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beersy49

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Back to brewing after a 10 year hiatus. My question, is there a quick and dirty way to get the commercial labels off the bottles I plan to bottle with. In the past I would soak them in hot water in the tub and scrub them off. Is there any additive I can add to the hot water to make this process easier? Vinegar? Ammonia? Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
 

smorris

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I have found that ammonia or bleach work pretty well with hot water. Not at the same time of course. :eek:
 

Brewman

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I soak in really hot water with liquid soap for about 15-20 minutes in the sink, peal the lable off and use a stiff brush or scrub pad for the glue....... then brush the inside. Now the bottles have no lables or sludge on the bottom.
 
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beersy49

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Thanks for the ideas. It always has been my least favorite part of brewing...
 

Brewman

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Also....... after you use and drink the beer, rinse it quickly to empty the remaining beer out and save it....... that keeps the mold from gowing and is really easy to clean for the next use.
 

torpshootr

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Add some common household ammonia to water and soak your bottles overnight. In the morning you'll find many of the labels have come off already and the rest come off very easily. Its the best method I've found.
 

Janx

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I would avoid using soap or else rinse the hell out of them. I can't see how soap would help get the glue off, and if any residue remains, you won't be able to retain a head on your beer.

I'd go scrounge up some Corny kegs and then recycle the bottles ;)

Janx
 

arachnyd

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Some of those really hard-to-remove labels respond well to a soaking in a solution of washing soda. You will have to wash the bottles after to get rid of the soda, which does not rinse off easily.
 

schlach

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arachnyd said:
Some of those really hard-to-remove labels respond well to a soaking in a solution of washing soda. You will have to wash the bottles after to get rid of the soda, which does not rinse off easily.
Just washed my first batch of ~50 last night in preparation for my first bottling today. Washing soda + soak for a few hours worked great, even for Sam Adams (~25 of those 50), which I understand are fairly difficult to take off. Most of the other labels just sloughed off in the water. A stiff-wire bottle-brush works great for the glue.

Now, the getting rid of the soda part kinda worries me. I'm planning a trip through the dishwasher with a sanitizing steam bath following that. Anyone have any advice on using the dishwasher for bottles?
 

pilkinga

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I use the dishwasher when sanitizing my bottles. However, first I dunk and shake the bottles around in a sanitizing solution in my bottling bucket, then I put them directly into the dishwasher. Of course don't use any dishwasher soap and run through a normal cycle. It is my belief that the dishwasher gets hot enough to sanitize and kill any unwanted bacteria. When I go to bottle I do it right over the door of the dishwasher, so that any beer that I happen to spill stays right in the door. When it comes time to clean up I just close the dishwasher and all spills dissappear into the dishwasher. I've done it this way since I started and I have yet to have any problems with unsanitized bottles ever.
 

arachnyd

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I use the dishwasher on the "sani heat" setting to sterilize clean bottles - this will not do much for bottles which are not clean except maybe bake on some stuff you should be cleaning out.

I have never had a problem with infection as a result of this practice.
 
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beersy49

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Interesting. I wondered about the dishwasher. I soaked and cleaned the labels off 24 amstels last night with just hot water and a brillo pad. I then ran them through the dishwasher. I am still going to gie them a dunk in One Step before i bottle on Wednesday. I like the idea of bottling right out of the dishwasher based on your success.
 

Roger

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My dishwasher seems to have a max temp wash of 65c is this hot enough to sanitize?
 

pilkinga

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Technically 100 C is boiling and a sustained boil is needed to kill bacterias/germs. I suggest dunking your bottles in a sanitizing agent, then dishwashering or vice-versa.

65 C will not kill any unwanted nasty things by itself and should not be used alone.
 

Roger

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Thanks for that, I usually fill my bottles with chempro or similar until required & then swill them twice with tap water with never a problem, but with this talk of dishwashers thought it may be easier. Back to the sink!
 

schlach

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So what I ended up doing was
  • hour or two soak of bottles in hot water and washing soda the night before bottling
  • easily peel off labels while soaking, scrub any remaining residue with bottle brush
  • soak in bleach for fifteen minutes the morning of
  • rinse a few times and throw em in the dishwasher
  • cook in the dishwasher on antibacterial setting and heated dry
  • bottle directly from dishwasher

The dishwasher option almost seemed like overkill at that point, especially with the 2-hour+ cooking time... but, since it was my first time, I was willing to err a bit on the side of paranoia so as to get a better feel for true tastes in my finished product.

Bottling over the dishwasher was a good idea. I looked at my dad's (a winemaker) bottle-filling gun just before using it (and after soaking in bleach solution) and realized it was completely gunked up, so I bottled with just a tube and my fingers to clamp. The dishwasher door served its purpose.

I'm getting tired of bleach. I want my kitchen smelling like a brewery, not an especially-clean bathroom. If I do Iodophor next time, I'll probably just give em a pull on the bottle-sanitizer the morning of and throw em on the bottle-tree to dry. Still will probably use the dishwasher door to bottle over, just not use the dishwasher to clean the bottles.
 

arachnyd

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as to containing any mess, I keep a pile of clean old towels handy and put them down as a kind of absorbent carpet when doing any transfer.

a bottling suggestion - get a bottling cane. It does a LOT to simplify the process at a very reasonable price.
 
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