Dry heat sterilizing bottles

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cfos

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Hello. New brewer here with a question. According to the Palmer online book, one method of sterlizing bottles is to bake them in the oven:

http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2-3.html

As stated, one can take a piece of aluminum foil, cover the opening and bake at the suggested temps in the link above. Accordingly, the book states that they can remain sterile indefinately. Do y'all use this method? It sounds as though it is a great way to sterilize (assuming you have a place to put all the bottles!). Please fill me in on whether y'all have done this and whether you have comments. I guess my concern is the glass breaking, but assuming you put the bottles in and heat increases gradually, there shouldn't be a problem, right?

Thanks.
 

Scotty_g

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My only concern with oven-sterilizing would be if the bottles stay sterile. As the bottles cool and the air inside contracts, outside air will be drawn into the bottles...plus if you're moving the bottles around a lot, there are many opportunities to move the foil aside, etc.

I use my dishwasher on hot dry with a scoop of one-step; it seems to work well. We open the dishwasher just as we start to bottle and set the bottles on the inside of it...this minimizes cleanup because I just close the door, and it provides a nice drop in elevation for the racking siphon.

If I didn't have a dishwasher, I'd get a clean trash can or big plastic box or something like that, and use star-san.
 

9/9

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I have been using the oven method, though I am new at this and don't really know if it actually works or not (though I haven't had any infections yet). There hasn't been any problem with the glass breaking, I just make sure to leave them in the oven a long time, usually over night, to cool slowly.
 
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cfos

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@ Scott: I share your concern, especially if the bottles are going to sit for a bit; however, Palmer suggests that it is fine and a number of the more experienced brewers often refer n00bs like me to the web-book.

Edit: 9/9: Do you cover the bottle-tops with aluminum?

@ Scott: I think I have a "sanitize" selection on my dishwasher, just need to find the manual for a full explanation. Curious about this method, though... Thanks for the trash can suggestion.
 

Kaiser

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Scotty_g said:
My only concern with oven-sterilizing would be if the bottles stay sterile. As the bottles cool and the air inside contracts, outside air will be drawn into the bottles...plus if you're moving the bottles around a lot, there are many opportunities to move the foil aside, etc.
I share the concern of the foil being moved, but there is no concern regarding the contracting air pulling in germs. This is because the bottles need to cool down in the oven anyway and the air in the oven is fairly sterile. Also, the inflow of air is not going to be stong enoug to pull in the dust that harbors the bacteria/yeast.

I started using this method exclusively. I add a small squirt of water to each bottle and cap with tin-foil. Then I bake them in the oven for 2 hrs at 250. I usually do this overnight using the time bake feature on the oven. This allows the bottled to cool before I open the dor. The next morning I put the bottles back into the boxes and usually bottle within the next few days anyway.

Kai
 

9/9

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cfos said:
Edit: 9/9: Do you cover the bottle-tops with aluminum?
Yep. I use pretty big pieces and just make sure I don't move them too much one I get them out of the oven. So far I haven't had any problems with the foil being knocked off.
 

Rick_R

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From Palmer's book:
". . . should be heated and cooled slowly (e.g. 5 °F per minute) . . . .
The above is what has kept me from that method. I'd have to slowly turn up the heat and then slowly turn it down. Do-able, but adds to the effort so I haven't tried it yet.

Rick
 

Kaiser

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rickylr said:
What's the squirt of water for?

Rick
moist heat sanitizes better than dry heat. This allows me to sanitize the bottless at 250 *F which puts less stress on the glass. One concern I have regarding this method is that the heating weakens the glass to a point where it may not be able to hold the normal cabonation pressure.

Kai
 

Kaiser

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rickylr said:
The above is what has kept me from that method. I'd have to slowly turn up the heat and then slowly turn it down. Do-able, but adds to the effort so I haven't tried it yet.

Rick
I was worried about that. But, for my stove at least, it works by putting in the bottles, turning it on for 2 hrs and letting it cool down. I have not tried opening the door during this time.

Kai
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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I also use this for all my bottling. Although I am not as hard-core as Kaiser. When I get a new case of bottles I clean them out and drip dry them on my bottle tree. While the bottles are drying I cut 24 4x4 pieces of aluminum foil and dip them in one-step sanitizer. Then I start wrapping the foil around the bottles and pop them in the oven. I turn the oven to 170 and let them sit in there for 45 minutes.

This may not sterilize the bottles but it will sanitize them. I have never had an infection using this process.

Try is out!
 

Kaiser

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I didn't know that I'm hardcore when it comes to bottling :rockin:

Boerderij Kabouter said:
IWhile the bottles are drying I cut 24 4x4 pieces of aluminum foil and dip them in one-step sanitizer.
No need to do that since the foil would get sanitized in the oven.

Kai
 

ColoradoXJ13

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I have always baked my bottles after cleaning at 350*F for about 1.5 hours, throw a couple pieces of foil in the oven too, when it all cools down, I tear the foil and put a piece on each bottle. Never had an infected bottle, I have broken a bottle or two while capping, but I don't worry about it.
 

LuizArgh

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Last time I did that, when i took off the aluminium foil cap to fill the bottles with beer, I noticed a burnt smell around the bottleneck. Has anyone ever noticed that? Would that be a problem?
 

MTEXX

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Along with the success stories, here is a FAIL-

I've baked bottles at about 200F for maybe 30 minutes for use in yeast harvesting. And no aluminum.
[After reading Palmer's book, I see that my time and temp were waaaay too low]

I do, however, steam my bottle caps. I use a small saucepan and one of those collapsing steamer baskets. 15 minutes or so. It doesn't appear to hurt the plastic gasket.

