Three Questions About Sanitization

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WriterWriter

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Hey all,

I bought some potassium metabisulphite as recommended by my LHS. The instructions only say to dissolve a certain amount in a certain amount of water and nothing else. My questions:

1. How long should my primary and equipment stay in the solution?

2. Once everything has been sanitized, do I need to rinse with water, boiling water, or is everything good to go?

3. What is the best way to sanitize bottles without having a big container? Can I use the kitchen sink or is that just asking for trouble?

Thanks!
WW
 

Throckmorton

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I haven't heard of the stuff before so I looked on Wikipedia:

Wine
Potassium metabisulfite is a common wine or must additive, where it forms sulfur dioxide gas (SO2). This both prevents most wild microorganisms from growing, and it acts as a potent antioxidant, protecting both the color, and delicate flavors of wine.

Typical dosage is 1/4 tsp potassium metabisulfite per 6 gallon bucket of must (yielding roughly 75 ppm of SO2) prior to fermentation, and 1/2 tsp per 6 gallon bucket (150 ppm of SO2) at bottling.

Winemaking equipment is sanitized by spraying with a 1% SO2 (2 tsp potassium metabisulfite per L) solution.


Beer
Potassium metabisulfite is sometimes used in the brewing industry to inhibit the growth of wild yeasts, bacteria, and fungi. This is called 'stabilizing'. It is used both by homebrewers and commercial brewers alike. It is not used as much for brewing beer, because the wort is almost always boiled, which kills most microorganisms anyway. It can also be added to strike water (the water used to mash the barley) in order to remove chloramines which can cause phenolic off flavors in beer.

Based on this alone, I don't think it is a sanitizer for your equipment. Most people here use One Step, Starsan, or just some bleach.

Anyone else have some thoughts on this?
 

ifishsum

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I believe that potassium metabisulphite is the active ingredient in Campden tablets, which are added to wine must (and sometimes beer wort) to kill off wild yeasts and other microorganisms before adding your yeast. It's not really the type of sanitizer you'd use to soak your equipment in to sanitize, at least I haven't heard of it being used as such. Star San or Iodophor are most commonly used in a sanitizing solution for utensils, fermenters, bottles, etc. If mixed in the proper ratios they don't require a rinse.

I sanitize my bottles with an Iodophor solution in my bottling bucket - let them soak for 5 minutes (7-8 at a time) then turn upside down onto the (clean) dishwasher racks to drip until I'm ready to use them. You should be able to use a clean sink to do the same soak.
 

telemarc

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I've been using Oxyclean to clean, and Starsan to sanitize. 1 ounce of Starsan treats 5 gallons of water.
 
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Hmm, thanks guys. It didn't cost that much so I don't really care, but it kind of irks me that the homebrew guy (a young kid) recommended it. I did my last batch with this stuff and it turned out all right so maybe I got lucky.

I'll see if they have some Starsan.

Thanks,
WW
 

schweaty

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Hey all,

I bought some potassium metabisulphite as recommended by my LHS. The instructions only say to dissolve a certain amount in a certain amount of water and nothing else. My questions:

1. How long should my primary and equipment stay in the solution?

2. Once everything has been sanitized, do I need to rinse with water, boiling water, or is everything good to go?

3. What is the best way to sanitize bottles without having a big container? Can I use the kitchen sink or is that just asking for trouble?

Thanks!
WW
1. I let mine soak about an hour. Usually will get things filled and sanatized while I'm doing my boil and when I come back they're good to go.

2. Depending on the sanatizer you may or may not. StarSan is one that does not need to be rinsed. Bleach, on the other hand, probably is going to need rinsing of some kind.

3. They make an attachment that you can put on your kitchen faucet. its V shaped and when you depress the bottle on the lever it send a blast of water in the bottle. I'd still recommend giving them a good soak in sanatizer before filling. The dishwasher is your best friend when filling bottles. It works great to dry them upside down and catches any spills that might occur.
 

thakoolaidkid

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1. I let mine soak about an hour. Usually will get things filled and sanatized while I'm doing my boil and when I come back they're good to go.

2. Depending on the sanatizer you may or may not. StarSan is one that does not need to be rinsed. Bleach, on the other hand, probably is going to need rinsing of some kind.

3. They make an attachment that you can put on your kitchen faucet. its V shaped and when you depress the bottle on the lever it send a blast of water in the bottle. I'd still recommend giving them a good soak in sanatizer before filling. The dishwasher is your best friend when filling bottles. It works great to dry them upside down and catches any spills that might occur.
I use Iodophor solution for my sanitizing. On the bottle it says I only need to sanitize items for about 5 minutes. I did probably close to 10 minutes on everything, but is that hour fully necessary?
 

Yooper

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K-meta makes a fine sanitizer, commonly in winemaking equipment. I've not used it on beer brewing day, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.

From Jack Keller's website:
Potassium Metabisulfite (sanitizer):
Theoretically it is 57% SO2. 1/4 teaspoon per 5 gallons yields about 40 to 45 ppm. One gram per gallon equals roughly 150 ppm SO2. Replace at least every 18 months and keep in a dry place. Sodium bisulfite acts in the same way, but may not be used in wine produced by US commercial wineries.

