Bottle sanitization question

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phatuna

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If you don't own a vinator, what is your bottle sanitization method?

I have only bottled twice and have used this method both times which seemed to work:

1) Oxyclean bath
2) sanitize setting in dishwasher
3) pull bottles from dishwasher, fill with no rinse sanitizer, dump it out
4) fill with beer
5) affix bottle cap

My first beer (a nut brown two weeks bottled) tastes pretty good. My second beer I just bottled the other day so I hope it turns out.

Does anyone see a problem w/ this method or have an easier way to bottle (yah I know kegging is easier :))?

Other than not having a vinator, I follow Revvy's method.
 

double_e5

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Looks good to me.

I used to just mix 2.5 gallons of Star-san in a 5 gallon bucket, dunk the bottles, and go to town. Now I have a vinator.
 

Figbash

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I rinse my bottles well immediately after opening. At bottling time, I give each one a couple squirts of StarSan from a spray bottle and hang them on a bottle tree.

That's it.

Tom
 

McGarnigle

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Did you rinse after Oxyclean-ing? Also, you do both a dishwasher run and a dip into StarSan (or some other santiizer)?
 

viking999

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Yeah, I don't really understand why you're doing the dishwasher and the sanitizer solution. I would personally just use the dishwasher, because submerging the bottles in the sanitizer is a pain. Unfortunately, my dishwasher doesn't have a sanitizer setting and it's just plain too small.

EDIT: Or you could stick the bottles in the oven and sterilize them. I think I might try that sometime in the near future.
 

cmdrico7812

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1. Soak in Oxyclean (to remove labels and gunk. some bottles I get are scavenged and old).
2. Soak in big tub of water with a splash of white vinegar (helps clean off any excess left from the oxyclean if I let them soak in it too long)
3. Run through the dishwasher on a regular cleaning setting with a splash of vinegar during the cleaning cycle (I don't have a dishwasher with sanitize)
4. Soak in idophor for 2 mins.
5. Hand on bottle tree to dry and then bottle the next day after they're dry.

I'm a bit overly cautious when it comes to sanitizing my bottles. I like 'em clean.
 

SumnerH

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pre-bottling day: Soak new commercial bottles in oxiclean to remove labels and clean. Homebrew bottles get rinsed immediately after drinking so can often skip this. Bottle trees are a waste of money, IMO, I just set them (right-side up) on a towel to dry overnight then stash in the closet.

Bottling day:
1. Heat up priming sugar and leave to cool.
2. Mix up a gallon of Star-san in the bottling bucket, dip outside of bottling wand in star-san, attach wand to spigot (and dip-tube if you made one per Revvy's excellent instructions).
3. SWMBO fills bottles 1/4" or so with star-san, passes to me. I put my thumb over the top, shake, and pour back into the bottling bucket, dipping the neck of the bottle (including the top where my thumb touched) in Star-San in the process.
4. Siphon some star-san into a small pan to clean autosiphon + hose, dump the rest (into a bucket to store, usually).
5. Go get priming sugar, pour into bottling bucket.
6. Siphon beer into bottling bucket
7. SWMBO fills bottles, I cap.
 

SumnerH

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1. Soak in Oxyclean (to remove labels and gunk. some bottles I get are scavenged and old).
2. Soak in big tub of water with a splash of white vinegar (helps clean off any excess left from the oxyclean if I let them soak in it too long)
3. Run through the dishwasher on a regular cleaning setting with a splash of vinegar during the cleaning cycle (I don't have a dishwasher with sanitize)
4. Soak in idophor for 2 mins.
5. Hand on bottle tree to dry and then bottle the next day after they're dry.

I'm a bit overly cautious when it comes to sanitizing my bottles. I like 'em clean.
You're less likely to get an infection if you skip #2-#5 and just soak in iodophor/star-san briefly on bottling day and then fill them while still wet. No-rinse cleanser are also meant to be no-dry; once things dry out, they're susceptible again to airborne bugs and the like.

It's not very likely, but if you're being overly cautious it's the way to go.
 
