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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: flbrewer on May 12, 2013, 11:30:10 PM

Title: Bottling prep
Post by: flbrewer on May 12, 2013, 11:30:10 PM
I have 2 cases of 22 oz bottles (new) that I'll need to clean and sanitize by next weekend. Please share your best practices and can I clean ahead of time? I don't have a bottle tree so drying is a concern. Do I need to fully submerge all of the bottles in star san or just spray with a bottle?
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: sparkleberry on May 12, 2013, 11:56:08 PM
my newest routine:

night before bottling- I make and chill priming solution, put all bottles into dishwasher and run sani wash without any detergent.

morning of bottling(I'm up really early)- sanitize caps and a spoon and tubes, rack star san into clean bucket to sanitize racking cane and tubes, pour priming solution into 1st bucket, rack beer into 1st bucket with priming solution and mix gently and let sit for 30 minutes. bottle away.

it's worked very well for me. but if you don't use dishwasher you do need to completely cover bottles with sanitizer. I used to have a full 5 gallon bucket of sanitizer and just drop in 12 bottles at a time for recommended contact time, star san a couple of minutes idophor 5 minutes if I remember correctly. since I've been mixing star san with distilled water I only make 2.5gallons and have it on hand for about a month month and a half. have had very high success doing this.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: euge on May 12, 2013, 11:57:47 PM
Submerging is best.

If you have a "sanitize" cycle feature and a dishwasher doing bottles is a snap. Just rinse them as you go or in batches like I usually end up doing. Store upside down in boxes. Then load them up and run them through a sanitize cycle on bottling day. No dishwasher? Submerge in one bucket and drain upside down in another. They stack up really easily that way.

Rinsing as you go is the key IMO. Don't let the gunk dry and mold in the bottles.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: sparkleberry on May 13, 2013, 12:01:25 AM
+1 yes! rinsing bottles well after use makes bottling much easier.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: sparkleberry on May 13, 2013, 12:03:38 AM
I only bottle and have had only a few bad bottles over the last 3.5 years of brewing. maybe one day I'll get a keg system, but I'm probably in the minority here because I really like the bottling process. it took a little time to refine my process but it works fine for me.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: skrag6713 on May 13, 2013, 01:26:17 AM
I would seriously consider getting a bottle tree and sulphiter and a jet bottle washer.  makes bottle washing a snap!!
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: cornershot on May 13, 2013, 01:30:22 AM
I have 2 cases of 22 oz bottles (new) that I'll need to clean and sanitize by next weekend. Please share your best practices and can I clean ahead of time? I don't have a bottle tree so drying is a concern. Do I need to fully submerge all of the bottles in star san or just spray with a bottle?


Don't use all 22 oz. bottles. Put at least a 6 pack or three in 12 oz. bottles for the few beers that you'll inevitably want to sample before it's fully conditioned. At the very least, have one 12 oz. (Or smaller)bottle for the end of bottling which will inevitably end up short of 22 oz.
I use an old dishwasher rack to dry bottles. Clean ahead of time, sanitize right before bottling. A little star san residue is no problem. I would skip the cleaning on the new bottles and just sanitize, but that's just me.
Don't forget the priming sugar like I did on my first batch! Well, I didn't forget it. I added it, boiled the caps, got distracted, boiled off all the water and burned the caps, had to wait til the next day to get new caps by which time the yeast consumed the priming sugar, and then bottled unprimed beer. Then I drank 2 cases of flat stout and loved it!
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: flars on May 13, 2013, 04:57:34 AM
I have 2 cases of 22 oz bottles (new) that I'll need to clean and sanitize by next weekend. Please share your best practices and can I clean ahead of time? I don't have a bottle tree so drying is a concern. Do I need to fully submerge all of the bottles in star san or just spray with a bottle?
My procedure with new bottles;
Dish washing soap and bottle brush on electric drill.  Removes manufacturing oils and warehouse dirt/dust. 
Rinsed with jet washer on faucet.  Store bottles upside down with bottle mouth on clean plastic wrap in carton.
On bottling day;  Few tablespoons of starsan solution in each bottle from gallon jug using a small funnel.  Shake well to fully wet inside.
Dump starsan from bottles into bucket for sanitizing other equipment.
Bottles are turned upside down in a drip rack I made by drilling holes in a board.
Bottle caps are sanitized in starsan solution.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: jamminbrew on May 13, 2013, 05:30:47 AM
Rinsing the bottles out as you go is key. Makes cleaning much easier.

