Cleaning bottles

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BugDude

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Ok. So it's about time to bottle my first brew. So far things seem to have gone well (fingers crossed)

I read my "how to brew by Palmer" and a couple web sites on how to do it. Seemed pretty simple but like the novice I am I continued to read more sites and threads and now I'm absorbed too much info.

So my question is this. I'm going to describe how I plan on cleaning my bottles and I just want to know if it will be good enough.

What I have is a case of fresh 24 oz bottles from my local home brew store. I also have a collection of used bottles that I drank. Of course they were not rinsed after I drank them.


I'm going to fill a 5 gal bucket with very hot water and pbw. I'll place the bottles in the water and let them soak for about an hour. After that hour I will scrape off the labels and take a bottle brush to the insides and rinse them out in the pbw bucket.

Then I'm going to take the bottle and put it in my sink with a starsan solution and let it soak while I repeat the process with the rest of the bottles.

Once they're all in the starsan sink I will pull them out. Empty them and place them in my dishwasher and run it on the sanatize setting. Then hopefully they should be ready for bottling.


It might be overkill but I want to make sure I don't ruin everything in my final step.


So. Would that be sufficient to ensure everything is clean and sanatizer and ready to go?
 

estricklin

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Make sure the bottles that you didn't rinse don't have mold specs in the bottom, I've seen this happen quite often with bottles that weren't rinsed immediately after drinking.

Putting in the dishwasher after sanitizing, is up to your discretion, but totally unnecessary.
 

flars

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Ok. So it's about time to bottle my first brew. So far things seem to have gone well (fingers crossed)

I read my "how to brew by Palmer" and a couple web sites on how to do it. Seemed pretty simple but like the novice I am I continued to read more sites and threads and now I'm absorbed too much info.

So my question is this. I'm going to describe how I plan on cleaning my bottles and I just want to know if it will be good enough.

What I have is a case of fresh 24 oz bottles from my local home brew store. I also have a collection of used bottles that I drank. Of course they were not rinsed after I drank them.


I'm going to fill a 5 gal bucket with very hot water and pbw. I'll place the bottles in the water and let them soak for about an hour. After that hour I will scrape off the labels and take a bottle brush to the insides and rinse them out in the pbw bucket.
PBW soak is good. This will loosen the labels and gunk inside. Rinse thoroughly with water. PBW is not a no rinse cleanser. Bottle brush with an electric drill works well. Battery powered drill is best to avoid accidental electrocution.

Then I'm going to take the bottle and put it in my sink with a starsan solution and let it soak while I repeat the process with the rest of the bottles.

Starsan solution is a no rinse sanitizer. It is only effective when the bottle is wet. You could pour a couple of tablespoons in each bottle and shake or use a spray bottle to spray the inside. Tip upside down to drain back into your bucket of Starsan solution. Start bottling.

Once they're all in the starsan sink I will pull them out. Empty them and place them in my dishwasher and run it on the sanatize setting. Then hopefully they should be ready for bottling.
This will remove the Starsan and your bottles will no longer be sanitized.


It might be overkill but I want to make sure I don't ruin everything in my final step.


So. Would that be sufficient to ensure everything is clean and sanatizer and ready to go?
Starsan solution can be stored in plastic jugs and reused as long as no dirt is in the solution. When the pH excedes 3.2 it is no longer effective.
 

DeBAD

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You got it. Yes I'd definitely do the dishwasher. Like you said might be overkill but if anything I'd skip the StarSan step.
 

tooblue02

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I usually rinse my bottles after drinking then let them dry and when I am ready to bottle I rinse them again with super hot water from the tap, let them dry then use a bucket with star san and submerge the bottles until they are full and then carefully dump them out and let them dry while the sugar water mixture cools. Worked every time so far. Plus the hot water rinse/soak makes removing the labels a snap.
 

boscobeans

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Make sure the bottles that you didn't rinse don't have mold specs in the bottom, I've seen this happen quite often with bottles that weren't rinsed immediately after drinking.

Putting in the dishwasher after sanitizing, is up to your discretion, but totally unnecessary.
Good post..
It only take a second to look inside each bottle. Even store bought bottles could have creepy crawly web in the corner somewhere.

The final step before bottling is always (at least for me) the StarSan spray and I bottle while the insides are still wet with StarSan.

