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Old 11-14-2008, 03:06 AM   #1
jldc
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This might be better in the Beginners section, but anyway:

I currently have my first beer in primary, so I am a rank beginner, and I'm struggling with trying to figure out how sanitary is good enough. I have read that you should wash sanitizing solution (dilute bleach in my case) out of bottles, tubes, etc with hot tap water. This seems to say that hot tap water is "good enough" to come in contact with my brew. I have also read that you should boil and cool water to place in the carboy to dilute/cool my two gallon wort boil. This seems to say that hot tap water is not "good enough." What gives?

Also, I have heard that baking at 340 degrees for 60 min will sterilize, and I'm tempted to do this with my bottles before bottling. If I bring the bottles up to 340 over 30-45 min, keep them there for an hour and then cool overnight without opening the oven door, will this work to give me good, acceptably sanitized bottles the next day with a low risk of thermal shock/bottle breakage?

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Old 11-14-2008, 03:20 AM   #2
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Sanitation is important, but not super obsessive sanitation. Practice the same procedures you would for safe food handling and you'll be OK. If you are close to a homebrew supply, I'd seriously consider investing in a homebrewing sanitizer like Star San. It's no-rinse and less worry than bleach.
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Old 11-14-2008, 04:18 AM   #3
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Baking the bottles at 340 degrees for 60 minutes would make me a bit nervous. If there are any flaws in the bottles, you could have messy and/or dangerous situation. I've used the rinse and heated dry cycle on the dishwasher (do not add soap) to sanitize bottles. It heats the bottles enough to sanitize, but not to the point where it's dangerous.

In terms of sanitizing, hot water and soap will work for cleaning. You would then need to sanitize also. To be really safe, any water that comes in contact with equipment that will touch your beer post-boil or that will be added to dilute your beer should be boiled. Some people don't boil their diluting water, and they may never have problems. Technically though, it can infect the beer.

If you are using a sanitizer that needs to be rinsed off (e.g. bleach) you do need to use hot water. If you're being super-anal, that could present a risk, since the water isn't boiled. As McKBrew said, a no-rinse sanitizer like Starsan is best, because you don't face that risk.

 
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:24 AM   #4
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you know this can become a really philosophical topic.
The bottom line is that sanitation is a numbers game.
The object of the game is to get your yeast numbers high enough so that it outcompetes all other organisms for food and then after that keep the number of organisms that can actually live in beer (not wort) down to so few that your brew will go off from aging (oxidation etc) before they even get a foothold.

So with that in mind we want to kill as many offensive organisms as possible and not really worry too much about organisms that may be hardy in certain circumstances (C. Botulinum is one of the hardiest organisms on the planet and is used as a benchmark in medical sanitation but it doesn't live worth a damn in beer).

By using a common sense approach that considers the points of maximal probable contamination we can focus our efforts at sanitation to just those areas that require the most attention.

.....rant ends

buy a no rinse sanitizer and wash your bottles in the hot cycle of your dishwasher.

 
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdburg View Post
To be really safe, any water that comes in contact with equipment that will touch your beer post-boil or that will be added to dilute your beer should be boiled. Some people don't boil their diluting water, and they may never have problems. Technically though, it can infect the beer.
+1. Tap water should be boiled. It's not free (enough) of microbes and may not infect you, but may infect the beer. Think about your faucet aerator. That can build up a bio-film over time and grow bacteria and fungi which can end up in your water... again, maybe it won't make you sick, but it might make your beer sick. Using unboiled tap water is like eating at a Buffet restaurant or 24-hour diner... it's a risk.
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:20 PM   #6
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THis thread has some great info on sanitizers on it...http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/sani...uestion-54932/

There's even a link to some uber-gheeky documant of food sanitization...

For example
Quote:
The official definition (Association of Official Analytical Chemists) of sanitizing for food product contact surfaces is a process which reduces the contamination level by 99.999% (5 logs) in 30 sec.

Idophor and Starsan both are FDA approved. They kill just about everything we need to worry about in food handling in less than a minute contact time, depending on the concentration.
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:57 PM   #7
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+1 for star san... It's an excellent sanitizer, it's no rinse, it lasts in storage, and it even acts as a yeast nutrient. I love the stuff!
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:12 PM   #8
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+2 for star san, I only mix up a couple of quarts at a time and even a small bottle lasts a looong time! Don't quote me but I think the req'd contact time is only like 30 seconds. No rinse is the only wat to go IMO.

Beware though, be careful of countertops, if left on formica, the star san will etch a stain!

 
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:44 PM   #9
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Don't forget it's only beer, not surgery. All you are trying to do is tip the odds in your favour of winning the battle.
You'll never kill all the microbastids but if you kill enough the yeasty beasties will win.
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:05 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the helpful replies. I think star san sounds like the way to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by orfy View Post
Don't forget it's only beer, not surgery. All you are trying to do is tip the odds in your favour of winning the battle.
You'll never kill all the microbastids but if you kill enough the yeasty beasties will win.
This may be part of the problem. I am a surgeon, and I think my nature is overkill in the area of sanitation.

 
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