Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: flbrewer on May 09, 2013, 08:06:28 AM

Title: PBW
Post by: flbrewer on May 09, 2013, 08:06:28 AM
Planning ahead to cleaning my carboy, how necessary is a cleaner like PBW? Save a lot of time and scrubbing? How different is PBW vs Oxiclean?

I've read PBW does most of the work for you, just fill up the carboy and let it sit, true?
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: denny on May 09, 2013, 08:09:18 AM
PBW contains a sufactant that makes it a bit more effective than Oxiclean IMO.  But Oxi works very well.  I find that filling with a couple Tbsp. of either along with hot water (DO NOT use hot water in carboys!) and letting it soak for a couple hours is all it takes.
Title: PBW
Post by: flbrewer on May 09, 2013, 08:12:53 AM
So no hot water in a glass carboy?
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: denny on May 09, 2013, 08:13:53 AM
So no hot water in a glass carboy?

Nope, not recommended.  Nothing more than warm.
Title: PBW
Post by: flbrewer on May 09, 2013, 08:22:40 AM
Shatter issue?
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 09, 2013, 08:25:49 AM
So no hot water in a glass carboy?

Nope, not recommended.  Nothing more than warm.

Never heard that before.  I've gotten rid of all my glass, but I'm pretty sure I used hot water in them for years.  Maybe not HOT, but hot enough.

With Better Bottles I definitely don't use hot water.

As far as cleaning, I've never used PBW.  I use Oxi Clean and unscented dishwasher detergent (Cascade or generic).  Sometimes together, sometimes not. A good soak with either removes everything.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: beersk on May 09, 2013, 09:13:03 AM
Hot tap water is fine for carboys. My tap water is 110F or so and that worked great when I used carboys. I'd call that hot.

You can make your own PBW mix with a 70/30 blend of Oxiclean and TSP/90 (The Red Devil kind found at Ace Hardware). Much cheaper and just as effective.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: denny on May 09, 2013, 09:49:00 AM
Shatter issue?

Yep.  Every carboy I have has something like "not for hot liquids" stamped on the bottom.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: denny on May 09, 2013, 09:52:07 AM
Hot tap water is fine for carboys. My tap water is 110F or so and that worked great when I used carboys. I'd call that hot.

Couple things to consider...

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=10052.5;wap2

Title: Re: PBW
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 09, 2013, 09:55:53 AM
Ultimately it was cracking one on the concrete floor that did it for me.  More accurately, the proximity of one of my children when I cracked the carboy.

I'll take risks with myself, but not with my kids.

Better Bottles and buckets will not shatter.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: tcanova on May 09, 2013, 10:07:36 AM
I found out the hard way that my tap water was >140 when it melted one of my Better Bottles.  That being said, I love PBW with warm water and let soak for about 30 minutes.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: corkybstewart on May 09, 2013, 10:56:28 AM
flbrewer, you're gona learn that there are as many ways to do anything as there are homebrewers trying to do it, but one thing we all agree on is that glass is very dangerous and you cannot be too careful around it.
Title: PBW
Post by: flbrewer on May 09, 2013, 11:03:36 AM
Well said corky. Good reminder that big shards of flying glass is not good.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: Jeff M on May 09, 2013, 12:27:37 PM
Ive always soaked my carboys with a little bleach and cool water when i want to get them super clean.  Id also suggest something like
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/carboy-cleaner.html

IT works the balls and is leaps and bounds ahead of a carboy brush.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: rjharper on May 09, 2013, 12:32:43 PM
Better Bottles ... will not shatter.

No but they will stress and crack at the most inopportune times spilling precious homebrew everywhere.  If I do plastic, its a nice thick walled bucket...
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 09, 2013, 12:43:22 PM
Better Bottles ... will not shatter.

No but they will stress and crack at the most inopportune times spilling precious homebrew everywhere.  If I do plastic, its a nice thick walled bucket...

While that has never happened to me in 10 years of use, I can't argue with your experience if it has happened to you.  There is the potential for mishaps with any piece of equipment.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: Jeff M on May 09, 2013, 12:48:17 PM
Most plastics i have experience with will crack when they have been warmed and cooled quickly too many times.  I think the main point here is no matter what material you use, it will have a failure story that is dangerous attached too it.  Just be cautious and aware and you can save you or someone you love a very dangerous experience.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: flbrewer on May 09, 2013, 01:40:27 PM
Saw a You Tube video about PBW vs. Oxiclean and the person stated that Oxi won't remove metals that will stick around like PBW will. Any truth to this?
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: jeffy on May 09, 2013, 03:23:16 PM
Well said corky. Good reminder that big shards of flying glass is not good.

My friend broke one while holding it upside down and draining it.  A rather large, sharp piece of the glass sliced into his wrist and he lost a lot of blood.  This makes me think twice every time I drain a carboy.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: HoosierBrew on May 09, 2013, 03:32:35 PM
Well said corky. Good reminder that big shards of flying glass is not good.