What that means is, you can mix it up at the rate on the package, and use it to sanitize the equipment. I don't usually soak my equipment for a certain length of time, but spray it on with a sprayer for the small items, and pour it into the buckets, carboys, etc. I let it sit for about 2 minutes, before draining the solution out. You can soak the stoppers, airlocks, etc in a bowl and use as needed. (You can pull the equipment out as you are using it- it doesn't need to dry.).

It's not commonly used in beer making, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work! It just means that many of us have found star-san or iodophor and prefer that. K-meta is effective, and if that is what your LHBS is familiar with, then I'm sure they could answer better than I could.
 
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Oh! Now I feel bad.

I went to the LHBS to get some extract (Christmas stout time!) and see if I could exchange the K-meta. They immediately gave me a jar of "cleaning" solution and told me they were sorry. Over the next few minutes it became apparent that they believed the K-meta was a good sanitizer and that the cleaning solution -- Chlorinated Trisodium Phosphate == was just to "clean" equipment. Then you need to sanitize it. I just kept quiet and figured they were mistaken. They didn't have Starsan or anything else....I checked.

So I guess they were right all along.

Oh well...maybe I should drop off a couple of the stouts as an apology!

WW
 

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Oh! Now I feel bad.

I went to the LHBS to get some extract (Christmas stout time!) and see if I could exchange the K-meta. They immediately gave me a jar of "cleaning" solution and told me they were sorry. Over the next few minutes it became apparent that they believed the K-meta was a good sanitizer and that the cleaning solution -- Chlorinated Trisodium Phosphate == was just to "clean" equipment. Then you need to sanitize it. I just kept quiet and figured they were mistaken. They didn't have Starsan or anything else....I checked.

So I guess they were right all along.

Oh well...maybe I should drop off a couple of the stouts as an apology!

WW
yeah, I think that the cleaning solution won't sanitize but I'm not familiar with that product. I would think you'd have to rinse that product like crazy- you want to keep chlorine out of the brew. You can even sanitize with bleach and water, but you have to rinse like crazy, to get out of the chlorine smell out of it.

You need to clean equipment, and then sanitize it. If my equipment is already clean, all it needs is a rinse and then sanitizing. As far as "clean" goes, if it's clean to your eye and there isn't anything on it, then it's pretty clean. There isn't any reason to scrub clean equipment. A thorough cleaning after brewing or using equipment means it's pretty much ready to go next time, except for the sanitizing of course.

I've used several sanitizers over the years, from one-step (when it was still labeled as a sanitizer) to star-san and iodophor. I've used k-meta, too, but it's been so long I've forgotten the specifics. They all worked fine, so it's truly a matter of personal preference. Those I've listed are "no-rinse" which means that you sanitize, drain and go.

Many people like star-san because it foams- and you can see the spots you may have miised if they are foam-less. Some people don't like star-san because it foams and looks bad when you put your nice beer into it. Again, totally personal preference.
 

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Oh, I almost forgot about your bottles question. First of all, if the bottles need to be cleaned (because they weren't rinsed well, or you got them from a bar), then you can fill a tub/sink/basin with water and oxyclean, or that cleaner you have. Rinse them well, and use a bottle brush if you need to, to get them spotless. Now, if you have clean bottles already since you rinse them out immediately after using, all you have to do is a little cleaning. Eyeball them, to make sure nothing is inside and rinse the dust off of them.

Then, I use this:


You simply put sanitizer in the bowl, and push down with the bottle and it squirts a shot of sanitizer right in the bottle. Then, you place it on a bottle tree:


I can sanitize 50 bottles in less than 10 minutes. The key is start with clean bottles, by rinsing them right after use and of course allowing no one to drink out of the bottle!
 
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Hmm, thanks guys. It didn't cost that much so I don't really care, but it kind of irks me that the homebrew guy (a young kid) recommended it. I did my last batch with this stuff and it turned out all right so maybe I got lucky.

I'll see if they have some Starsan.

Thanks,
WW
It is the sanitizer of choice by wine makers. I used it when I made my batch of wine. I read about it in my wine kit. It said to use it in a solution mixed as 3 tbs to 5 gallons of water. I did some math and came up with 1 tsp per quart. (I'm going off memory on the conversion). I put it in a spray bottle. It seemed to work just fine although I haven't drank any of the wine yet. DO NOT SMELL TAKE A DEEP BREATH OR INHALE THE VAPORS. Supposedly it will burn the lungs right out of you.

For sanitizing my beer brewing equipment I use both Starsan and Iodophor. The Startsan I use for soaking, bottles, funnels and such. The Iodophor I use for spraying items with. I also use the Iodophor to sanitize my carboys. I dump the spray bottle in the carboy and slosh/roll it around in the carboy until I have it thoroughly coated. Then I dump it back into my spray bottle and let the carboy airdry.
 
