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Old 01-22-2009, 10:01 PM   #1
Jan 2009
Posts: 100

Is it ok to clean commercial beer bottles and use them for your own use?

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Old 01-22-2009, 10:08 PM   #2
Jan 2008
Haymarket VA
Posts: 1,172
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

i do. as do most people on the board (who dont keg)

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Old 01-22-2009, 10:18 PM   #3
Jan 2009
Northern California
Posts: 128
Liked 9 Times on 2 Posts

Anyone have a good way of cleaning used commercial bottles?
Primary 1:Waiting for Irish Red Ale
Primary 2: Waiting for DBA Clone
Kegged:Blackberry Wheat (3)
Planning: Firestone DBA (2), Irish Red Ale
Favorites: Black Dog Blackberry Wheat Ale(3),Hush Puppy Cream Ale, Firestone DBA Clone, Coffee and Cream Stout

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Old 01-22-2009, 10:19 PM   #4
Edcculus's Avatar
Jun 2007
Greenville, SC
Posts: 4,546
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Yes. I would never even consider buying empty bottles! If you buy bottles, you might as well buy them with beer in them. Just make sure you rinse them out before you store them. Also, you have to use pop-top style. Twist off won't work well.

Anyone have a good way of cleaning used commercial bottles?

-Rinse the bottle when you are done with it
-on bottling day
-wash all bottles with hot water and a bottle brush if you suspect the bottle is DIRTY
-mix up a solution of starsan or your favorite sanitizer. Sanitize the bottles by dunking them in and swishing sanitizer around then draining.
-I like to use my dishwaser rack to dry the bottles. Spray down the rack with sanitizer and fill the rack with sanitized bottles.
-If using starsan, don't let the bottles dry. Starsan is a WET sanitizer. It will only work when the bottle or object to be sanitized is WET!
-If I know my bottles are CLEAN (no mold or crud in the bottom) I put them in the dishwaser on heated dry. Instant sanitation.

Some people like to remove the labels. I'm usually too lazy. If you want to, soaking in a weak starsan solution will get the label right off.

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Old 01-22-2009, 10:25 PM   #5
Runyanka's Avatar
Dec 2008
Providence Village, Texas
Posts: 1,536
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After drinking, I rinse with cold water from the sink, set aside till I'm done drinking (or asleep). Throw them in the dish washer with the next load and store them until the next use. You will want to wash and sanitize again before bottling again.
Diverse Haus Brewery

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Old 01-22-2009, 10:38 PM   #6
NJTomatoguy's Avatar
Jun 2008
Maple Shade NJ
Posts: 706
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I drink, then put them in the sink with oxyclean-dollar tree version works ok too-
then peel the labels, rinse well, sanitize any your all set.

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Old 01-22-2009, 10:44 PM   #7
ChickenSoop's Avatar
Dec 2008
Posts: 190
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I bought my bottles - one-liter man sized PET bottles, with screw on caps.

No point playing around with a bottler and 1/3 of the work when bottling.

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Old 01-22-2009, 11:03 PM   #8
Why that human mask?
pompeiisneaks's Avatar
Jan 2009
Redmond, WA
Posts: 852
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and you can actually keep them pressurized and not have them explode in the plastic? wow? I figured they'd just explode.
Fermenting/Kegged/Bottled NONE :( I moved to the NW and haven't had time to setup my brew rig since! (but hey, I'm in the Pacific NW so there's so much awesome beer I don't need to brew it as much hah!

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Old 01-22-2009, 11:51 PM   #9
jmiracle's Avatar
Oct 2007
Lansing, MI
Posts: 217

Cleaning bottles...yeah I know its a chore but for me its part of the whole brew experience, and not to sound like a hippie but I like taking something that would otherwise go to waste (at least some of them, I know some get recycled) and using it.

I'll second or third the OxyClean soak, it removes labels really well too, although sometimes you have to physically remove little label bits/glue that stay on the bottle after the soak. Just make sure you rinse thoroughly and a bottle tree is not a bad investment for drying them. Also try to split up your bottle washing chores over a few days rather than power through cleaning and removing the labels from 60 bottles at once.
Primary: Hefe
Primary 2: Air
Secondary: Air
Bottled & carbing: Nothin
drinking: Poet on Payday Wee Heavy
gone but not forgotten: Wilford (Oatmeal Stout) Samhain Surprise Porter, J's Mirac-Ale (Brown Ale), Altered Beast Ale (German Alt), Chucks Not Ballys Cali Common, S'Wheat (Honey Weizen), NIHs (Numerous Identical Hefes), Wittler Farms Maple Brown, Failed Experimental Yarrow Beer, O'Mega Red (Irish Red)

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Old 01-23-2009, 03:54 PM   #10
fratermus's Avatar
Feb 2008
Posts: 1,188
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Originally Posted by pompeiisneaks View Post
and you can actually keep them pressurized and not have them explode in the plastic? wow? I figured they'd just explode.

Soda is more highly carbed than beer. I don't have the exact number but it's something high like 3.5-4vols.

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