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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: anje on November 07, 2012, 02:51:33 PM

Title: Cleanup...
Post by: anje on November 07, 2012, 02:51:33 PM
Bottled a batch last night, scraped out some of the yeast cake for future use. Then comes that annoying time to clean out the buckets and equipment. I threw them in the bathtub and filled them with oxyclean solution. Long-term, I'd rather not have to clean my equipment in the same space as my toilet. 

What do you all do?

Also, any suggestions about that white oxyclean film I get on everything? Even soaking my bottles in a bucket of Starsan (which turns cloudy the moment it hits my water) barely gets it off.  Can I add a bunch of vinegar to the water, or will that affect the beer flavor?
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: euge on November 07, 2012, 03:03:56 PM
How long are you soaking for? Days? If you are getting a film from soaking too long then you need to wipe it off. Oxyclean is just a cleanser you can get a soft sponge and wipe any residue away and rinse. And I wouldn't use Oxyclean on my bottles anyway. If they are that gunked up you should be rinsing them as you go. You have a procedural or bad habit problem.

Buy distilled water to mix your starsan. It will last for a very long time that way.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: weithman5 on November 07, 2012, 03:12:24 PM
i usually will brew a 2nd or 3rd batch on top of the current yeast.  but when i clean it out i dump it down the disposal. use a plastic spatula to scrape the scale off and wash with dish soap and water.  i am usually cleaned up from one bottling session by the time my boil is done and cooled.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: anje on November 07, 2012, 03:13:18 PM
Just soaking for an hour or two, tops. The water here is seriously hard, though.

I do rinse as I go. My procedural problem is getting buddies to give me bottles. Last set had some nasty fuzzies in them, but I'm still too bottle-poor to throw them out.  That and living in an apartment that keeps having 6-inch slugs showing up indoors. 

After clean bottles have been sitting for a whie, I feel like I ought to clean them again. Maybe I'm just being obsessive?
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: a10t2 on November 07, 2012, 03:51:02 PM
Also, any suggestions about that white oxyclean film I get on everything?

When I lived in Lafayette I kept a spray bottle of isopropyl on hand.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: anje on November 07, 2012, 04:13:50 PM
Also, any suggestions about that white oxyclean film I get on everything?

When I lived in Lafayette I kept a spray bottle of isopropyl on hand.
That sounds like a plan. Lafayette water is what I'm dealing with. And no, I don't brew with it -- tastes too nasty.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: euge on November 07, 2012, 04:16:52 PM
I would cut off my "buddies" that didn't clean the bottles. If they don't respect what you are doing for them then they are out of the loop until they do.

Also, there is always a source for bottles even if you have to go looking in recycling bins to get them. Ask your neighbors for them...
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: denny on November 07, 2012, 04:32:48 PM
Also, any suggestions about that white oxyclean film I get on everything?

When I lived in Lafayette I kept a spray bottle of isopropyl on hand.
That sounds like a plan. Lafayette water is what I'm dealing with. And no, I don't brew with it -- tastes too nasty.

How much Oxiclean are you using?  I find 1-2 Tbsp. is plenty for a 7 gal. fermenter.  Using too much will exacerbate the film problem.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: anje on November 07, 2012, 04:38:06 PM
Also, any suggestions about that white oxyclean film I get on everything?
How much Oxiclean are you using?  I find 1-2 Tbsp. is plenty for a 7 gal. fermenter.  Using too much will exacerbate the film problem.
More than that. Maybe 1/4 - 1/3 cup for a 6.5gal fermenter. (I've been figuring about a Tbsp per gal, which is a figure I picked up somewhere. Then fudging it a bit.)  Sounds like I'm overdoing it.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: gmac on November 07, 2012, 04:42:35 PM
I find that even though I'm generally lazy, cleaning right away helps tremendously.  For pails, I would fill them with water and wash them out right away.  I wouldn't soak them in the tub. Fill them with water and let them soak on their own if you have to soak them.  I just use water and a bit of oxy clean.  For bottles, I wash them  (+1 on having friends rinse them first!) and then just before I use them I give them a quick rinse with a bottle washer and then into star-san.  I wouldn't give them an oxy clean wash a second time.  I just sprinkle a tsp full or so into the bucket while the water fills.

I hate carboys with a passion compared to buckets when it comes to cleaning.  I only use them when I have to or when I'm using Brett.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: denny on November 07, 2012, 04:46:16 PM
How much Oxiclean are you using?  I find 1-2 Tbsp. is plenty for a 7 gal. fermenter.  Using too much will exacerbate the film problem.
More than that. Maybe 1/4 - 1/3 cup for a 6.5gal fermenter. (I've been figuring about a Tbsp per gal, which is a figure I picked up somewhere. Then fudging it a bit.)  Sounds like I'm overdoing it.

