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Old 04-21-2006, 06:49 PM   #1
Chris Sansum
Apr 2006
Posts: 1

I am a complete newcomer to home brewing, and am wondering what the best method of cleaning bottles is? Do you sterilise them in the same way as the rest of the equipment? Also should I buy a specialist bottle cleaning brush?

I could go out and buy a set of empty bottles, but it seems pointless since I have a number of empty bottles which I could use instead; I'm just a bit worried that any residual deposits could affect the ale which I am brewing.

Thanks for any info on this!

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Old 04-21-2006, 07:01 PM   #2
Kevin K
Kevin K's Avatar
Mar 2006
Manitoba, Canada
Posts: 358

Chris, I used a product called diversol that really did a great job of loosening up the mould/gunk that formed at the bottom of my bottles after months and months of sitting in the garage. It's a pink chlorine based cleaner - don't mix it with bleach!

Also, might want to consider getting one of these:

I plan on soaking my cleaned bottles in an Iodaphor solution before bottling as well.

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Old 04-21-2006, 07:02 PM   #3
Blender's Avatar
Jan 2006
Santa Cruz, CA.
Posts: 3,106
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There are a number of cleaners that you could use. I use PBW and soak,run the brush inside and let them drain. The day of bottling I sanitize with iodaphor. A bottle brush is nice to have to remove deposits that may have hardened in the bottle. Don't buy empty bottles instead find a brand of beer that is capable to build up your bottle stock. You could scanvange at a restuarant\bar or check a recycling center as well.

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Old 04-21-2006, 07:09 PM   #4
RichBrewer's Avatar
Feb 2006
Denver, Colorado
Posts: 5,902
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When you start drinking your home brew, rinse out the bottles as soon as you empy them. It makes cleaning them a whole lot easier. Believe me- it is time well spent.

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Old 04-21-2006, 07:17 PM   #5
Jul 2005
Poo-Poo Land
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Originally Posted by RichBrewer
When you start drinking your home brew, rinse out the bottles as soon as you empy them. It makes cleaning them a whole lot easier. Believe me- it is time well spent.
True That! I put my empties by the sink so that I rinse them out within a day or two. Preventative maintanence is a lot better than emergency maintenance!

On bottling day, I fill my bucket up with water and iodaphor and place it on the counter by the sink. I fill my bottles with the Iodaphor water. As I start to run low on water, I dump back in the first couple of bottles I filled, then place them upside down in the dry rack to dry. I've done that several times without incident or contamination.
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Old 04-21-2006, 08:34 PM   #6
Desert_Sky's Avatar
Mar 2006
Sierra Vista, AZ
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Yep. I usually rinse them 3 times with cold tap water. I still let them soak in soapy water and take a bottle brush to them before sanitzing on bottling day anyways. But cleaning after pouring the beer definitely makes a diference.
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Old 04-22-2006, 12:01 PM   #7
boo boo
Jun 2005
Hearts's Delight, Newfoundland
Posts: 4,165
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I rinse my bottles immeadiatly after pouring them and place them in their cartons after giving them a quick shot of starsan. Makes it easy to sanitize come bottling day.
Used bottles given to me under go a overnight soak in bleach after scrubbing them with a bottle brush and a shot of water through a bottle washer like the one Kevin shows above. I then wash them inside and out with HOT water to rinse/deactivate the bleach. Then they are sanitized and placed back into cartons until bottling day.
For the most part my bottling days are over because I keg, but it makes it easier to carry bottles somewhere than a 5 gallon keg.

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Old 04-22-2006, 01:29 PM   #8
Bernie Brewer
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Feb 2006
Eldorado, WI
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I rinse them when drinking, then tip them upside down to dry. that way all that is needed on bottling day is to sanitize. I bought one of those pump thingies (nice technical term, huh?). It's like a bowl with a spout sticking up out of the middle. You put your sanitizer in the bowl, put your bottle on the spout, pump a couple times, and the inside of your bottle is sanitized.
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Old 04-22-2006, 09:39 PM   #9
Mar 2006
SE Vermont, USA
Posts: 66

i rinse them out real well after pouring the beer out (into my belly).

when bottling day arrives, i fill a sink with sanitizer and water, put the bottles in and let them fill up, let them soak for a minute, take them out and then scrub quickly with a bottle brush, fill the bottle up again with sanitizer water solution, dump it out shake and let it dry. fill with tasty homebrew and cap.

no problems so far! using bottles that used to hold commercial brew is fine, as long as they have a pop top and not a screw top.

if you want to get rid of the labels, let the bottles soak in hot water and dish soap for an hour or so. i HATE drinking somebody else's homebrew with some random comercial label on the bottle. get rid of the label, a brown bottle with no label screams HOMEBREW! or make your own label, even better.


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Old 04-29-2006, 02:33 AM   #10
McCall St. Brewer
Sep 2005
West Monroe, Louisiana
Posts: 1,172
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I rinse them out as soon as drink them. Then I run them through the dishwasher with the other dishes, usually the same day.

When I'm going to bottle, I run the dishwasher empty with no detergent. Then I put the bottles in, and run it with no detergent on hi-temp wash and sanitize.

When they're done, they go into a tub of sanitizer and then I put them back into the clean dishwasher rack to drain while I start bottling.

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