Once my bottles are clean, I throw them into the oven at 250* for an hour. You can do this the night before, so they are all cooled. I do it in the morning, and while they are in the oven, I boil my priming sugar, and cool it, rack the beer into the bottling bucket, and whatever various things I need to do. Once the hour is up, I open the oven door up, and they cool quickly. Less than a half an hour. By the time they are cool, I am ready to go. In 2 1/2 years, never had an issue with infections.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 13, 2013, 12:44:53 PM
For used bottles, clean them, put foil over the opening, and then bake for an hour at 375. Turn the oven off and take them out the next day, they will be sterile.
Title: Bottling prep
Post by: flbrewer on May 13, 2013, 02:04:22 PM
Is there a need to sanitize (in the dishwasher) new bottles? Also, do I need to sanitize the cap crimping tool? How to go about placing the cap on the tool without possibly infecting with your hands?
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: theDarkSide on May 13, 2013, 02:16:44 PM
All bottles should be cleaned and sanitized, new or reused.  I drop my bottle caps in star san and then cap.  If they are wet, they are sanitized (let them soak for about 30 seconds).  There's no need to sanitize the emily capper. 

I place the sanitized cap on the bottle, doing several at a time, and then do each one with the capper.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: Jimmy K on May 13, 2013, 03:58:47 PM
If I were looking to buy a bottle tree, I'd probably get this instead. I have a red bottle tree and it takes up space and only holds 45 bottles. An inconvenient number since a 5 gallon batch is ~52 12oz bottles.
http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/ (http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/)
 
Otherwise, a spray with starsan will sanitize a clean hard surface, but spraying inside a bottle is hard. The submursible spray pumps are great for this. It's made to go on a bottle try, but I just put it in the sink.
http://morebeer.com/products/sanitizer-injector-red-bottle-tree.html (http://morebeer.com/products/sanitizer-injector-red-bottle-tree.html)
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: morticaixavier on May 13, 2013, 04:04:23 PM
For used bottles, clean them, put foil over the opening, and then bake for an hour at 375. Turn the oven off and take them out the next day, they will be sterile.

+1 for the oven method. I don't bother with the foil. I rinse the night before bottling day, pop them in the over and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or an hour or you know, whenever I remember to get up and turn off the oven. and leave them in there till bottling time. that oven and everything in it should be pretty close to sterile at that point.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 13, 2013, 04:22:52 PM
For used bottles, clean them, put foil over the opening, and then bake for an hour at 375. Turn the oven off and take them out the next day, they will be sterile.

+1 for the oven method. I don't bother with the foil. I rinse the night before bottling day, pop them in the over and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or an hour or you know, whenever I remember to get up and turn off the oven. and leave them in there till bottling time. that oven and everything in it should be pretty close to sterile at that point.
The foil I'd for longer term storage. I do a case of bottles at a time in the oven, so not all get used soon.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 13, 2013, 04:28:27 PM
If I were looking to buy a bottle tree, I'd probably get this instead. I have a red bottle tree and it takes up space and only holds 45 bottles. An inconvenient number since a 5 gallon batch is ~52 12oz bottles.
http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/ (http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/)

The bottle tree was a huge leap forward for me in terms of convenience, but they sure do take up space.

I tend to leave it out and fill it with rinsed empties as I go.  Every now and then I'll box those up and try to clear space.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: morticaixavier on May 13, 2013, 04:50:38 PM
For used bottles, clean them, put foil over the opening, and then bake for an hour at 375. Turn the oven off and take them out the next day, they will be sterile.