Try cutting back.  It will reduce the film and save you some money.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on November 08, 2012, 05:51:41 PM
Also, any suggestions about that white oxyclean film I get on everything? Even soaking my bottles in a bucket of Starsan (which turns cloudy the moment it hits my water) barely gets it off.  Can I add a bunch of vinegar to the water, or will that affect the beer flavor?

Rinse with hot water in between cleaning with PBW/Oxiclean and sanitizing. PBW/Oxiclean is basic, StarSan is acidic, so if you don't rinse, you're neutralizing the Star-San. Star-San gets cloudy as it loses its effectiveness.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: khillje on November 08, 2012, 06:05:34 PM
Post brew cleaning is almost as painful as pre brew cleaning.  After brewing, I honestly just spray everything down with a hose to make my pre brew cleaning easier.  I store all my keggles, buckets, etc in my shed, so I need a serious pre brew cleaning every time either way.  I'm looking forward to getting a plate chiller as my next upgrade, so while the warmer exit water leaves the plate chiller, I'll attach a long hose to clean all my equipment.  Also, with the film issue, I take steel wool to the inside of my keggles about every 4-5 brews before the oxyclean and starsan.  This is obviously only helpful with steel equipment.  Wouldn't want to scar up an plastic, etc.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: morticaixavier on November 08, 2012, 06:08:55 PM
Post brew cleaning is almost as painful as pre brew cleaning.  After brewing, I honestly just spray everything down with a hose to make my pre brew cleaning easier.  I store all my keggles, buckets, etc in my shed, so I need a serious pre brew cleaning every time either way.  I'm looking forward to getting a plate chiller as my next upgrade, so while the warmer exit water leaves the plate chiller, I'll attach a long hose to clean all my equipment.  Also, with the film issue, I take steel wool to the inside of my keggles about every 4-5 brews before the oxyclean and starsan.  This is obviously only helpful with steel equipment.  Wouldn't want to scar up an plastic, etc.

why do you starsan your keggles? I honestly only scrub my kettle with a nylon grain bag (just cause I have it out for scrubbing plastic buckets anyway) after each brew and only really hit it with PBW or whatever if the beerstone starts to build up.

I also use my chilling water to clean up. collect it in an empty bucket or my cooler mashtun
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: denny on November 08, 2012, 06:20:21 PM
I take steel wool to the inside of my keggles about every 4-5 brews

Man, when I tried that (once!) I scratched the crap out of them.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: euge on November 08, 2012, 07:22:44 PM
I use a sponge with a green scrubbie side to go to work on my kettles when the hop and protein gunk builds from the boil. For the fermenters it is just best to clean them immediately once draining. Otherwise you'll be doing some real scrubbing there!

I rarely use oxyclean on my kettle or fermenters. I will use it on my kegs though.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: anje on November 08, 2012, 08:01:09 PM
Also, any suggestions about that white oxyclean film I get on everything? Even soaking my bottles in a bucket of Starsan (which turns cloudy the moment it hits my water) barely gets it off.  Can I add a bunch of vinegar to the water, or will that affect the beer flavor?

Rinse with hot water in between cleaning with PBW/Oxiclean and sanitizing. PBW/Oxiclean is basic, StarSan is acidic, so if you don't rinse, you're neutralizing the Star-San. Star-San gets cloudy as it loses its effectiveness.
I'll try that, as I've been inconsistent about rinsing after the Oxy step. Honestly, though, my tap water is basic enough that the Star-san is cloudy the moment I add water, in a well-rinsed bucket. (That stuff, I use immediately. For longer-term use and spray bottles, I mix my Star-san with distilled. But I'd rather not have to use gallons of the stuff for a quick bucket of sanitizer.)  If the water here were any harder, I'd have to switch to taking baths to avoid getting knocked out by rocks falling from the showerhead.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 08, 2012, 08:10:25 PM
.  Also, with the film issue, I take steel wool to the inside of my keggles about every 4-5 brews before the oxyclean and starsan. 

If you have stainless steel, don't use steel wool. You will abrade the surface and even end up with iron from the steel wool, that can cause rust spots.