OMO

bosco
 

RM-MN

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I usually rinse my bottles after drinking then let them dry and when I am ready to bottle I rinse them again with super hot water from the tap, let them dry then use a bucket with star san and submerge the bottles until they are full and then carefully dump them out and let them dry while the sugar water mixture cools. Worked every time so far. Plus the hot water rinse/soak makes removing the labels a snap.
Starsan is a wet contact sanitizer. Once it dries it is no longer effective as a sanitizer. You should be filling the bottles while they are still wet. That's easier if you don't wait for the sugar solution to cool. I dump the sugar solution into the bottling bucket shortly after I start siphoning the beer and the sugar solution is still near boiling.
 

kenpotf

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When I bottled, I'd do it the opposite direction. I always ran through the dishwasher and then ran everything through a vinerator and bottled. I put starsan in the vinerator.
 

freisste

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...I dump the sugar solution into the bottling bucket shortly after I start siphoning the beer and the sugar solution is still near boiling.

Same here. Likely kills the first few yeast cells to hit the hot water, but I've certainly never had a carbonation problem.


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rocketsan

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+1 for a vinerator, that, along with auto siphon, are the two best purchases I have made.


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unionrdr

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I soak the bottles to be cleaned & delabeled in PBW for an hour to overnight,depending on the glue used. Then scrube inside with a bottle brush. Then outside to get the remaining label gunk off with a Dobie scrubber.
Rinse well with water & onto the bottle tree to dry before storage in covered beer 12'r boxes & case boxes. I have a vinator on top of my bottle tree that I fill about half way with Starsan. A few pumps per bottle,fill tree & start bottling. And use a bottling wand. Fill to the top of the lip,pull up on wand to close the little pin valve at the bottom. Remove bottling wand. you now have the perfect head space for that bottle by way of volume displacement.
 

fartinmartin

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I don't like all the label crap getting inside the bottles so I avoid it where I can, get the labels off, then pBw soak, bottles brush, rinse out, then star span spray then bottle . Don't do the dishwasher, the won't be sanitised after that.
 

boscobeans

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I soak the bottles to be cleaned & delabeled in PBW for an hour to overnight,depending on the glue used. Then scrube inside with a bottle brush. Then outside to get the remaining label gunk off with a Dobie scrubber.
Rinse well with water & onto the bottle tree to dry before storage in covered beer 12'r boxes & case boxes. I have a vinator on top of my bottle tree that a fill about half way with Starsan. A few pumps per bottle,fill tree & start bottling. And use a bottling wand. Fill to the top of the lip,pull up on wand to close the little pin valve at the bottom. Remove bottling wand. you now have the perfect head space for that bottle by way of volume displacement.
Since I don't use any bottles that weren't in my pipeline and I rinse each very carefully once I pour I don't do the PBW. If I do need to use bottles not from the pipeline I would do the same as Unionrdr.

Once I rinse my bottles after the pour I let them drain on my tree and there they sit until the next bottling session.

A quick peek in each (only takes a second) then a few pumps on the vinator and right to the bottling wand while still foamy on the inside.

bosco
 

kh54s10

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If anything I would reverse your steps and use the dishwasher THEN sanitize with Starsan.

Wash and get the labels off, then PBW, rinse well, dip is Starsan (or as mentioned get a vinator), drain and fill. Skip the dishwasher. ESPECIALLY if it has any rinse agent in it. That leaves a film on the glassware so they won't spot. It also kills the head on your beer.
 

Hello

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I only skimmed the thread but consider using Oxyclean to soak bottles in the future. I use barely any on a 5 gallon bucket and rinse very very well afterward. Oxyclean will last you a long time and it is cheaper than PBW. I leave PBW for carboys, buckets, kettles and eventually kegs.
 

RM-MN

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Make sure the bottles that you didn't rinse don't have mold specs in the bottom, I've seen this happen quite often with bottles that weren't rinsed immediately after drinking.

Putting in the dishwasher after sanitizing, is up to your discretion, but totally unnecessary.
I've gotten bottles with yeast stuck to the bottom and couldn't get all of it out. Ones that I bottled with that became bottle bombs because of the bacteria that was inside the yeast gunk and couldn't be killed with starsan. I've learned to throw those bottles away and go to my LHBS. Did you know that they have bottles in nice carrying boxes with dividers and the bottles don't even have any labels to remove nor yeast gunk stuck to the bottom and the'll let me have them for $0.50 per bottle? These bottles are nice and thick so they don't break when I cap them and they are not the twist off type either. WOW, buy them once, use them forever. Pretty cheap per filling as long as I rinse them when they get emptied.:fro:
 

kh54s10

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I only skimmed the thread but consider using Oxyclean to soak bottles in the future. I use barely any on a 5 gallon bucket and rinse very very well afterward. Oxyclean will last you a long time and it is cheaper than PBW. I leave PBW for carboys, buckets, kettles and eventually kegs.
Why use PBW at all. You can use Oxyclean on your carboys, buckets, kettles and eventually kegs.....
 

unionrdr

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Some say that oxyclean can leave a milky,scaly film after a while of soaking. I just use PBW for everything. Even made a strong batch for the wife to use in the kitchen.
 

cskid

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Here's my two cents. You are doing a lot of steps. All of which are great. This could simplify if that is something you are looking to do.