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phatuna

phatuna

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Thanks Sumner, I'm not very confident in my dishwasher - it's old and typically leaves dishes more messy than they were when I put them in (which I think will answer Viking's question regarding why dishwash then starsan).

I think I'll skip the dishwasher going forward.

thanks all!
 

Figbash

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Bottle trees are a waste of money, IMO, I just set them (right-side up) on a towel to dry overnight then stash in the closet.
Not a waste of money at all if space is at a premium. I can drain 90 bottles in the same footprint as a carboy. Also, by keeping the bottles upside down there is less chance of a wild yeast settling into your bottles.

Tom
 

double_e5

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Not a waste of money at all if space is at a premium. I can drain 90 bottles in the same footprint as a carboy. Also, by keeping the bottles upside down there is less chance of a wild yeast settling into your bottles.

Tom
Exactly. If your bottle tree is clean and sanitized, nothing nasty is going to make its way in there. I, however, don't let my bottles dry before filling them. Just a couple squirts from a vinator and onto the tree and then bottle when they are all sanitized.
 

SumnerH

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Not a waste of money at all if space is at a premium. I can drain 90 bottles in the same footprint as a carboy.
That's true, though I only do 5 gallon batches so I never need more than 50 at a time (or the floor space of 8 six-packs). Less, usually, since I have many bigger-than-12oz bottles.

But, yes, if you're doing more bottles at a time than that's a reason for a tree. Also, if you don't want to put dry bottles into 6-pack holders then you could store on the tree in the closet for a long time, until bottling day.

My regime for cleaning is:
1. Fill tub with a few inches of _hot_ water
2. Fill bottles with hot water from the spout and lay in tub (faster than holding them underwater to glug full, IME).
3. sprinkle in 4 scoops of oxiclean, run some more hot water on top to mix and give a bitter heat sink.
4. Wait 4 hours
5. Scoop labels out of water.
6. With each bottle, rub the outside with my hands to eliminate any residual glue/label bits, pour into tub. rinse a couple of times, pour out and set down on the bathmat
7. When that's done, carry the bottles to wherever I'm drying them and set on a towel overnight.
8. The next morning, put them all in 6-pack containers (or whatever is appropriate for the bottle size) and place in the closet.

There they sit until bottling day, when they'll be rinsed and sanitized.

Also, by keeping the bottles upside down there is less chance of a wild yeast settling into your bottles.
OTOH, by touching something else, there's the risk of an infection on that surface. I'd rather leave my bottles wet with sanitizer and not in touch with anything else once it gets to sanitizing time--the layer of sanitizer should deal with a floating yeastie.
 

SnickASaurusRex

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If the bottle is wet with sanitizer then the surface that it touches will become sanitized. Or just spritz the bottle tree down with some star san in a spray bottle.
 

HoppyDaze

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If you don't own a vinator, what is your bottle sanitization method?

I have only bottled twice and have used this method both times which seemed to work:

1) Oxyclean bath
2) sanitize setting in dishwasher
3) pull bottles from dishwasher, fill with no rinse sanitizer, dump it out
4) fill with beer
5) affix bottle cap

My first beer (a nut brown two weeks bottled) tastes pretty good. My second beer I just bottled the other day so I hope it turns out.

Does anyone see a problem w/ this method or have an easier way to bottle (yah I know kegging is easier :))?

Other than not having a vinator, I follow Revvy's method.
looks to me like you can completely eliminate step 2. why sanatize in the dishwasher if you are going to soak them with a no rinse solution right at bottling?
 

HSM

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Assuming your bottle was rinsed clean after the prior beer:

Place bottle in dishwasher.

Place 1 tbs of bleach in dishwasher

Run full cycle with a "HEAT" dry.

Bottle directly from dishwasher.

That's it. Don't make it harder that it has to be.
 

SumnerH

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Assuming your bottle was rinsed clean after the prior beer:

Place bottle in dishwasher.

Place 1 tbs of bleach in dishwasher

Run full cycle with a "HEAT" dry.

Bottle directly from dishwasher.

That's it. Don't make it harder that it has to be.
I've done that once, but it's more time consuming IMO than just sanitizing the bottles with star-san. YMMV, if you find it faster/easier and your dishwasher has a heated sanitize cycle then go for it.