I HAVE had quite a few yeast bottles go bad. Always sniff the yeast before pitching and make sure to have a backup plan on brew day (dry yeast for example).
 

Gargoyley

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I have never tried the oven method but it does sound promising. I have always ran my bottles throught the dishwasher (it has a sanitize cycle and high temp setting). Leave them over night without opening the washer until it is time to bottle. No problems yet.
 

menisale

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my dishwasher has a jet dry reservoir and wife isn't interest in me emptying it. I assume this will cause an issue using the dishwasher to sterilize because of the residue of the jet dry?

Wondering if anyone has been successful in finding a way to keep the jet dry out?
 

audger

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jet dry is an extremely powerful surfactant and its job is to eliminate foam. even in trace amounts like any residue left over from a previous dishwasher run, will destroy the head on your beer. pouring a beer will be like pouring a glass of water.

if you have just used jet dry in the dishwasher, i would run at least one rinse cycle before putting brewery equipment or bottles in there to clean or sanitize.
 

jpsloan

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That said, I use my LG dishwasher on the steam sanitize cycle for my bottles. It also has a Jet Dry reservoir. I've been bottling with it for a year and a half and have never had the first problem with head retention.
 

theredben

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I only use the oven sterilizing method when I need to ensure sterility of my bottles (ie. cleaning up after infection). It takes so long, uses too much electricity, too much aluminum foil, and the repeated heat stress is not what I would call "long-term viable". Star-san in a vinator when bottling works for me!
 

menisale

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thank you for the feedback. I too have been using the dishwasher for over a year and hadn't noticed an issue but now hear that it is a problem.

So reservoir is almost empty so won't refill it and will see if there is a difference between with and without on head retention.
 

limulus

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Guys, using dry heat is called depyrogenation. This is what the pharma industry uses for labware and vials that their final product is packaged in. Of course, you need to clean them with some sort of wash to remove any particulate. You can not make something pyrogen free by autoclave. The main thing you are doing when you depyrogenate is remove Gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria and endotoxins are something I know a lot about (hence my screen name). Beer bottles need to be free of bacteria, but don't need to be pyrogen free since we drink it and don't inject it...well most of us.
 

Lost

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I've done the oven method successfully but never stored the bottles long term. I think the repeated heat cycles will weaken the bottles over time.

That said it is time consuming and there are practical limits to the number of bottles that will fit in an oven.

IMO there is nothing that beats the effectiveness, ease, and value of starsan.
 

VitaminK

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Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I had a question: Last batch, I did the 'dry heat with foil caps' method of bottle sterilization, and it worked really well. The question I had was, can I add the priming sugar to the bottles prior to dry heat sterilization, so that the sugar's already in the bottle and ready to go when bottling time rolls around? I like using sugar cubes for priming, if that helps at all.
 

BrewinBromanite

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VitaminK said:
Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I had a question: Last batch, I did the 'dry heat with foil caps' method of bottle sterilization, and it worked really well. The question I had was, can I add the priming sugar to the bottles prior to dry heat sterilization, so that the sugar's already in the bottle and ready to go when bottling time rolls around? I like using sugar cubes for priming, if that helps at all.
Seems like that may cook or caramelize your priming sugar a bit more than you would want, but that's just a guess. No experience doing this.
 

fearwig

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I would not ever try that, sounds like a hot mess. Use a bottling bucket.

I left foil caps in the dust, though--lots of labor, little benefit. They aren't going to pick up contams in a cooling oven, just leave them in until cool and use right away.

WRT the other talk, I can fit enough bottles in my oven for a 10gal batch. (In my house, I am the dishwasher.) I don't think it's hard at all, save that you do a little more rinsing first. Never had a bottle bomb (plenty of gushers, but that's another story).
 

VitaminK

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I would not ever try that, sounds like a hot mess. Use a bottling bucket.

I left foil caps in the dust, though--lots of labor, little benefit. They aren't going to pick up contams in a cooling oven, just leave them in until cool and use right away.

WRT the other talk, I can fit enough bottles in my oven for a 10gal batch. (In my house, I am the dishwasher.) I don't think it's hard at all, save that you do a little more rinsing first. Never had a bottle bomb (plenty of gushers, but that's another story).
My issue is that my time is usually pretty limited, so whenever I can partition tasks, I try to do that. The nice thing about heat + foil is that I can sterilize ahead of time, remove from the oven and then bottle whenever it's time for that. Leaving them in the oven til I use them is not a good option for me.

I might try just setting up a few extra bottles with a sugar cube in them next time I heat sterilize, and seeing what condition the sugar's in by the time they're done.
 

fearwig

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It probably wouldn't be too bad with a dry cube (assuming that's the right amount of sugar for your carb choice). Priming solution would be... insane. I can see foil lids blowing off from steam, tipped-over bottles permanently ruined with nasty molasses inside...
 

BrewinBromanite

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Just an educated guess, but it seems even a dry sugar cube would melt in the oven to some degree. Depending on time and temperature, there could be some caramelization at the bottom of the bottle - not what you'd probably want to be happening. Not bashing the oven method at all, as I've never tried it; but if it were me, I'd forgo the sugar cubes until after the bottles cooled.

Although you mentioned experimenting with a few bottles. I guess it never hurts to try on a few out to see what happens. Who knows? However, even if that works to carb up the beer, but if some of the sugars did get some caramelization, it may change the flavor from your intended profile. Just speculation, though.
 
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