First thing. After you pour your beer into a glass immediately go to the sink and rinse out the bottle (warm water) and throw it upside down in a dish rack to dry. This basically eliminates the mold opportunity since there will be no residual beer, yeast or moisture in the bottle when it dries. Good habit to get into if you want to reuse bottles. Not rinsing is not a good habit considering it takes 5 to 10 seconds to do.

Second, the labels are a real b*#&h to get off depending on the brand of beer. If it does not bother you....leave them on. Over time they will naturally fall off anyway. If you must get them off get a keg tub from Home Depot or Lowes and let those puppys sit in your choice of cleaner for a while. Be prepared to have a brass brush on hand and a little elbow grease to get the balance of the glue left behind on those stubborn bottles. A light scrub should work fine. Again, unless its just a style thing for you.....leave them on and let time take care of the label removal for you.

Finally, my biggest point. All of the cleaning comments you have heard are correct. If....and only if....your dishwasher has a "Sanitize" function and if and only if your dishwasher has a label (usually found on the inside lip of the door when open) that says something to the effect of "NSF Certified" (National Sanitation Foundation) then the only thing you will need is the dishwasher. As stated, I rinse my bottles after use. Let them accumulate in my garage where I am sure there is dust, pollen, etc. When I am ready to bottle, I ensure there is no drying agent in the dishwasher and load it down with bottles. Think mine holds around 55 top and bottom rack. Set it on sanitize and let it go. I leave the bottles inside the dishwasher untouched until I am ready to grab them out of the dishwasher for an immediate beer fill and cap. No star san...no PBW....and I have not had the first problem with that method. Well I take that back. I have had one problem which had absolutely nothing to do with the dishwashing method. The only time I ever had a problem is when I got lazy and did not rinse out a bottle and then let that sit and forgot to clean it. But, that is why I was adament about rinsing your bottles after pouring your beer.

PS...over time your labels will also conveniently come right off in the dishwasher and sit nicely in the base of the washer for disposal.

Hope this helps.
 

fartinmartin

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Sorry, I don't like that Cskid, I don't fancy the labels , glue and loose bits as the label deteriorates all being left in the bottles.
Who knows what chemicals are being vaporised onto, into the bottles.
And whilst the steam will go in the bottles the water will never enter every bottle through that little hole and rinse the bottle out.
 

cskid

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Sorry, I don't like that Cskid, I don't fancy the labels , glue and loose bits as the label deteriorates all being left in the bottles.
Who knows what chemicals are being vaporised onto, into the bottles.
And whilst the steam will go in the bottles the water will never enter every bottle through that little hole and rinse the bottle out.
No...no worries. To each his own. I was quite nervous the first time I did the diswasher only thing as well. Used to do the cleaning described at the beginning of the post. As I am sure you know it's all about what works for you.

I've got a couple of competition medals and awards for beers hanging proudly that were in bottles from the dishwasher so at least for me...its what I need, and like I said I've had zero negative effects. The real answer is to skip bottling if possible and just keg.
 

Hello

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Some say that oxyclean can leave a milky,scaly film after a while of soaking. I just use PBW for everything. Even made a strong batch for the wife to use in the kitchen.
Totally true if you don't rinse well. I've never had an issue but cleaning bottles is fairly laborus for me I suppose. It's tedious so I'm not a fan.
 

kh54s10

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Some say that oxyclean can leave a milky,scaly film after a while of soaking. I just use PBW for everything. Even made a strong batch for the wife to use in the kitchen.
Totally true if you don't rinse well. I've never had an issue but cleaning bottles is fairly laborus for me I suppose. It's tedious so I'm not a fan.
I have heard that some water chemistry can make Oxyclean difficult to rinse. Mine seems good.

Isn't PBW the same as Oxyclean with another chemical added?

Just saying that if you can use Oxyclean in part of your procedure you should be able to eliminate PBW altogether and save $$$$
 

DeBAD

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+1 I always remove the labels but other than that the dishwasher method (if an option) is the way to go.
 
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BugDude

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Thanks for the information guys.

I have another question.

If there is some mold in there won't it clean out with the bottle brush? Or do I need to do something special to get it out? Or does the bottle just need to get trashed?
 

fartinmartin

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What is that bottle worth to you, they are two a penny.
If it's not cleaning easy, you don't want that bottle, it's not worth the time, cleaner, effort or your beer.
 

unionrdr

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Fill It maybe half way with PBW & let'em soak overnight. The mold will float to the top in a big chunk,leaving the bottom clean. If you toss'em in a bucket or bin of PBW,the mold will float right out,ime.
 

