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Old 01-24-2010, 05:49 AM   #1
Jan 2010
san diego
Posts: 7

Today I bottled my first batch of beer and find myself worrying about contamination. Not so much from brew day, but today, while clumsily racking to the bottling bucket I know parts of the tubing touched unsanitized surfaces then was submerged into the beer. Also after sanitizing them in an iodine solution and rinsing with tap water, I set the bottling equipment on a clean, but unsanitized table cloth until they were needed.

Am I being a "worry-wort" (no pun intended), or are tap water, unsanitized counter tops, or an unsanitized clean table cloth legitimate things to worry about?

Brewing was fun. I can't wait to reap the fruit of my labors.

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Old 01-24-2010, 05:54 AM   #2
Oct 2009
Posts: 138

99% of the time it's fine.
Primary: Bourbon Oaked Raspberry Porter, Saison of the Sour Mash
Secondary: Je Suis Légion Bretted Saison, Michigan Peach Wine, Homegrown 90 Min IPA
Bottled: Weihenstephan Hefe Clone, Kärcher Bock, Kölsch, Oktober Wheat, Simcoe Slam IPA, Apfelwein, Red Trappist Dubbel, Dunkleweizen, Simcoe Slam IIPA, Hoppy Hefe, Come All Ye Faithful Christmas Ale, Gingerbread Ale, Wits End Kristal Wit, Kärcher Haus Pale, Nocturia Black IPA......too many.

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Old 01-24-2010, 06:04 AM   #3
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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Your beer is hardier than most new brewers think it is, read these stories here to see how despite what we do, it manages to turn out ok.

Folks have sunk body parts in their fermenters and it still turns out. It doesn't mean we should shirk sanitization, it just means that usually we get lucky if we screw up.
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Old 01-24-2010, 06:13 AM   #4
Nov 2008
Madison, Wi
Posts: 330
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You'll probably be fine. Don't worry.
FWIW I usually sanitize a large cookie tray and
put hoses and stuff in that during staging.
Dave in Madison

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Old 01-24-2010, 06:42 AM   #5
itsme6582's Avatar
Nov 2009
Posts: 862
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People have been making beer longer than people have known about microbes. Not a little longer. A lot longer. In fact, people have only known about yeast for a few hundred years.

Do your best and RDWHAHB. If making beer were so dangerous, all the beer drinkers would have Darwined themselves out of here thousands of years ago.

Reason: grammar

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Old 01-24-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
Flocculation Nation
scrambledegg81's Avatar
Sep 2009
Los Osos, CA
Posts: 1,816
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The habit I've gotten in is:

A) go to Home Depot and get aHomer bucket (big, plastic & orange...just a few bucks).

B) come brewday, fill aforementioned bucket with water & sanitizer.

C) have at it.
Primary: nada
Secondary: emptyness
Bottled/Fridge: Sierra Nevada Celebration
Bombers/Growlers/Aging: The Abyss, Firestone 19th Anniversary Ale
Kegerator: sanitizer!
Coming Up: something spiffy, most likely

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Old 01-24-2010, 07:58 AM   #7
ChshreCat's Avatar
Aug 2008
Camano Island, Washington
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IMHO, you should be as anal about sanitation as you can let yourself be without going crazy or making brewing something that's not fun. If you're a slob like me, that means washing everything when you finish with it, rinsing it off before using it again and giving it a spray with starsan. If you're totally OCD and you ENJOY making everything sterile... knock yourself out.
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-Adam Savage

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Old 01-24-2010, 08:23 AM   #8
Aug 2009
cincinnati, ohio
Posts: 296
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+10 to A homer bucket or its bastard step child from lowes also hdpe 2

Don't forget the lids. Starsan made with distilled will keep for multi-brew sessions.

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Old 01-24-2010, 01:41 PM   #9
Nov 2009
Anchorage, Alaska
Posts: 368
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Sanitation is important, but you should not devote 95% of your worrying to it. Get into a good sanitation routine and don't spend another minute worrying about it. What you SHOULD worry about, in my experience, is fermentation temperature. Keep that bad boy as close to 65 degrees (internal temperature) as possible.

For my first two batches I was so worried about sanitation, oxidation, and other piddly crap that I completely overlooked my fermentation temperatures. Now I have to drink some slightly eatery beer with a hard alcohol bite while waiting for me next batches.

I didn't mean to hijack the thread, but I felt it was important to express my belief that there are things that SHOULD be highly stressed, and other things that you shouldn't lose any sleep over.
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Old 01-24-2010, 01:58 PM   #10
HossTheGreat's Avatar
Mar 2009
Posts: 537
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Originally Posted by bockman View Post
Also after sanitizing them in an iodine solution and rinsing with tap water, I set the bottling equipment on a clean, but unsanitized table cloth until they were needed.
Double check the instructions on the bottle of your sanitizer. Mixed at the proper ratio, iodophor should be a no-rinse sanitizer. A benefit of this is that if the piece of equipment that you're sanitizing is still wet with the solution the sanitizer is still actively working.

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