That dirty word...cleaning!!! How do you go about it?

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seatazzz

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As I've progressed along this long road of brewing obsession, the one thing that I've learned (besides PATIENCE!!!) is that keeping the equipment clean is one of the most important aspects of a brewday. As many of us have, back in the day I didn't pay attention to cleaning well, just wanted to get the brewday over with so I could enjoy the fruits of my labors. And wound up, a few days later, with a VERY stinky brewery/garage, and too much hard work to get it clean enough for the next brewday. I've since learned to clean as I go, so at the end of a brewday my equipment is sparkling clean and ready for the next go-round. Took me a year or two to get it down pat, but now I've got the system down to where I'm done after 5.5-6 hours, with everything clean and ready to go, not to mention a nice brew in the ferment fridge. I do all grain on a 3-vessel propane system, using a plate chiller to get the wort to pitching temperature, and have a nice ferment fridge to keep it where I need it. I MIAB, once the grain is cooled enough to dump/save that gets done, bag gets shaken out then rinsed (if you're considering this route, shaking out BEFORE rinsing will save you a lot of cleaning time, although you may get snarky comments from your SO about grain bits in your hair. I do, every time I brew.). Mash tun gets dumped and rinsed out while the wort is heating up. I've also learned to keep enough hottish water in the HLT at the end of the brewday so I can run it through my hoses/pump, to get them clean; and backflush the chiller after the wort is in the fermenter to have it ready for the next brewday, and store it upside-down so all the water drains out and it's dry and clean for the next brewday.

So, what's your process to clean up the brewery after a long hard slog? Leave it for another day, or clean as you go? We all have different systems, so I thought it would be interesting to see how we all keep the brewery clean for the inevitable next brewday.
 

Immocles

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I clean some stuff as I go, but I like to use my water from the IC to clean the bulk of it at the end. Having a single unit Mash & Boil, it really speeds the process up. The one item that takes for-freaking-ever is the hop spider. I have to run up the cellar steps and use the garden sprayer for that one. So I only use it on highly hopped brews, and never in the winter (outdoor water is disconnected). But Ill tend to have my brew bag and mash pipe (and anything else associated wit the mash) cleaned up while im boiling.
 

bracconiere

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well, i brew on my stove, and just found out if i take the little springy things off the front of it that are supposed to perch it up, i can just take the whole damn thing off easy and take it out back and give it the hose....so much easier, and cheaper, then oven cleaner and paper towels!


i use a cooler for a MT so i just dump the grain in the garden, and give it a rinse. my pot doesn't really get that dirty so i fill it with water and use a bristle brush to clean of the boil line, and bottom...put it all back in the closet till it's needed again (usually next week!)

my fermenter i don't really clean, just give it a rinse and then use it for my sparge water. seems to work? i don't get sour beer doing it that way?

and yeah, the competition i'd ever win with my brew is if they had an entry for cheapest malt liquor!
 

BrewZer

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1. Before I start brewing I disassemble the fermentor spigot and sanitize in water/bleach solution. After half-an-hour, I reassemble it, put it back in the fermenter and fill the fermenter with water/bleach solution and let it sit,
2. Then I wash the brewpot with Dawn and lots of hot water (no valves so no worries)
3. Mash/steep and boil. At the 30 minute point of the boil, I rinse the fermenter with hot water. After cooling the wort with IC I transfer it to the rinsed fermenter.
4. As soon as the yeast is pitched, I take the brewpot to the sink and flush it good with the sprayer and wash it with Dawn/hot water. Ditto the IC and anything else the wort touched (like the hop strainer)
5. Night before bottling I soak bottles/hoses/bottle filler and bottling bucket spigot in water/bleach solution overnight, then drain the utility sink into the bottling bucket after reassembling and reinserting the spigot the morning of the bottling. I finish emptying and rinsing the bottles in hot water and rack them upside down in a FastRack.
6. Soak caps in diluted StarSan. Drain fermenter into bottling bucket with priming sugar. Install rinsed bottling wand and hose, and fill bottles, capping with wet bottle caps.
7. Immediately after bottling, I rinse both the fermenter and bottling bucket with hot water, then wash with Dawn and hot water. Air dry, then wipe with clean dish towels and return to covered storage in the garage (which is why I wash again before each use).
8. Bottles are swirled and rinsed immediately after they're emptied. Inspection reveals whether or not they need to be scrubbed. 99/100 times, not necessary.
 

Jim R

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I started recording my brew day times to try to systematically shorten them. I am down to 5 hours if I have everything set up the night before so my first step in the morning is flicking the lighter to start the propane burner with my treated water already in the pot.