Jphillips13

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I started saving bottles a long time before I actually brewed my first batch. They were pretty dusty by the time I needed them.
I was able to fit 15 bottles in a 5 gallon bucket of oxyclean and hot water. In 30 minutes all of the labels had either fallen off or fell off when I pulled the bottles out. Rinse and repeat until you have enough for your batch.
Dunk in Star San and place on dishwasher rack 24 at a time when filling worked for me.
 

tooblue02

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Starsan is a wet contact sanitizer. Once it dries it is no longer effective as a sanitizer. You should be filling the bottles while they are still wet. That's easier if you don't wait for the sugar solution to cool. I dump the sugar solution into the bottling bucket shortly after I start siphoning the beer and the sugar solution is still near boiling.
I guess I should clarify that, after I dump the sanitizer out I then place the bottles upside down in the fast rack system thing (which have been sanitized as well). Once I am done sanitizing all the bottles I start filling and capping. The bottles are still wet when I start filling.
 

unionrdr

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They do indeed need to be wet when using Starsan,as it's a wet contact sanitizer. I rinsed a ton of bottles over the last couple days myself. They need to be delabeled yet,though. I took eight 12 pack boxes worth of Sam Adams bottles out of rotation,since I can't fill that many bottles in a couple months time on my income.
 

Hello

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Thanks for the information guys.

I have another question.

If there is some mold in there won't it clean out with the bottle brush? Or do I need to do something special to get it out? Or does the bottle just need to get trashed?
When I was desperate for bottles they got a hot hot water soak with a tsp of oxyclean over night. A second soak for an hour or so and a brushing. I give away beer and in return I get really terribly dirty bottles back. Now I'll toss them. I'd rather spend $13 on 24. I did work on some growlers because they're more pricey. 2 overnight soaks in hot hot water and oxyclean. Two cycles of hot hot water just sitting, bottle brush, then a good 5 minutes of filling, dumping, filling dumping of warm water.
 
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BugDude

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Thank you to everyone who answered I this thread. Luckily the bottles were not too bad and I only had one that had mold which I just tossed.
 

rodwha

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I have far too many new bottles now that need labels peeled, but beforehand I found the bottle brushes didn't clean the bottom very well at all. I have a .45 cal nylon pistol cleaning brush that I bent at an angle to clean the bottoms up better.

Since I've accumulated sooo many more bottles lately I've just tossed those bottles into the recycle bin.

And to get past the residue that Oxyclean leaves I fill my bottles with water and place upright in a bucket.
 

myelo

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I have far too many new bottles now that need labels peeled, but beforehand I found the bottle brushes didn't clean the bottom very well at all. I have a .45 cal nylon pistol ...
PULL! I find after a shoot a few of the dirty bottles, the rest of them fall right in line.
 

C-Rider

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Totally true if you don't rinse well. I've never had an issue but cleaning bottles is fairly laborus for me I suppose. It's tedious so I'm not a fan.
It's a problem ONLY if you let it dry before rinsing off the Oxy. When wet and you rinse it there is no "crusty white stuff" to be seen.
 

C-Rider

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Revey's Tips: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/bottling-tips-homebrewer-94812/

My system:
1-Drink store bought beer and rinse after drinking
2-Wait till I have 12 bottles empty
3-Place 12 bottles in 5 gallon bucket with 4 gallons of OxyClean
4-Leave them there while drinking another 12 bottles and repeat
5-Lables come off in a week or so sometimes faster, but I wait the 12 bottle time whatever that is.
6-Rinse the bottles and store upside down to drain dry
7-Put the bottles in 6 pack holder and place in a covered plactic box. Mine can hold 1 1/2 cases of emptys.
8-On bottling day bring needed bottles to kitchen and soak in StarSan for a few mintues.
9-Stack bottles on the lower rack of dish washer after spraying the heck out of the washer w/StarSan
10-Place bottling bucket on top of dishwasher and fill.
11-Cap w/caps that have been soaked in Star San.
12-Wait 3 weeks and enjoy my latest brew.
 

dnslater

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I've been bottling for years with no issues. I keep a cooler full of oxyclean and water in the basement and soak my bottles for a few days. Takes almost any kind of label off. I then simply rinse with the vinator full of starsan solution and bottle. Never used a brush.

BTW I label all of my beer and make my own labels, gluing them on with only Milk. Numerous threads on this. Labels printed on a laser printer on regular paper. Makes it super easy to remove them.
 
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