My friend broke one while holding it upside down and draining it.  A rather large, sharp piece of the glass sliced into his wrist and he lost a lot of blood.  This makes me think twice every time I drain a carboy.
+1.   I've seen one break and got cut cleaning it up fairly badly.  Having kids, SWMBO is happier when I use buckets and better bottles. Don't blame her. And my beer quality is certainly not suffering either.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: flbrewer on May 09, 2013, 03:35:52 PM
Yikes, since this post is turning into a glass vs. plastic carboy post, I'll keep it going...

1) is there any health issues with using plastic fermentors? Any discernible tastes of plastic in the beer?
2) Would plastic be a tougher material vs. glass to maintain temps in my Igloo fermentor? (water and ice in an Igloo cooler)

Title: Re: PBW
Post by: HoosierBrew on May 09, 2013, 03:45:00 PM
Yikes, since this post is turning into a glass vs. plastic carboy post, I'll keep it going...

1) is there any health issues with using plastic fermentors? Any discernible tastes of plastic in the beer?
2) Would plastic be a tougher material vs. glass to maintain temps in my Igloo fermentor? (water and ice in an Igloo cooler)


1/  No health issues if you use food grade,ie. LHBS fermenters.  However, a scratch in your bucket can harbor bacteria since plastic is porous. If the plastic takes on a smell that cannot be cleaned away, replace it. I replace a bucket after ~ 8 or 9 batches usually, not always.  I buy 8 gallon plastic wine fermenter buckets for ~ $17(love 'em), and better bottles for beers where I occasionally use a secondary (barleywine, fruit beer,etc).
2/   Not at all.
Title: PBW
Post by: denny on May 09, 2013, 05:37:51 PM
Yikes, since this post is turning into a glass vs. plastic carboy post, I'll keep it going...

1) is there any health issues with using plastic fermentors? Any discernible tastes of plastic in the beer?
2) Would plastic be a tougher material vs. glass to maintain temps in my Igloo fermentor? (water and ice in an Igloo cooler)


1/  No health issues if you use food grade,ie. LHBS fermenters.  However, a scratch in your bucket can harbor bacteria since plastic is porous. If the plastic takes on a smell that cannot be cleaned away, replace it. I replace a bucket after ~ 8 or 9 batches usually, not always.  I buy 8 gallon plastic wine fermenter buckets for ~ $17(love 'em), and better bottles for beers where I occasionally use a secondary (barleywine, fruit beer,etc).
2/   Not at all.

Ya know, I've heard that bacteria thing or years and I think it's hooey.  Not only have I never had a problem, but I have a hard time imagining bacteria could hide somewhere that PBW and StarSan couldn't get to.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: ynotbrusum on May 10, 2013, 04:36:13 AM
Yikes, since this post is turning into a glass vs. plastic carboy post, I'll keep it going...

1) is there any health issues with using plastic fermentors? Any discernible tastes of plastic in the beer?
2) Would plastic be a tougher material vs. glass to maintain temps in my Igloo fermentor? (water and ice in an Igloo cooler)


1/  No health issues if you use food grade,ie. LHBS fermenters.  However, a scratch in your bucket can harbor bacteria since plastic is porous. If the plastic takes on a smell that cannot be cleaned away, replace it. I replace a bucket after ~ 8 or 9 batches usually, not always.  I buy 8 gallon plastic wine fermenter buckets for ~ $17(love 'em), and better bottles for beers where I occasionally use a secondary (barleywine, fruit beer,etc).
2/   Not at all.

Ya know, I've heard that bacteria thing or years and I think it's hooey.  Not only have I never had a problem, but I have a hard time imagining bacteria could hide somewhere that PBW and StarSan couldn't get to.

I'm starting to think the same way....clean and sanitize well and there are no problems with plastic.  And my back thanks me...Just sayin'
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: klickitat jim on May 10, 2013, 04:51:46 AM
I see little if not no benefit to carboys. I use Cambro clear food grade buckets that are marked like a giant measuring cup in liters and quarts. I can see what's inside and I can reach inside. Infection free using soap and water and a soft rag, and starsan on brew day.
Title: PBW
Post by: flbrewer on May 10, 2013, 05:13:17 AM
I see little if not no benefit to carboys. I use Cambro clear food grade buckets that are marked like a giant measuring cup in liters and quarts. I can see what's inside and I can reach inside. Infection free using soap and water and a soft rag, and starsan on brew day.
Do you have to drill a hole in the lids, or are there ones for brewing available?
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: Jimmy K on May 10, 2013, 05:48:29 AM
FWIW, I've always used dish soap and a carboy brush. So its not necessary, but scrubbing is more work.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: hubie on May 10, 2013, 06:04:33 AM
Better Bottles ... will not shatter.

No but they will stress and crack at the most inopportune times spilling precious homebrew everywhere.  If I do plastic, its a nice thick walled bucket...

