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Old 07-05-2007, 02:29 PM   #1
May 2007
College Station, TX
Posts: 41

We all hear it - "sanitize everything that comes into contact with cooled wort."

But this solid bit of advice guesses the question - what is the best way to sanitize something as big as a 6.5 gal glass carboy? Or a 7 gal bucket?

I presently use BrewVint Cleanitizer, which comes in 8 oz packages @ $2.29 apiece. The mixing rate is 1 Tbl. per gallon.

That means that I'm using one packet to clean/sanitize about sixteen gallons of H20...this doesn't seem very frugal. OneStep, et al, are working at similar rates.

So - here's the rub...what specific techniques are we all using to sanitize our big fermentors?

(and to add some spice to the conversation...I've been experimenting with 1 oz each of bleach and white vinegar in 5 gal of water, per the instructions of Charlie Talley of Five Star Chemicals [WARNING - mix the bleach and the water first, then add the vinegar - NEVER mix bleach and vinegar directly, unless you want a trip to the hospital...or funeral home]. He actually says that rinsing isn't required at that ratio!)

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Old 07-05-2007, 02:36 PM   #2
FlyGuy's Avatar
Jan 2007
Calgary, Alberta
Posts: 3,605
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For sanitizing carboys, the easiest thing to do is get a sanitizer the requires low contact time, such as Star San or Iodophor. They only need to be in contact for about a minute or two to be effective. This way, you can put a quart or two of sanitizer in your CLEAN carboy, put on a stopper, and then swish the sanitizer around to sterilize the whole inside.

You could also use your bleach solution (very effective) but it requires a much longer contact time, meaning that you would have to fill the whole carboy up and let it sit for a while. Works just as well, but it is a PITA.

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Old 07-05-2007, 02:40 PM   #3
malkore's Avatar
Jun 2007
Posts: 6,922
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yep, pretty much what FlyGuy said is what I do. OneStep requires a few more minutes of contact time, so it takes several 'shakings' to really sanitize properly with a 1-2gal solution.

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Old 07-05-2007, 02:40 PM   #4
May 2007
College Station, TX
Posts: 41

Well, in actuality, the bleach solution only requires 30 seconds, according to Charley Talley (and he invented StarSan, so I trust him.

The BrewVint only requires 30 seconds, as well.

Side note - all commercially-available "sanitizers" are going to say 2 minutes b/c that's the shortest test that the FDA does.

So what I'm hearing is that swishing around just a couple of quarts is going to do the job?

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Old 07-05-2007, 02:40 PM   #5
FlyingHorse's Avatar
Mar 2007
Evanston IL
Posts: 1,856
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I suse StarSan, used to use bleach. Approach was the same. If I was making a bunch of sanitizer, I'd fill teh carboy with it, let it soak for awhile, then siphon the sanitizer into a RubberMaid tub for other uses.

If I just want to sanitize a carboy, I'll mix up a half-gallon and slosh it around in the carboy. Let sit a minute or two, repeat a couple times.
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Old 07-05-2007, 03:15 PM   #6
98EXL's Avatar
Mar 2007
Posts: 3,138
Liked 14 Times on 14 Posts

I always clean/rinse my carboys after a visible schmootz.....

...when I'm ready to brew anything, it seems I fill up my carboy with idophor and let it sit for a few mins, then rack that into my sanitizing bucket for all of my equipment. Seems to work fine for me
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:01 PM   #7
missing link
Jul 2007
Highland, MI
Posts: 648
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The star San foam is enough to sanitize. I only get the carboy about half full of water and there is foam shooting out the top. You can save Star San for several weeks after mixing.

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Old 07-05-2007, 06:03 PM   #8
Beerrific's Avatar
Mar 2007
Posts: 5,562
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I use iodophor, about a quart in and shake it until I get tired (<1 min), flip it and let it drain.

Key is, as it was said before, clean after use and all you have to do on brew day is sanitize.

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Old 07-05-2007, 06:29 PM   #9
Apr 2007
Redlands, California
Posts: 207
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Idophor or Starsan in a spray bottle, sprayed into the neck of a carboy laying on the floor and rotated works well for me. The sanitizer clings to the sides and I get at least the required contact time. Also, I only use a few ounces of the stuff, so I don't go through a whole lot of sanitizer. When I'm ready to rack the brew in, I just turn the carboy over to pour out the extra that's collected and rack away (an unneeded step, but why not).

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Old 07-05-2007, 07:21 PM   #10
abracadabra's Avatar
Dec 2006
Newnan, Georgia
Posts: 1,923
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I think there is a big disconnect between what most people think contact time means. Contact time refers to the time the disinfectant is in actual contact. It is not required that the surface be totally immersed. As a surface that is wetted with solution will remain wet for a period of time. So that a gal. swirlled around the inside of a carboy for 1 minute or 2 will do the job. As others have said this applies to a clean surface.

Here's a good piece on Iodophor.
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