Poor Cleaning Plan for Stainless Steel Kettles

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

Garrett_McT

Seeker of Knowledge, and Homebrew
Joined
Jul 18, 2021
Messages
75
Reaction score
64
Location
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Before people beat me over the head, I know I am an idiot.

So I let my two 7 gal stainless steel kettles with double ports, two bazooka screens, and a hop spider sit half rinsed for a week covered with lids. Mostly due to laziness, then getting sick and postponing.

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on proper cleaning to remove possible mold spores and bacteria cultures.

Also, if I can confidently use my equipment in future brews.

To be noted: the mash vessel was rinsed more thoroughly and had far less evidence of contamination. The mash vessel kettle had one bazooka screen and I stored the hop spider in it. The boil vessel kettle had the largest evidence of mold and bacteria contamination with spores in at most approximate 1 inch diameter on the bazooka screen in about 5 to 8 spots.

Sorry no photos. Im gracious for advice. Cheers, just not with the mold spores!
 

Bramling Cross

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 5, 2020
Messages
887
Reaction score
4,193
Location
The 51st State
Pfffffff! You're fine, and certainly not an idiot!

That's all hotside stuff, nothing to worry about. Just rinse it out, hit it with the cleaner of your choice, then rinse it thoroughly. You're good to go, nothing to worry about. Anything you missed on the cleaning side will be killed by high temps. Everything is fine, there's no need to stress.

While this isn't ideal, we've all done this from time to time (apart from the people that lie about it). ;)

[Edit]If you want to be really anal about things, I suppose you could break down your ball valves for a proper cleaning. Don't be alarmed if the stuff you find in there turns your stomach. I keep telling myself that I really need to get in there and clean them monthly, or at least quarterly. The best I can managed is semi-annually, but more often it's annually. I make a lot of good beer, a lot of beer that I'm not happy about, but I don't make infected beer. It's hotside stuff, it doesn't matter much.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Garrett_McT

Garrett_McT

Seeker of Knowledge, and Homebrew
Joined
Jul 18, 2021
Messages
75
Reaction score
64
Location
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Pfffffff! You're fine, and certainly not an idiot!

That's all hotside stuff, nothing to worry about. Just rinse it out, hit it with the cleaner of your choice, then rinse it thoroughly. You're good to go, nothing to worry about. Anything you missed on the cleaning side will be killed by high temps. Everything is fine, there's no need to stress.

While this isn't ideal, we've all done this from time to time (apart from the people that lie about it). ;)

Thank you for your kind feedback. and I feel reassured! Especially with the cost that I have sunk in the equipment.

On another note, do you have a good technique for cleaning screens? I see myself having some difficulty cleaning between the holes.
 

Bramling Cross

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 5, 2020
Messages
887
Reaction score
4,193
Location
The 51st State
They're gobs of fun, aren't they?

I use these for dry hopping. It's not a good solution, but it's the best I know of right now. They're a pain to clean. To do so, I hook up a hose to my kitchen sink and blast them with water until they're mostly clean. Then I soak them several times in a bucket of clean water with PBW. They never get fully clean...but I boil them prior to use and I have yet to have a problem with them.

You're lucky. Your hotside screens will be cleaned and sanitized by use. I wouldn't worry too much about them. Just fill the vessels with hot cleaner, then rinse them. You might need to scrub the screens with a scrubbie, but that's about it.
 

OakIslandBrewery

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 19, 2011
Messages
342
Reaction score
412
Location
DePere, WI
That's my general approach as of right now. First: elbow grease, Second: boil them.
Just to add to the advice, waiting till the next day is fine too. I try to get all of the big chunks out right after brewing. Getting the mash tun cleaned out ASAP is the most important as it being insulated the grain stay very warm and starts fermenting if you let it sit too long. I scoop out the grain then wipe it down, if I can I'll hose it out then do a deep clean. Same with the boil kettle. All hose and pumps get flushed with hot water first then a PBW flush. I don't use the those screens but a filtering grant which gets cleaned like the boil kettle. I have a five gallon bucket I keep all the cleaning tools I need; brushes, scrubby pads, PBW, stuff like that. Keeps everything I need in one spot plus I can use the bucket if needed. You'll be fine.
 

Off Balance Brewing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2021
Messages
104
Reaction score
34
I second breaking the valves down every so often. It's the hot side so lower beer contamination risk....but man I hate ball valves. Even running hot oxy through them doesn't guarantee clean.
 

FloppyKnockers

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2014
Messages
2,223
Reaction score
2,128
Location
Fort Worth
Oh, man. That's not good news at all. Lucky for you, this community is here to help. Let me know how much shipping is to my location and I will foot the bill. Once all your equipment makes it to me, I will dispose of it properly. You should also send me as much homebrew you have on hand so I can properly dispose of that as well. You can never be too careful!
 
OP
OP
Garrett_McT

Garrett_McT

Seeker of Knowledge, and Homebrew
Joined
Jul 18, 2021
Messages
75
Reaction score
64
Location
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Hahaha! thanks for the comedic relief @FloppyKnockers , it was much needed.

I never thought a need to take apart the ball valves, but I will definitely read into it for the future! Thanks @Off Balance Brewing

Hey @OakIslandBrewery , I have heard of PBW numerous times and never really needed it before since I only had a small 4 gal kettle. I was just thinking of using a CIP option or caustic cleaner. Would the PBW be an example of a caustic cleaner?
 
OP
OP
Garrett_McT

Garrett_McT

Seeker of Knowledge, and Homebrew
Joined
Jul 18, 2021
Messages
75
Reaction score
64
Location
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Also, a general update: For about a week I soaked the parts that had bacteria and mold growth in 5% vinegar. I just applied the elbow grease and then boiled the parts. It seems the only things that remained were what seemed to be gain husks stuck in the bazooka screens. Those grain husks broke free with some tooth picks and tweezers.

The true test will come from the next brew, which I plan to be Kitchen Sink Hazy IPA...we shall see
 

OakIslandBrewery

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 19, 2011
Messages
342
Reaction score
412
Location
DePere, WI
Hahaha! thanks for the comedic relief @FloppyKnockers , it was much needed.

I never thought a need to take apart the ball valves, but I will definitely read into it for the future! Thanks @Off Balance Brewing

Hey @OakIslandBrewery , I have heard of PBW numerous times and never really needed it before since I only had a small 4 gal kettle. I was just thinking of using a CIP option or caustic cleaner. Would the PBW be an example of a caustic cleaner?
PBW is listed as "buffered alkaline detergent" and an "effective substitute for caustic soda cleaners", according to their website. I use it for manual scrubbing as well as in my keg CIP spray ball setup with a pump. I also soak small parts in the sink with it then clean them and a final water wash. PBW was developed for the brewing industry and you'll see a majority of folks on Homebrew Talk use it or something real close to it. There's other cleaners and many DIY recipes out there. I hope this helps.
 
Top