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Old 12-04-2007, 03:42 AM   #1
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Default Cleaning bottles

I am still too new at homebrewing to get my beer into a keg, so i bottle it.
I am too cheap to buy bottles and the city i live in doesn't recycle glass, so instead of buying bottles, i drink a lot of expensive micros in brown bottles and then clean them and use them for my homebrew. I am wondering if there is a chemical that works well for cleaning bottles that eliminates the need to scrub each bottle. I have a system set up where i put my bottle brush into a drill and this speeds things up, however i want to see if there is some stronger chemical that does most the work without brushing. What did companies do when they used returnable bottles? Surely they didnt pay people to scrub bottles all day, did they?

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Old 12-04-2007, 03:57 AM   #2
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oxy-clean. just follow the directions. but remember that you still have to sanatize them when you are ready to bottle.

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Old 12-04-2007, 05:02 AM   #3
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+1 on the Oxy-Clean
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:15 AM   #4
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Rinse them well after you drink them.

No chemical alone can penetrate thick dried on beer scum. Oxyclean works well on relatively clean bottles. You need to visually inspect them for scum.

Breweries used very high pressure hot water and PBW (or PBW like substance).
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Old 12-05-2007, 03:04 AM   #5
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get a double blast bottle washer.midwest has them, but I got mine local for cheaper. you can blast 2 bottles at once with hot water and then put them on bottle tree to dry. since you said you are cheap (efficient) do like I did. I took a sheet of wood and drilled 1" holes in it. then on the outer edges, I put 2x4's to raise it off the ground. I put my bottles in here to drip-dry or nearly dry after I wash them. I like to overdo my washing of bottles.
night before: soak in water with bleach (cheap). in the morning I use the brush and dump out the water. then I use the blaster to rinse and put them in the rack to drip. before I bottle, I fill my bottling bucket with Idophor (sanitiser) then I dip my bottles into the bucket and fill them with it. then let them sit a few minutes and dump them out and place in rack. do not rinse. do not rinse. let drip and use when ready.

note: the bottle blaster comes with an extra blasting tip that is larger to use when cleaning a carboy. when drying carboy, place upside down on top of large size coffee can with holes cut in the side for ventilation.
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Old 12-05-2007, 03:37 AM   #6
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Yep all I do is rinse the bottles immediately after emptying, bottling day I soak in oxyclean then Iodophor place on tree let dry and fill.
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Old 12-05-2007, 03:43 AM   #7
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For recycled bottles with unknown degrees of scum, I do oxyclean soak, then scrub/rinse/inspect/scrub/etc with a bottle brush. A little work but I don't worry about them not being clean afterwards.

+1 for rinsing / de-labeling after drinking. Saves time/effort if you do them as you drink them.


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Old 12-05-2007, 04:16 AM   #8
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This summer I bought a homebrewers inventory for his bottles (he was getting out of the hobby)... This weekend, I finally got around to cleaning the bottles.. About 200 or so, maybe 50-100 with some sort of something in the bottom.

I put a 30 gallon rubbermaid container in the tub, added B-Brite, water and the bottles, then soaked them all day. Late that afternoon I pulled the bottles, gave them a quick shake and they were spotless.

Just be careful adding the bottles into the container. I had the ring break off of one in the tub and then cut the crap out of my hand, reaching in blind.
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Old 12-05-2007, 04:50 AM   #9
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Wash them after drinking. Doesn't have to be straight away - couple of hours is okay, or even the night day.
Get a jet washer. Takes seconds. Kids can also help at this stage!

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Old 12-05-2007, 01:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TURBOANSARI
I am still too new at homebrewing to get my beer into a keg
No you're not. Kegging is easier than bottling. Don't let your experience level dictate if you keg or not.

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