Here is another trick I often use. I figured out that I could brew two separate 5 gal batches on the same day in only about 2 1/2-3 hours longer when I overlap 2 brew sessions with a single cooler mash tun and boil kettle. When I am boiling the first batch, I start the second mash, etc.. I bought a cheap Fermzilla All Rounder and a second keg and then can only brew half as many days every year. It saves about half the cleaning time. The beer lasts fine as long as I do pressure transfers, etc to minimize oxygen exposure.
 

bracconiere

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Here is another trick I often use. I figured out that I could brew two separate 5 gal batches on the same day in only about 2 1/2-3 hours longer when I overlap 2 brew sessions with a single cooler mash tun and boil kettle. When I am boiling the first batch, I start the second mash, etc.

thanks for the idea...
 

Birrofilo

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I rinse the bottles with hot water immediately, inspect them visually and I put them to drain on the "Christmas tree" immediately. That totally eliminates bottle cleaning.

The rest is easy.
I use 35-litre fermenters which I clean with hot water and a little dish soap. I always rinse with hot water.

Regarding taps I am paranoid: I rinse them with hot water repeatedly and often sanitize them with my microwave oven (just put a glass jar full of water with the tap in it, and 1 minute at full energy).

I rinse long the hoses with hot water. This is the boring part.

After brewing I wash the kettle with hot water and dish soap and use its recirculating pump, then rinse with hot water. Every now and then I use PBW but that's not standard procedure.

After using the chicken vaccine pistol contraption, I don't know the English name, I rinse it some 15 times with hot water and a little dish soap, then rinse it with hot water.

All spoons and tools are cleaned with hot water and a little dish soap, and rinsed with hot water.

I suspect you will spot a pattern.
 

day_trippr

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I also clean-as-I-go. As a fly-sparger on a 3v2p single tier rig it actually works - there are perfectly timed intervals to clean the hlt and dump and clean the mlt without extending the brew day. The only cleaning that doesn't "fit in" is the bk - nothing to hide that time behind, it's totally serial after filling the fermentors. I usually throw towels over the carboys to keep the light out while I clean the bk, then pitch and gas up the carboys to end the brew day with everything cleaned...

Cheers!
 

day_trippr

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How do you clean taps and beer lines?
fwiw, I have a 6-faucet t-tower keezer and clean all of the beer lines, faucets, flow meters and fittings using a parallel system with a centrifugal pump and a pair of 6 gallon buckets. These gawdawful pics are from my old cramped "K2" keezer (RIP) with its venerable Bevlex PVC tubing, and I plan on reshooting the next time I clean my new "K3" with its EVABarrier tubing.

Anyway, I have a manifold hooked up to the pump and all of the beer QDs snap onto it. Then I close the lid onto a wood shim so the pump line doesn't get pinched.

1615155391374.png


Then I have another manifold with short tubes that slip over the faucet spouts, and long tubes that drain to one of the two buckets.

1615155482469.png


I jam a piece of wood behind the Perl lever bonnets to keep them open while the cleaning rig is operating. The MM stout faucet can lock open on its own.

1615155589922.png


I do a one-pass rinse first to avoid recirculating all the leftover beer and crud with the cleanser, then recirculate with ~120°F LLC/BLC mix for 20 minutes or so, then finish with another one-pass rinse...

1615156045724.png


Cheers!
 

Barbarossa

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I started recording my brew day times to try to systematically shorten them. I am down to 5 hours if I have everything set up the night before so my first step in the morning is flicking the lighter to start the propane burner with my treated water already in the pot.

Here is another trick I often use. I figured out that I could brew two separate 5 gal batches on the same day in only about 2 1/2-3 hours longer when I overlap 2 brew sessions with a single cooler mash tun and boil kettle. When I am boiling the first batch, I start the second mash, etc.. I bought a cheap Fermzilla All Rounder and a second keg and then can only brew half as many days every year. It saves about half the cleaning time. The beer lasts fine as long as I do pressure transfers, etc to minimize oxygen exposure.
I was thinking exactly that this week. I could maybe do one batch on the anvil, then one batch in a mask tun , and do the boil in sequence.
 

easttex

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I clean once I'm done brewing. I don't have an outside water tap and my apartment is too small for my 2 vessel rig. And I really don't want to haul everything upstairs from the garage, anyway.

I recirculate chiller water from a cooler (with ice) through my counterflow and back to the cooler. Once I'm ready to clean, I pump some water into my kettle, then recirculate hot PBW solution through my kettle RIMS system for 15 minutes. Afterwards I put on elbow length brewing gloves and scrub everything. Then I connect the chiller pump to my recirculation (March) pump and use the remaining chiller water to rinse everything.

Probably not the most elegant set up but it sure beats hauling everything upstairs, then needing to clean a bathtub.

