Clean Bottles

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daz haz

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Ive always used plastic PET bottles but im bottiling a brew with all coopers longneck bottles, what is the best method of cleaning/soaking/sanitising.

ive never had issues with bottles getting infected but my last brew turned bad half the bottles are infected and half are not so im assuming its because of the way i clean my bottles
 

D.B.Moody

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Welcome to HBT.
@Jag75 has given you a best method answer. I'm going to give you a "good enough" answer, but first I have to say that your post implies that you've been bottling for some time without a problem. That implies that your usual cleaning method worked just fine until that last batch. So I think the problem was something unusual in the cleaning or filling or capping the last time around.
I've been bottling since 1994. I use glass longnecks. I don't use cleaners or sanitizers. I rinse bottles to remove sediment and run them through the dishwasher and store them for next use. I've never had an infected bottle. It's been "good enough."
Since you've experienced a problem, you'll probably want to be less casual than me, but didn't your bottle cleaning routine work for some time?
Good luck. :mug:
 

hotbeer

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Boil PET bottles? Maybe the one I boiled wasn't really PET. Whatever it was it shrunk to about half it's size.

Otherwise I'd think pretty much the same cleaning and sanitation you do for glass bottles. Though you need to pay attention to that screw on cap and what might be under any seal in it.

The first place to start is to always rinse out the bottle well immediately after it's emptied of it's previous contents. I know that is sometimes hard. Just last knight I was annoyed that I was spending an extra minute rinsing out a bottle to get the yeast out of it instead of sipping on the brew I just poured. But that's the price you have to pay for brewing your own.

Maybe like boats, it's better to have a good friend that owns a boat and also a friend that brews. Then they'll have to worry about cleaning the bottles.

Of course there is also kegging. But when a teen I worked at the famous hamburger place with the big yellow arcs. I use to have to clean the K-way system for the soft drinks which used the same kegs that keggers want today. I didn't enjoy cleaning the k-way system. I'd much rather clean bottles.

Though I know people use them, I just have a mental block about beer in plastic bottles. No fears.... just doesn't seem right. Beer should be in aluminum cans or glass bottles. That's just the way it is.... right? :thumbsup:
 
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MaxStout

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Thoroughly rinse the bottles with PBW or a solution of scent-free Oxiclean, rinse well, invert and allow to drip-dry overnight.

On bottling day, dunk them in a bucket of Starsan, drain and fill with beer.

You might want to think about getting new caps each time. Those gaskets inside are a great place for germs to hide and reused caps sometimes leak.
 

Nate R

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For thoose on a budget... what does Joy of Homebrewing reccomend for a bleach based sanitizer? Like a teaspon in a gallon of water?
Ive never done it, but it is an inexpenaove way to get a sanitizer.
 
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I am in the same boat with @D.B.Moody I rinse well after pouring my brew and then store them upside down in it's box until bottling day, then they all go into the dishwasher. It hasn't failed me yet *knocks on wood* Since you've had a partial infection, you'll want to rework your bottling process just to get back to normal. Caps are cheap, always get new caps.
 

D.B.Moody

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I am in the same boat with @D.B.Moody I rinse well after pouring my brew and then store them upside down in it's box until bottling day, then they all go into the dishwasher.
Actually mine go into the dishwasher as they're used, with the regular dishes. Then they're stored, right side up, mostly in beer cases with folding tops but not 100%. I used to rinse them the night before I bottled to get rid of possible dust, but since I moved my bottling to the basement last year, I've even quit that. For your enjoyment, a look at my bottle storage, fermentation, bottling, and conditioning room set up for bottling the beer in the carboy under the grocery bag. From front to back: empties, bottled beer, primary fermenter, secondary fermenter (the carboy in a bag), and the bottling area.


Untitled.png

As you can see, the conditions that are good for beer are also good for storing lumber, paint, tools, etc., etc. :p
 
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ckil

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After I pour I rinse them with hot water thoroughly immediately.

On bottling day


1. PBW Soak for an hour
2. Run light cycle in dishwasher with no detergent. I also rub a cycle before the bottles with the dishwasher totally empty to remove any food gunk.
3. During bottling I dunk them in starsan and let them sit upside down while I work
 
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daz haz

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I always rinse my plastic bottles with hot water a few times after opening same with glass long necks, but glass I fill them up with boiling water and let sit for for a few minutes then rinse and store.

I'm moving away from plastic because the bottles always seem to still smell where as glass never has an odour after a boiling rinse
 

nwmalthead22

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I use glass bottles (12 & 16oz). I rinse bottles as they empty with hot water and store in a cupboard.
Day of bottling, I fill with iodophor solution and drain. Bottles sit upside in dishwasher racks while I set up. I also bottle in my kitchen so I'm able to just grab them from dish rack and fill!
 

madscientist451

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All the above plus it's important to actually look inside each bottle to make sure there isn't anything stuck in the bottom. If its not clean, you can't sanitize it. I hold each bottle up so the bottom points at a bright light. If the bottle isn't clean I add some PBW and let it soak overnight,, if the crud is difficult to get out I recycle the bottle. At bottling time I immerse the bottles in Star San solution dump out just before adding the beer. Don't forget to immerse your capes in star san as well.
 