Just make sure nobody in the household uses Jet Dry or any of those other post-wash things (you put like 30 loads worth into the dishwasher at once); they'll kill the head on your beer.
 

VApatriot

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Alright, noob question here, I work in the automotive industry and know more acronyms than I can shake a stick at, but what on earth does "SWMBO" stand for?

I am also a novice/beginner at homebrewing. Made my first extract batch which is in my 5 gal secondary right now, I want to thank everyone on who may have posted in the past the advice of using Oxyclean for removing labels and an initial cleaning of old bottles. I soaked them in the tub with 2 scoops of oxy and hot water, most of the labels flaoted off, a quick scrub with a green scrubby pad, a through rinse and they're spotless! I plan on bottling on Friday or Saturday this week. I plan on rinsing them out with star-san mix but I'm thinking I should rinse after that with tap h2o right before I bottle. What do y'all think about the last h2o rinse idea right before filling?
 

double_e5

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Alright, noob question here, I work in the automotive industry and know more acronyms than I can shake a stick at, but what on earth does "SWMBO" stand for?
I hope you understand what you just did by asking this question.

To answer your second question. DO NOT rinse your bottles after using Star-san. It is a wet contact sanitizer. Rinsing it defeats it's purpose. Don't fear the foam!
 

llazy_llama

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Alright, noob question here, I work in the automotive industry and know more acronyms than I can shake a stick at, but what on earth does "SWMBO" stand for?
SWMBO stands for Someone Who Must Learn How to Use the Search Feature.




With ~$20 worth of equipment, here's my bottle sanitation regime.

1: Rinse with hot water immediately after drinking.
2: On bottling day, hit all bottles with Jet Bottle Washer.
3: Spray all bottles with Vinator and hang to dry in dishwasher (which has been sprayed down with Star San).
4:profit.
 

Budzu

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Here's my recently used method of sanitizing bottles with starsan QUICKLY:


Two 5 gallon plastic buckets, one full of star san solution

One plastic colander, just the right size to fit down into a bucket

Arrange 14 upright bottles inside the empty 5 gallon bucket, place the colander upside-down atop the bottles in the bucket.

While holding down the colander and keeping the bottles deep in the bucket, pour the 5 gallons of star san on top, holding the colander down until all bottles fill up.

Once again holding the colander in place with one hand, pick up the newly filled bucket of bottles and star san, and empty it of star san into the now-empty bucket, while keeping the bottles inside with the colander.

Voila! 14 bottles sanitized in less than 60 seconds. I place my sanitized bottles upside-down on a dish rack of my dishwasher to drip-dry.

This method takes much much less time than dunking bottles by hand.

Cheers!
 

SumnerH

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Definitely don't rinse with tap water after Star-San. The tap water hasn't been sanitized, for one thing--you'd be undoing your sanitation. You want the bottles damp with Star-San right up until bottling, to shield against anything floating in the air, for another. The phosphoric acid in Star-San decays into good yeast food in the bottle, for a third.
 

VApatriot

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llazy_llama - I didn't have time to do a thorough search, I guess that's what I get for posting from work. And yes, she definitely must be obeyed....ugh!

everyone else - thanks a bunch for all the useful tips, I will defintely keep your suggestions in mind when I bottle this stuff. As this is my first batch, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for a month and will report back on how it turned out.

SumnerH - that's pretty cool, I had no idea that the Star-San decays into yeast food.
 

Dave R

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Rinse well immediately after emptying, then a spritz of StarSan just before bottling. Good to go.
 

Powchekny

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Here's my favored method of sanitizing bottles. Whenever I post it, it seems to be ignored for some reason, but it works very well.

I simply cook 55 or so clean and dry bottles in an oven at 400 degrees for one hour, with the opening of each bottle covered with a tight fitting aluminum foil cap.

Then I let them cool slowly in the oven, so as to avoid cracking them. This can take a couple hours.

The nice part of this method is that bottles prepared this way *stay* sanitized until you remove the foil. No bottle trees, sanitizer, or dishwasher required. I've never had a problem.

There may even be an energy savings over running them through the dishwasher.
 
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