How do you clean taps and beer lines?
I have a two tap kegerator. I have a hose that connects both faucets together. Then I connect a small fountain pump to disconnect end of the draft lines and recirculate hot cleaning solution through them for 20+ minutes.
 

deuc224

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I clean the next day, cant fathom doing it after doing a full brew day cuz it never goes as smooth as i plan it. Kegs and fermenters get the mark 2 treatment, which now makes me think of getting a CIP for my brew set up.
 

Carolina_Matt

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How do you clean taps and beer lines?
When I had a 6-tap keezer and regular beer lines, I used a pond pump and recirculated oxiclean/PBW through it, followed by warm water. Now that I have a 3-tap tower with EvaBarrier lines, I don't worry about it as much. My understanding is that the EvaBarrier lines are slicker than regular beer lines, and they seemingly don't absorb beer as much as the cheaper beer line does. They're also cheap and easy to replace. Instead of worrying too much about cleaning them thoroughly, I just rinse them out with warm water.

I fill up a 2-liter bottle with warm water out of the sink, put a carbonation cap on it, hook that up to the black liquid disconnect, open the tap handle, then squeeze the 2-liter bottle. Warm water flows out of the bottle, through the lines, then into the bucket that's under the tap. After squeezing out 1-2 liters, I put everything away and l'm done. It only takes a couple of minutes and there's very little effort in setting it up.
 

DuncB

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I noticed that some sediment/ crud did accumulate in my EVA lines that didn't shift with hot water alone. Recirculated hot cleaner steriliser did shift it fast. I use garden pump sprayer as above. Do like that multi manifold though!
 

Snuffy

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I love cleaning. Ded srs
It can be kind of a zen thing if you get the right mindset. Not gonna say I love it, but it’s part of the deal.
i mix up 5 gals of Starsan before I do anything else. Every piece and part that will fit in the muck bucket gets a soak before and after. Anything that touches wort gets PBWd and then Starsan including pumps, hoses, lids, utensils. bottles, vessels, Tilt, air locks. I pump hot PBW and then Starsan and then hot water thru my chiller after use and then run Starsan thru it again before brewing. Kegs get scrubbed and then PBW and then Starsan run thru the hoses and fittings under pressure. All valves and keg fittings are dismantled and soaked. Ain’t no bugs in my gear unless I put em there.
 

Hwk-I-St8

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I'm inconsistent about how/when I clean. For the most part, I clean as I go....dump and shake out the BIAB while I'm boiling for example.

No matter what, I always seem to have an hour's worth of cleaning after I've got the wort in the fermenter and yeast pitched. As far as cleaning products, I usually just clean at the kitchen sink and use dish soap and the kitchen sponge. Hoses get rinsed with super hot water. Then I hook everything up and run 180+ degree water through it with my brew pump.

Everything gets dumped and dried with paper towels, the hoses get hung vertically to drip/air dry.

The fermenter gets washed on kegging day or the next day. Dump the trub and crap in the woods behind my house and, again, clean in the kitchen sink.

I always cycle all my valves open/close about 20 times while running hot water through them, then store halfway open.

Two tap kegerator....I use a pond pump, connect the two taps together, open the valves and circulate hot water with some oxy clean, then hot water rinse, then starsan. 20 mins each step takes about an hour.

My updated rig (first brew on it in a couple weeks) is a K-RIMS setup with a chapman thermobarrel MLT and my same e kettle. Now I'll have a second vessel to clean with no bag, so that will be interesting. I'll have to scoop out or dump the MLT. In the summer, I'll probably hose it out in the driveway before I take it in to clean it.

I'm curious about the CIP folks. I've never understood how you deal with grains for CIP. I get using the balls and the PBW, but at some point you need to get all the residual grain out. Without repeated rinse and dump, it seems like you'd just be recirculating PBW water mixed with spent grain material.
 

CascadesBrewer

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So, what's your process to clean up the brewery after a long hard slog? Leave it for another day, or clean as you go?
This talk about cleaning equipment reminded me of another reason I am glad I moved to BIAB!

I clean just about everything with hot water from my immersion chiller. About the only thing I clean before the end of the boil is to vacuum off my grain mill and rinse the buckets I used for the grain. I have only a few misc measuring items during the brew day that I just set into a small bucket to be cleaned.

Once I am done with chilling, I pull out my immersion chiller (it goes into the bucket of warm water), put the lid on my kettle, and then clean up everything in the 10-ish minutes that I let the wort settle. After the wort is transferred in to the fermenter, I only have my kettle and a few misc items to clean. Assuming a standard recipe (60 min mash, 60 min boil, no whirlpool), my 5 gal brew days are done in 4 to 4.5 hours.
 

elproducto

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I'm a next day cleaner too. Grainfather makes it easy, after my brew is done, I just empty the grain, give the grainfather a quick spray and leave it until I'm ready to clean, usually the next day.
 
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