bottle sterilization

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Isaac

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Hello all. I will be bottling my beer next week. In preparation for this I began collecting used bottles. Out of concern for cleanliness and sterilization I cleaned them by rinsing and then boiling them in water. Then I was going to run them through the dishwasher and sanitize them on bottling day. Am I going to far with the boiling bit? Can boiling them weaken the glass and cause breakage? Thanks for your input.
 

Andy_LV

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nop, should be fine. since Im bumming bottles from neighbors and gathering them wherever I can, I do some crazy stuff with them too - mostly end up soaking them in bleach to eat out all organics and then going on rinsing frenzy.

One thing that I have found out - check very carefully for sediment in the bottles - peek trough each one, rotate bottles, make sure there is none. if there is slight doubt that it looks like something is still in the bottle and you cant get it out by brushing it/cleaning - save your time and toss the bottle out.

I think even after boiling them, if you end up with some kind of "old beer" stuck in the bottle, that will ruin it.

P.S.
running through heavy dish washing cycle with prolonged heating and without adding the washing agents = sanitizing. just make sure they are rinsed/clean before you do that.
 

cenla

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Hello all. I will be bottling my beer next week. In preparation for this I began collecting used bottles. Out of concern for cleanliness and sterilization I cleaned them by rinsing and then boiling them in water. Then I was going to run them through the dishwasher and sanitize them on bottling day. Am I going to far with the boiling bit? Can boiling them weaken the glass and cause breakage? Thanks for your input.
sounds like you have a good routine. Are you planning on boiling your bottles before every bottling session? If so, that might be excessive and the repetitive heating and cooling could shorten bottle life.

if you make sure to rinse your bottles immediately after you pour the beer out of them then you shouldn't need to boil them again. just sanitize and refill.
 

Andy_LV

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Isaac probably ends up with same problem I have with "bummed" bottles - noone cares to rinse them after drinking, so they are really filthy and man, suff that lives in there sometimes is really horrible! :D
 

WCrane

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Issac - your process seems fine.

here's what I do. and I do the first bits a little at a time.
I rinse bottles right after i pour (Commercial and HB alike). Soak the bottles in an oxyclean solution - helps looses the junk and remove label cleaning (so you can make a collage of labels). Then I drop the bottles in a bucket with water and some bleach to rinse them. I leave them out to dry until I get enough to throw in the diswasher. I can fit about close to eighty. Before runing them in the dishwaser I run a rinse only cycle to rinse out and residue. Then I put the bottles in without dish solution. I run the washer on High Heat and Sani Rinse cycle. I let them dry in the dishwaser until I bottle the next morning. Right before bottling I spray the inside with a no rinse, swirl and dump then dip the top in the no rinse. fill. cap. repeat.

And on Andy's point - I was given bottles and something was growing inside of it.
 

logan3825

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I soak and clean with Oxiclean then rinse them. On bottling day I use a spray bottle of Star San solution to spray the inside of each bottle. Dip the top end in a bucket of Star San solution and put them on the bottle tree until I bottle. If I run into any bottles that require any more work than that I chuck them. I like to keep things as simple as possible.
 

fugazzi

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Hrm, I guess I'm a little lazy with my bottle cleaning. I rinse my bottles after use, then on bottling day I use the bottle attachment to spray them out with hot water, and then squirt them with idophor to sanitize.
 

RugenBrau

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soak mine in oxyclean, scrub them with a bottle brush, use a bottle rinser and then a quick dunk in iodaphor and bottle away!
 

NorCalAngler

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You're using bummed bottles so you have to take extra steps to ensure they're cleaned out. Once you get a healthy number of bottles in rotation it is a lot easier. I only use my own bottles now so I save a ton of effort by giving them a good rinse after I pour. I usually rinse 3 times and then do a quick eye check to make sure the bottom of the bottle is free of sediment. I store them in a cupboard until I get enough to do a batch cleaning. I batch clean my bottles with oxyclean by soaking them for a couple days. Then I rinse them well and put them away in boxes until bottling day. On bottling day I have 100% confidence my bottles are clean and I just give them a shot of StarSan with my vinator and bottle away.
 

Indyking

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I think a lot of people overdo this step. Bottles need to be first cleaned before sanitizing if they have been used before and not promptly rinsed well after use. To clean means to get rid of any sediment that will prevent sanitization inside the bottle. The best way to do that is to use a good bottle brush and lots of water, hot or boiling water is always better to soften and release that sediment easier. Rule of thumb is if the bottle looks nasty inside and the smell reinforces its nastiness, throw that sucker away. Not worth talking the risk IMHO. The second part, sanitization, can be done by several methods, but you don't need to do all them. Just 1 is enough and it means less work and longer life for the bottles. The 2 most poular are:
- Bleach is a powerful and cheap sanitizer... 1 tablespoon per gallon of water per 20 minutes. Make sure you use unscented bleach and rinse it well to avoid the chlorine off taste.
- Dishwasher sanitizing cycle with no dish detergent. You may leave bottles inside the dishwasher to dry after the cycle; however, if you if have hard water in your house, a mineral sediment may stick to bottles inside and it may cause a very mild off taste, just for the most sensitive taster. I should say.
 
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Isaac

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This is great feedback everyone, thank you. In summary, what I am hearing is that the bottles I boiled are likely fine to use but that boiling is not a common technique in use. Sounds to me like making sure the bottles are gunk/sediment free and then using a good sanitizing regiment is paramount. Thanks again. Happy Brewing.
 

rico567

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I have a stock of about 500 bottles, and they were all either bought full of beer or personally well washed. PBW is an excellent product to both clean the bottles the first time and remove the label. Some folks can use Oxi-clean, but with our hard water I have to use PBW or I get a white film on the bottles that must then be removed by an acid (vinegar) wash.
Once the bottles have had the initial good cleaning, I find that sanitizing them using a vinator and Star-San is perfectly adequate when it's time to re-bottle. The vinator is a pump designed to do wine bottles, but it's also a big time-saver when sanitizing bottles for brewing, and well worth the $15 or so it costs.
My final step is to run the bottles through a cycle on the dishwasher with no detergent or (blue stuff), which will raise the temperature of the bottles to 195F or so, and provide even more insurance that the bottles are ready to go.
 
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