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John Palmer also had something to say about the CTSP:

Trisodium Phosphate
Trisodium phosphate (TSP) and chlorinated TSP (CTSP) are very effective cleaners for post-fermentation brewing deposits and the chlorinated form is also a sanitizer. TSP and CTSP are becoming harder to find, but are still available at hardware stores in the paint section. (Painters use it for washing walls because it can be rinsed away completely.) The recommended usage is one tablespoon per gallon of hot water. Solutions of TSP and CTSP should not be left to soak for more than an hour because a white mineral film can sometimes deposit on glass and metal which requires an acid (vinegar) solution to remove. This is not usually a problem however.
 

Throckmorton

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I looked for TSP recently but couldn't find it at the hardware stores. Not sure many places carry it anymore.
 

SunyJim

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Just a bump to an old post for people looking for Cleaning and sanitizing information on Sani-Brew, Diversol BX/A, Pink powder sanitizer sold at most wine stores, CTSP Clorinated Trisodium Phosphate I keep reading so much wrong information about this stuff so I figured I would post it to give everyone some information. This stuff is widely used in the dairy and restaurant industries, it's cheap and widely available.

First this is a CLEANER and a SANITIZER and it works very well.

http://www.ravcor.ca/Resources/Diversol BX-A.pdf

It does NOT CORRODE STAINLESS STEEL or other soft metals, however don't soak aluminum or silver/silverplate in it for PROLONGED periods.
It is used in the dairy industry as a FOOD CONTACT SANITIZER and they use all stainless steel and plastic like we do in the home brew hobby.
As an example of it's food safety, it can even be used to wash vegetables in, though a rinse is required.
Depending on mixture this can be used to clean and destain things or as an INSTANT NO RINSE SANITIZER depending on mixed strength (see link for mixing strength for your usage.)
This is particularly effective against YEASTS and MOLDS which is what we look to kill in the beer industry. Even recommended by John Palmer http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2-1.html

One other thing I know it says Chlorinated in the title but it DOESN'T STAIN OR BLEACH CLOTHING because it is NOT BLEACH
http://barleylegal.ca/Articles/TheTruthAboutDiversol




yeah, I think that the cleaning solution won't sanitize but I'm not familiar with that product. I would think you'd have to rinse that product like crazy- you want to keep chlorine out of the brew. You can even sanitize with bleach and water, but you have to rinse like crazy, to get out of the chlorine smell out of it.

You need to clean equipment, and then sanitize it. If my equipment is already clean, all it needs is a rinse and then sanitizing. As far as "clean" goes, if it's clean to your eye and there isn't anything on it, then it's pretty clean. There isn't any reason to scrub clean equipment. A thorough cleaning after brewing or using equipment means it's pretty much ready to go next time, except for the sanitizing of course.

I've used several sanitizers over the years, from one-step (when it was still labeled as a sanitizer) to star-san and iodophor. I've used k-meta, too, but it's been so long I've forgotten the specifics. They all worked fine, so it's truly a matter of personal preference. Those I've listed are "no-rinse" which means that you sanitize, drain and go.

Many people like star-san because it foams- and you can see the spots you may have miised if they are foam-less. Some people don't like star-san because it foams and looks bad when you put your nice beer into it. Again, totally personal preference.
 

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Sorry to resurrect such an old thread, but I bought a homebrew kit (I can't remember where, it was one of the cheaper kits online) Any how, it came with a back of LD Carlson Easy Clean (No-Rinse Cleaner) I thought this was also a sanatizer (since it was no rinse) It wasn't until I opened up my 2 keg kit from Keg Connection and saw the bottle of star san that I started thinking UH OH! Reading their direction on for Brew Clean, I realized I screwed up. It's been 2 weeks now, and there isn't any mold growing on top of the beer, so I am hoping I am ok. Do you think, even thought there isn't any visible damage, it will effect the taste? Sorry, this is my first batch, and it went to easy, so I am expecting something bad to happen LOL
 

SunyJim

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Well Easy Clean doesn't seem to be a sanitizer. But brand new equipment that would likely have already been cleaned and sanitized, and you at least washed it clean again. I would have guessed on better than 50/50 that even if you didn't even wash the new gear you would have been fine. Two weeks later, I know it will be fine, it would have gone funny by now for sure.
With the CO2 the beer produces and the hops, it will turn out great. So don't worry this time, and make sure to clean thoroughly next time, then sanitize.
 

Conman2U

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Well Easy Clean doesn't seem to be a sanitizer. But brand new equipment that would likely have already been cleaned and sanitized, and you at least washed it clean again. I would have guessed on better than 50/50 that even if you didn't even wash the new gear you would have been fine. Two weeks later, I know it will be fine, it would have gone funny by now for sure.
With the CO2 the beer produces and the hops, it will turn out great. So don't worry this time, and make sure to clean thoroughly next time, then sanitize.
Thanks for the reply, It was new equipment, but I got it 6 months ago. I am a little more worried about air born nasties settling during that time. Oh well, what's done is done. Plan on kegging it next weekend, so we will soon see
 
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