. It didn't cost that much so I don't really care, but it kind of irks me that the homebrew guy (a young kid) recommended it. I did my last batch with this stuff and it turned out all right so maybe I got lucky.

I'll see if they have some Starsan.

Thanks,
WW

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Old 10-29-2008, 10:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WriterWriter View Post
Hey all,

I bought some potassium metabisulphite as recommended by my LHS. The instructions only say to dissolve a certain amount in a certain amount of water and nothing else. My questions:

1. How long should my primary and equipment stay in the solution?

2. Once everything has been sanitized, do I need to rinse with water, boiling water, or is everything good to go?

3. What is the best way to sanitize bottles without having a big container? Can I use the kitchen sink or is that just asking for trouble?

Thanks!
WW
1. I let mine soak about an hour. Usually will get things filled and sanatized while I'm doing my boil and when I come back they're good to go.

2. Depending on the sanatizer you may or may not. StarSan is one that does not need to be rinsed. Bleach, on the other hand, probably is going to need rinsing of some kind.

3. They make an attachment that you can put on your kitchen faucet. its V shaped and when you depress the bottle on the lever it send a blast of water in the bottle. I'd still recommend giving them a good soak in sanatizer before filling. The dishwasher is your best friend when filling bottles. It works great to dry them upside down and catches any spills that might occur.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:32 PM   #7
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1. I let mine soak about an hour. Usually will get things filled and sanatized while I'm doing my boil and when I come back they're good to go.

2. Depending on the sanatizer you may or may not. StarSan is one that does not need to be rinsed. Bleach, on the other hand, probably is going to need rinsing of some kind.

3. They make an attachment that you can put on your kitchen faucet. its V shaped and when you depress the bottle on the lever it send a blast of water in the bottle. I'd still recommend giving them a good soak in sanatizer before filling. The dishwasher is your best friend when filling bottles. It works great to dry them upside down and catches any spills that might occur.
I use Iodophor solution for my sanitizing. On the bottle it says I only need to sanitize items for about 5 minutes. I did probably close to 10 minutes on everything, but is that hour fully necessary?
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:46 PM   #8
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K-meta makes a fine sanitizer, commonly in winemaking equipment. I've not used it on beer brewing day, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

From Jack Keller's website:
Potassium Metabisulfite (sanitizer):
Theoretically it is 57% SO2. 1/4 teaspoon per 5 gallons yields about 40 to 45 ppm. One gram per gallon equals roughly 150 ppm SO2. Replace at least every 18 months and keep in a dry place. Sodium bisulfite acts in the same way, but may not be used in wine produced by US commercial wineries.

What that means is, you can mix it up at the rate on the package, and use it to sanitize the equipment. I don't usually soak my equipment for a certain length of time, but spray it on with a sprayer for the small items, and pour it into the buckets, carboys, etc. I let it sit for about 2 minutes, before draining the solution out. You can soak the stoppers, airlocks, etc in a bowl and use as needed. (You can pull the equipment out as you are using it- it doesn't need to dry.).

It's not commonly used in beer making, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work! It just means that many of us have found star-san or iodophor and prefer that. K-meta is effective, and if that is what your LHBS is familiar with, then I'm sure they could answer better than I could.

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Old 10-30-2008, 12:48 AM   #9
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Oh! Now I feel bad.

I went to the LHBS to get some extract (Christmas stout time!) and see if I could exchange the K-meta. They immediately gave me a jar of "cleaning" solution and told me they were sorry. Over the next few minutes it became apparent that they believed the K-meta was a good sanitizer and that the cleaning solution -- Chlorinated Trisodium Phosphate == was just to "clean" equipment. Then you need to sanitize it. I just kept quiet and figured they were mistaken. They didn't have Starsan or anything else....I checked.

So I guess they were right all along.

Oh well...maybe I should drop off a couple of the stouts as an apology!

WW

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Old 10-30-2008, 12:50 AM   #10
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Starsan in a spray bottle is the way to go! It is soooo easy to keep everything sanitized with that stuff.

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