A copper scrubie is better. The green scrub pads are better yet.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: davidgzach on November 09, 2012, 01:55:55 AM
I'm lucky to have a separate wash sink in my laundry room.  I spray off the gunk, put the bucket in the basin and fill it with a bleach solution.  It's perfectly white in an hour.  Spray the heck out of it with hot water and it's ready for the next batch.

I rinse out my kettle and like was said above, clean it every 4-5 batches with a sponge.  It's aluminum.

Dave
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: anje on November 09, 2012, 03:13:11 AM
I do have a potential trick for the bleach users. A little baking soda/bicarb in water kills the bleach-y smell immediately. Haven't tried it on the beer equipment yet, but I suspect it'd be enough to ensure there's no bandaid flavor without having to leave the plastic sitting in the sun for hours to de-stinkify.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: tschmidlin on November 09, 2012, 06:54:18 AM
.  Also, with the film issue, I take steel wool to the inside of my keggles about every 4-5 brews before the oxyclean and starsan. 

If you have stainless steel, don't use steel wool. You will abrade the surface and even end up with iron from the steel wool, that can cause rust spots.

A copper scrubie is better. The green scrub pads are better yet.
I use a blue scrubbie to get out the visible dirt and don't worry about the rest.  Every few years I have a need for a large amount of PBW, that's pretty much the only time they get it.  If the PBW from the keg washer doesn't look too bad at the end of the day I'll throw it in a kettle to sit, but only if I expect to be back in the brewery the next day.  They never look that bad though, maybe it's our low mineral water.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on November 09, 2012, 02:17:34 PM
.  Also, with the film issue, I take steel wool to the inside of my keggles about every 4-5 brews before the oxyclean and starsan. 

If you have stainless steel, don't use steel wool. You will abrade the surface and even end up with iron from the steel wool, that can cause rust spots.

A copper scrubie is better. The green scrub pads are better yet.
I use a blue scrubbie to get out the visible dirt and don't worry about the rest.  Every few years I have a need for a large amount of PBW, that's pretty much the only time they get it.  If the PBW from the keg washer doesn't look too bad at the end of the day I'll throw it in a kettle to sit, but only if I expect to be back in the brewery the next day.  They never look that bad though, maybe it's our low mineral water.
One guy in our club recommends the blue scrubbie too! He says it is a little softer than the green.
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: hubie on November 09, 2012, 02:42:00 PM
How long do you guys let PBW go?  When I'm done with bottles, whether they're my homebrew or commercial, I give them a quick rinse and set aside.  When enough have accumulated, I will fill one of those home center 5 gallon buckets with PBW solution and I will submerge as many bottles in there that I can (usually about a dozen).  The next day I'll pull them out, drain them back into the bucket, then do a few twists with a bottle brush, rinse them with a bottle jet, then put another batch of bottles in the bucket.  If the bottles were commercial, then the labels come off real easy this way.  Is there a feel for how long PBW is good?  There doesn't seem to be a quick test to tell, like the pH test for StarSan.  After a while, especially if there were a lot of commercial bottles with all the dissolved glue from the labels, the water gets pretty murky, but I'll gladly keep using it as long as I am confident that it is doing its job.  Right now I'm verifying its efficacy by visual inspection of the cleanliness of the bottle.

Another interesting thing I've noticed is that if I have a bottle that is only partially submerged, then right at the water line something starts to accumulate, like a mineral scale, and it does not want to wash off.  Thinking it might be some kind of caustic scale, I've soaked the bottles in a StarSan solution hoping it would dissolve, but it doesn't.  I have to use some kind of abrasive scrubber and really work to get it off; if it ends up around the bottle lip, then I usually just recycle the bottle instead of spending the effort needed to get it off.  Any ideas what that deposit is and how to easily remove it?  Is it PBW coming back out of solution?

Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: davidgzach on November 09, 2012, 07:49:07 PM
I do have a potential trick for the bleach users. A little baking soda/bicarb in water kills the bleach-y smell immediately. Haven't tried it on the beer equipment yet, but I suspect it'd be enough to ensure there's no bandaid flavor without having to leave the plastic sitting in the sun for hours to de-stinkify.

If there is a bleach-y smell, then it was not rinsed properly!  If you use bleach, you need to rinse very well with hot water.  Bleach rinses out entirely this way.  In 20 years, not one bandaid batch. 

Damn, just jinxed myself!

Dave
Title: Re: Cleanup...
Post by: tschmidlin on November 10, 2012, 06:52:57 AM
How long do you guys let PBW go?
I dump it when it's dirty.  But then I also leave kegs and carboys sitting and clean them in batches, so it is pretty much done for by the end of the day I made it.