A1sportsdad

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I soak my bottles in an Oxiclean (fragrance free) solution. Start out hot. I let mine soak overnight because I am normally using it to de-label them as well. Next day I de-label and rinse well. On bottling say I give them all a 20 minute soak in Starsan. Good to go.
 

Eddy Monsoon

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For thoose on a budget... what does Joy of Homebrewing reccomend for a bleach based sanitizer? Like a teaspon in a gallon of water?
Ive never done it, but it is an inexpenaove way to get a sanitizer.

Starsan is cheap as
 

z-bob

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Your infections were in plastic bottles or glass? When I have crud in the bottom of plastic bottles that won't rinse out, I pour a little bleach in one and maybe a little cool water (it's still pretty strong bleach), and I swish it around. Let it sit for a few seconds then pour it from that bottle into the next, etc. When they are all done I rinse with a bottle washer and it all comes out.

For glass bottles if all else fails you can use warm sulfuric acid (acid heavy-duty drain cleaner.) I've never had to do that with bottles but I have with Erlenmeyer flasks and it makes them look new again. Don't get concentrated sulfuric acid on PET plastic; it's not dramatic but it does ruin them (don't ask)
 

pc_trott

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I use madscientist451's method, but I start by triple-rinsing my empties with hot water (one of the first tips I picked up after joining this board). They've always cleaned up nicely and been ready for the next brew. I brewed a batch recently that left a slight film on the bottom of each bottle, even after the triple rinse. So as I emptied the bottles, I filled them halfway with hot water, dropped in ~1/8th tsp of PBW, shook them up well, and let them sit overnight. That cleaned them up nicely. So far, never an infection. (Knock on wood.)
 

ckil

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I wouldn’t recommend the dishwasher. Somtimes they leave crud in some of the bottles.
This is true. That is why I always run a light cycle without detergent to clear any gunk out from the previous night before I run my bottles (also no detergent)

The heated dry really can't be beat.
 

deuc224

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I just use the Marks keg washer with the bottle washer attachment, woks very well.
 
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daz haz

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Is rinsing glass bottles with boiling water good enough? I rinse with hot water after use then boiling water in bottles and let them sit I haven't used any chemicals
 

kartracer2

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As far as PET bottles, I have reused soda bottles for some time on every batch. I like the idea of the squeeze test for carb progress. One thing I have noticed is the cap has changed in the bottles I use. They have changed from having a gasket in them to just a taper ring that wedges in to the bottle top when tightening. I will add that I have no qualms with tossing a PET bottle if it fails a fill and carbing or needs a scrubbing. YMMV.
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
 

DarrellQ

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Pour, rinse with hot water, store on a bottle tree to dry. Bottling day- rinse again with hot water (in case bug crawled up in there), star-san, and bottle. Just that simple, never a problem.
 

tld6008

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If I rinse the bottle out right after pouring I have never had debris in the bottom. I use swing tops so they are stored with the cap sitting on top not locked down. Bottling day a quick look inside then a few ounces of starsan swished around and the end/cap dipped into it. I pour the starsan from bottle to bottle using a funnel.
 

thomer

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Being inherently lazy, I wash my bottles out with hot water immediately after use, looking inside to make sure all the crud is gone. Then put them in the dishware (no detergent). I then store them upside down. On bottling day I put the bottles in the oven to sanitize them (as recommended by John Palmer). Put the bottles into the cold oven, switch the oven to 350 (preventing thermal shock). When temp is reached, cook for 60 mins. Turn the oven off and let the bottles cool naturally. It really is a no mess (lazy) method.
 

ncbrewer

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I haven't had any infections due to bottle sanitation, but I noticed a slight film developing when I was using an OxiClean soak for cleaning. A bottle brush cleaned off the film, but it didn't touch the entire surface - left some streaks of film. I figured it would eventually cause a problem. According to Papazian's Complete Joy of Home Brewing, bleach is a good cleaner for glass. My process now is to rinse the bottles immediately after pouring and let them stand, full of water. Then when finished drinking, mix up 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of bleach for every 12 oz bottle. (I don't use bleach that is over 6 months old.) Pour it into the bottles and let them soak overnight. Rinse well the next morning with hot water. This completely eliminates the film.
 

