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Old 09-24-2007, 05:51 PM   #1
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Default How much 'sanitation' is too much?

Are we over doing the sanitation thing. I tend to say yes. But there are others here that are wash, rinse, scrape, drip-dry, and then baking (350*) their bottles. That sounds like major overkill to me. So, I raise the Q for discussion:

How much 'sanitation' is too much? What's normal, what's sloppy, and what's excessive...

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Old 09-24-2007, 06:06 PM   #2
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It's down to the individual.
Same as insurance.

You may not get an infection but do you want to risk a batch for an extra 10 - 20 minutes work per batch?

But saying that it's about reducing risk not eliminating it.

Have a beer on me.
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Old 09-24-2007, 06:06 PM   #3
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What you explained isn't necessary, but some people are OCD. Personally, I rinse my bottles thoroughly right after I pour the beer from them. Then I put them in my drainboard and let the water drip out. Then I put them in my case-boxes. At bottling time, I submerge them all in a big tub of star san and soak for a few mins. Then I just empty the star san from each one and bottle away. Nothing special. As long as you rinse your bottles before beer dries in the bottom of them, then all you need to do is sanitize...and star san is much easier and faster and less energy-consuming than the oven method.
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Old 09-24-2007, 08:04 PM   #4
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Charley Talley, inventor of StarSan, has said that good sanitation is 90% cleaning. If you clean well enough, you may not need a sanitizer. Using a chemical sanitizer is like an insurance policy on your cleaning.

Personally, I'm more worried about whats floating around in the air than I am about whats on my equipment.

I do...clean all bottles, fermenters, tubes, buckets, chiller, etc. before putting them away. I don't scrub the hell out of them, I just clean them, like dishes. I clean them again, quickly, before I'm about to use them, and use starsan just before use. I wash my hands and try not to sneeze all over everything. I turn off the ceiling fan and AC when cooling wort or bottling inside.

I do not...bake my bottles sterile, store my fermenters and tubes filled with sanitizer, or store things in sealed air tight containers. I don't even boil water for rehydrating yeast...but I think I'm going to start

Common sense is the rule. Make sure the things that need to be clean are clean when they need to be, and don't worry about the rest of it.

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Old 09-24-2007, 08:16 PM   #5
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What's 'excessive'? Any sanitation that actually damages your ingredients is excessive.

Other than that it is all a question of how much you are comfortable with. Between my father and I we have had lots of incidents in which we did things that some on this board would declare so heinous that no good beer could come of it. Yet most of these brews came through fine-- despite sneezing in the wort, having a kid play it in, a dog drink it or any number of very bad sanitary practices.

Beer is hearty stuff and can take a great deal more abuse than some threads in beer forums would lead you to believe.
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Old 09-24-2007, 08:18 PM   #6
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Um I wash all of my bottles in my dish washer... I have never had an infection from it.
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Old 09-24-2007, 08:23 PM   #7
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Count me in as a user of the "Dishwasher sanitize setting." Never had a problem with any infections from this method. As long as the bottles were clean prior to loading in the dishwasher, you're good to go.
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Old 09-24-2007, 08:36 PM   #8
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Overcleaning and sanitizing (doing more than necessary) results in non contaminated beer. Undercleaning may result in contaminated beer. The difference between the two might be a few pennies and 5 extra minutes per batch. I've never had a dumper batch myself but I've only got 18 batches under my belt. Once my brew is cooled, I even keep a bowl of sanitizer that I dip my hands in once in a while. OCD? maybe. Good beer? Definitely.
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Old 09-24-2007, 09:44 PM   #9
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I have been fighting infections for the last six months. Just when I think I've licked it comes back again. I am finally at the point where I believe my one step sanitizer is the culprit as I have had infections in the starter, primary, secondary and even made it to the keg and went bad in the keg. I switched to all glass primary and secondary and went back to not using a starter and still have infections. I just started using Star San and the first batch made it through the primary OK but that seems to mean nothing these days. What I don't understand is when I first started I went through about 30 batches without a problem and then BAM. It just seems to be on and off. It seems every time I start getting infections and change something they go avay for a while and then come right back.
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Old 09-24-2007, 09:57 PM   #10
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I noticed that one-step is now called a cleanser wherever I look...but like you, I used to use it all the time without problem.
star-san ends up being cheaper, and there are ways to tell if a stored solution is still an active I think the star-san is gonna treat you right.

I'll pray to the brew gods that your infection is over!

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