My LHBS has a Better Bottle on display with a crack at the bottom where the wall meets the bottom.  The crack apparently was due to chemical stress or some other environmental stress fracture.  It has a sign on it reminding you not to store chemicals (PBW, StarSan, etc.) for extended amounts of time; just clean and sanitize and get the chemicals out and let it dry.  Always put water in first, then the chemicals, etc.  I know I get lazy and let my carboy sit for days with PBW until I get around to cleaning it.  I guess if I ever replace them with Better Bottles I will have to make sure I am careful about that.

Title: Re: Re: PBW
Post by: klickitat jim on May 10, 2013, 06:43:34 AM

Do you have to drill a hole in the lids, or are there ones for brewing available?
[/quote]

I drill a hole for a small stopper/ airlock which also happens to fit a 1/2" blowoff tube. I drill a 1" hole about an inch from the bottom for a spigot. I get the buckets at cash n carry for I think about $12. Spigot is about $2 at homebrew shop.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 10, 2013, 06:53:34 AM
My LHBS has a Better Bottle on display with a crack at the bottom where the wall meets the bottom.  The crack apparently was due to chemical stress or some other environmental stress fracture.  It has a sign on it reminding you not to store chemicals (PBW, StarSan, etc.) for extended amounts of time; just clean and sanitize and get the chemicals out and let it dry.  Always put water in first, then the chemicals, etc.  I know I get lazy and let my carboy sit for days with PBW until I get around to cleaning it.  I guess if I ever replace them with Better Bottles I will have to make sure I am careful about that.

I've let mine sit and soak for days on end with no ill effects.   I am not using PBW, so maybe that's the difference.  I dunno.  I've had nothing but good with my BBs.

Ya know, I've heard that bacteria thing or years and I think it's hooey.  Not only have I never had a problem, but I have a hard time imagining bacteria could hide somewhere that PBW and StarSan couldn't get to.

I agree with this.  I've got one BB where I did not treat it quite right at first and I know it has scratches from a carboy brush.  With good sanititation, I've had no issues fermenting in it.

I did have one infected batch a couple of years ago, but I'm not certain it was this fermenter and one bad batch out of many is not enough for me to toss the fermenter.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: erockrph on May 11, 2013, 05:50:55 AM
My LHBS has a Better Bottle on display with a crack at the bottom where the wall meets the bottom.  The crack apparently was due to chemical stress or some other environmental stress fracture.  It has a sign on it reminding you not to store chemicals (PBW, StarSan, etc.) for extended amounts of time; just clean and sanitize and get the chemicals out and let it dry.  Always put water in first, then the chemicals, etc.  I know I get lazy and let my carboy sit for days with PBW until I get around to cleaning it.  I guess if I ever replace them with Better Bottles I will have to make sure I am careful about that.

I've let mine sit and soak for days on end with no ill effects.   I am not using PBW, so maybe that's the difference.  I dunno.  I've had nothing but good with my BBs.

I haven't put my BB's through a lot of use, but I have let them sit with PBW a couple of times for 2-3 days with no ill effect. Mixed it with hot (~120ish) tap water, too. This may be because I mix my PBW at a lower concentration (1 tsp per gallon instead of 1 Tbsp/gal) than recommended, so YMMV.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: joe_feist on May 31, 2013, 06:43:49 PM
I guess I have at least two or three of "all the above." I've never had a problem with a plastic bucket, scratches and bacteria. Don't know that it couldn't happen, but I try to clean well and always soak with iodophor on brew day (or bleach or whatever). I did break a glass carboy years ago and despite protests, SWMBO took me in for stitches. She was probably right. I still have and use glass, but very carefully because I own them. Kids are no longer an issue. They scare me enough with teenager antics. I do have a BB, too. It's great.

In short, I go to the buckets first. Light weight, easy to clean and they have a handle. If I use a secondary I go glass. Not often.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on June 01, 2013, 08:35:39 AM
I see little if not no benefit to carboys. I use Cambro clear food grade buckets that are marked like a giant measuring cup in liters and quarts. I can see what's inside and I can reach inside. Infection free using soap and water and a soft rag, and starsan on brew day.
Do you have to drill a hole in the lids, or are there ones for brewing available?
Those are nice square buckets. I have some for yeast management. No need to drill hole in the lid. Just get non sealing lid and you are fine.
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: bunderbunder on June 01, 2013, 09:13:40 AM
Back on the subject of cleaners, has anyone ever tried that powdered laundry detergent that Better Bottle recommends using on their website?
Title: Re: PBW
Post by: kramerog on June 01, 2013, 10:42:49 AM
Back on the subject of cleaners, has anyone ever tried that powdered laundry detergent that Better Bottle recommends using on their website?

I use the liquid 7th Generation detergent.  It is not very good at removing the crusty ring after fermentation.  It is better at removing the oil ring left by hops than PBW.