Rish

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For my glass bottles, I rinse well when I empty then put on a dish rack to dry. I then seal the top tightly with a 2 inch square piece of aluminum foil and put in a 6 pack holder. Once I have enough to bottle a 5 gallon batch I put them in a cold oven, heat to 180*F, hold for 15 minutes, turn off the oven and leave them to cool (don't open the oven door!), usually over night. I then store them until I'm ready to bottle. They'll stay sanitized as long as the foil stays in place. Saves a lot of time on bottling day!
 
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BrewZer

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For thoose on a budget... what does Joy of Homebrewing reccomend for a bleach based sanitizer? Like a teaspon in a gallon of water?
Ive never done it, but it is an inexpenaove way to get a sanitizer.

I use the "gurgle" method.

Three large gurgles to one 15-gallon utility tub of water.

I thoroughly immerse all the bottles open end up and let sit for an hour or two -- or even overnight. Then I use a rinser like @MaxStout showed with hot water and I haven't had an issue with infections or gushers.
 

dwhite60

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I rinse well after decanting and store them away.

I sanitize in lots over a few days before bottling. I fill them with a One-Step solution and let them sit five to ten minutes. I dump the solution and place a sanitized cap on the bottle without crimping.

One-Step cleans and sanitizes. I really don't care about people saying One-Step isn't a sanitizer. It's worked for me for years.
 

KyBeer

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I built a bottle / Keg / Carboy washer. I hated washing bottles so much I went to kegs. I hated cleaning those and the carboys as well!
After 30 years of homebrewing I've had two infections in my beer. On year three or four I made a beer that tasted like broccoli-licorice. Too many brews while I brewed or bottled and had never used sanatizer. I have since then. The second time was when I was keging. Daisy chained my kegs (5). Hot PBW to air to Starsan to rinse to CO2. Some how mixed a dirty keg in the rinse cycle. Lost 3 kegs of beer.
I blame the Imperial IPAs I was drinking. Not my fault!
Clean then sanatize. You work very hard to make good beer so don't be lazy when you package it.
 

Bill9000

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Here's my method (8 batches under my belt with no contamination issues -
  • Rinse out used bottles with hot water a few times when they are emptied and wash in dishwasher with other dishes. Store bought bottles get an oxyclean soak.
  • Store in finished basement (some are in closed boxes but some sit out in the open - looking to keep them all covered)
  • The night before bottling, run all the bottles in the dishwasher on sanitizing setting - no dish detergent
  • Soak them in Starsan for a minute or two during bottling setup - I use a large flat plastic container that can soak a dozen or more bottles at a time
  • Store sanitized bottles in dishwasher facing down (racks sprayed with Starsan solution)
I always wonder if the dishwasher water is able to fully reach the bottle bottoms, but until I have a problem, I'm not going to change my procedure
 

ncbrewer

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I always wonder if the dishwasher water is able to fully reach the bottle bottoms, but until I have a problem, I'm not going to change my procedure
I haven't tried using the dishwasher, but BYO had this to say: "The heated rinse cycle of a home dishwasher is great for sanitizing bottles, but keep two things in mind. First, the bottles still need to be clean prior to being placed in the dishwasher; any deposits inside the bottles will not be removed by the water spray. Second, be sure to run at least one cycle of water only (no soap) in the dishwasher prior to placing your bottles in."

Edit: This was from http://byo.com/stories/article/indices/19-brewing-tips/52-24-brewing-tips-and-rules-of-thumb - but the link no longer works. It was from March 1998.
 

z-bob

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I haven't tried using the dishwasher, but BYO had this to say: "The heated rinse cycle of a home dishwasher is great for sanitizing bottles, but keep two things in mind. First, the bottles still need to be clean prior to being placed in the dishwasher; any deposits inside the bottles will not be removed by the water spray. Second, be sure to run at least one cycle of water only (no soap) in the dishwasher prior to placing your bottles in."

Edit: This was from http://byo.com/stories/article/indices/19-brewing-tips/52-24-brewing-tips-and-rules-of-thumb - but the link no longer works. It was from March 1998.
Brew Your Own: The How-To Homebrew Beer Magazine - Story Index - Brewing Tips - 24 Brewing Tips and Rules of Thumb (archive.org) :)
 

d40dave

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I use a cordless drill with a bottle brush to clean the bottle after use. I then rinse the bottle and inspect. Sometimes there is some trub/gunk near the top of the neck (beerline). I use a small brush to get rid of that. I store the bottles upside down. I just sanitize on bottle on bottling day. I have been doing it this way for about a year and it's been working out well for me. When I first started doing this I would go through bottle brushes quite often. Some brushes are not as good as others. Some deform very quickly. The ones I got from BrewHardware are lasting a long time and do a good job too.
 

Rish

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I currently rinse my bottles in hot water, cover with aluminum foil, then sanitize in 6 pack holders in a 180*F oven. I'm wondering (lazy) if I could skip the foil and just invert the bottles in the holder, then leave them like that until time to use. Any thoughts about what problems I might have?
 
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