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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Cleaning my HDPE plastic fermenter
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:09 PM   #1
Dave37
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Default Cleaning my HDPE plastic fermenter

So I racked my BGS over to my glass carboy a few days ago for secondary fermentation. But after vigorous scrubbing with soap and water.And A starsan bath. the smell of the trub is still distinct inside my fermenter. I've now decided to go with a mild bleach solution to see if it will get the smell out.

So my questions are will this smell ever come out or should I live with it? If the smell stays in there will it negatively affect the quality of my next batch? And finally will using bleach inside the fermenter harm it at all?

Thanks


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Old 11-09-2012, 06:30 PM   #2
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Next batch of what? Beer? I ignore the smell and as long as the fermenter is reasonably clean (no gunk stuck to it) and it is sanitized I have had no issues with the little smell of beer in it. Be careful with the vigorous scrubbing as you can scratch the plastic and create a place for bacteria to hide from the sanitizer. I wipe mine with a soft sponge.


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Old 11-09-2012, 07:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM-MN
Next batch of what? Beer? I ignore the smell and as long as the fermenter is reasonably clean (no gunk stuck to it) and it is sanitized I have had no issues with the little smell of beer in it. Be careful with the vigorous scrubbing as you can scratch the plastic and create a place for bacteria to hide from the sanitizer. I wipe mine with a soft sponge.
Yes next batch of beer which most definitely will not be a BGS. Ok was just curious if it affected or carried over to other batches with obviously different flavors and aromas. As far as my scrubbing went it was with a soft sponge no abrasive material was used. Just a lot of elbow grease. Thanks
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:26 PM   #4
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Note that Star-San is a sanitizer, not a cleaner.

Soak it overnight in a hot PBW or OxyClean solution, it should be good as new.
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:36 PM   #5
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Unfortunately, PWB or oxy will not ALWAYS take care of the problem of, say, krausen stuck to the fermenter.. not will it remove all odors. Cleanliness is as important as sanitization in my book. If you can reach inside the fermenter, take something like a cotton t-shirt and scrub the insides with fully dissolved oxy and rinse very well. If you can't reach inside, that same t-shirt or a microfiber cloth with a string attached along with a small amount of dissolved oxy will do the trick. Put the cloth in the carboy with just a little solution and shake it back and forth. I hold my carboy sideways and get the cloth swirling around and it removes everything. I have a Mikes Carboy Cleaner that usually works, but when the krausen is stuck.. I could leave it on the MCC and it would probably never get well cleaned without that added help. I'd avoid using a carboy brush if at all possible due to potential scratching.
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:42 PM   #6
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I have a spray wand from midwest that is connected to an adapter on the sink faucet to clean out my FV's. Then onto the fermenter stand,dump in 3-4 TBSP od PBW & fill with water & stir well. Toss the lid on it & soak for 5-7 days. Drain it through the spigot into a homer cheapo bucket & dump. Rinse it out & remove the spigot & soak that for awhile. Then scrub the area around the mounting hole to get that clean.
By brew day when I sanitize it,they smell fine.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave37 View Post
So I racked my BGS over to my glass carboy a few days ago for secondary fermentation. But after vigorous scrubbing with soap and water.And A starsan bath. the smell of the trub is still distinct inside my fermenter. I've now decided to go with a mild bleach solution to see if it will get the smell out.

So my questions are will this smell ever come out or should I live with it? If the smell stays in there will it negatively affect the quality of my next batch? And finally will using bleach inside the fermenter harm it at all?

Thanks
Mine seemed to smell a bit too but by the same token the smell seemed to dissipate within a day or two of cleaning.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:15 AM   #8
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Mine seemed to smell a bit too but by the same token the smell seemed to dissipate within a day or two of cleaning.
If your fermenter is empty long enough for the smell to dissipate, doesn't that suggest you aren't brewing often enough?
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:59 PM   #9
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Yeah, probably, but I can't drink two cases of beer every week or two to keep up with y'all. The majority of my posse drinks liquor, or doesn't like much beyond Bud Light, so that doesn't help either.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:24 PM   #10
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I noticed on my glass carboy that a short soak with B-Brite and hot water made cleaning it up quite easy. I've bought a second fermenter which is a plastic bucket, it'll be interesting to see if it cleans as easy as the glass. If I have issues I think I'll just buck up for more glass.

Rick


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