+1 for the oven method. I don't bother with the foil. I rinse the night before bottling day, pop them in the over and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or an hour or you know, whenever I remember to get up and turn off the oven. and leave them in there till bottling time. that oven and everything in it should be pretty close to sterile at that point.
The foil I'd for longer term storage. I do a case of bottles at a time in the oven, so not all get used soon.

gotcha
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: erockrph on May 14, 2013, 03:11:09 PM
Immediately after I pour a beer I rinse it in hot water until there is no foam/color/smell. I then inspect the bottle for anything that wouldn't rinse off and hit it with a bottle brush if needed. They air dry and I store them in empty cases or 6-packs loosely covered with a lid or foil.

On bottling day I use the dishwasher method. I run a rinse cycle on my empty dishwasher to get any residue of detergents rinsed out. Then I load it with bottles. I run a rinse cycle first (probably not necessary), then I run the Sanitize cycle. My kitchen is laid out pretty nicely for me to bottle sitting on the floor. I have my dishwasher in front of me, my bottling bucket on the island behind me, and I'm sitting on the floor on a towel (the towel is very important - you WILL spill beer). I have a small cup with Star San on the door of the dishwasher that I use to sanitize my caps.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: garc_mall on May 14, 2013, 03:25:10 PM
the towel is very important - you WILL spill beer

I am sure I am not the first person to come up with this, but I did come up with it independently. I fill my bottles inside a cookie sheet. then I can just pick up the cookie sheet, toss it in the sink, and not worry about any sticky beer residue on the floor (which drives my wife crazy).
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: weithman5 on May 14, 2013, 03:46:39 PM
i usually use a dishwasher as above, however i have the racks from an old dishwasher that i will put bottles on  if i am using star san.  the rack goes on a towel on the counter.
Title: Bottling prep
Post by: flbrewer on May 14, 2013, 03:51:38 PM
Is this dishwasher method to clean just to save time? Wouldn't soap and water work? I've used a very mild "green" liquid dish soap to clean all equipment so far. Would this work for bottles?
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 14, 2013, 03:56:13 PM
the towel is very important - you WILL spill beer

I am sure I am not the first person to come up with this, but I did come up with it independently. I fill my bottles inside a cookie sheet. then I can just pick up the cookie sheet, toss it in the sink, and not worry about any sticky beer residue on the floor (which drives my wife crazy).

I've been using a big square tupperware thing.  It'll comfortably hold between 6 and 8 bottles with room to maneuver.  I'm filling off a keg, so sometimes I get a fair bit of foaming before I get the caps on.  I'm almost ashamed to admit that I've poured the spilled beer into a cup and enjoyed it...
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: Jimmy K on May 14, 2013, 04:28:51 PM
I tried to drink the last few ounces out of my bottling bucket last night.
 
Note: bottling buckets are too wide to make good cups.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 14, 2013, 04:36:51 PM
I tried to drink the last few ounces out of my bottling bucket last night.
 
Note: bottling buckets are too wide to make good cups.

But racking canes can double as straws!
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: erockrph on May 14, 2013, 04:45:36 PM
Is this dishwasher method to clean just to save time? Wouldn't soap and water work? I've used a very mild "green" liquid dish soap to clean all equipment so far. Would this work for bottles?

The dishwasher is to sanitize, not clean. I clean the bottles first before storing them, and use the dishwasher to sanitize the day of. It works best for my schedule on bottling day. I load the dishwasher when I get home from work, then go pick up my son from preschool. Later on after I put my son to bed the bottles are ready to go. Since I don't need to sanitize them I can just pull them out of the dishwasher one-by-one as I'm bottling. Once I get a good rhythm going I can bottle a case in about 15 minutes, give or take.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: morticaixavier on May 14, 2013, 04:49:13 PM
Is this dishwasher method to clean just to save time? Wouldn't soap and water work? I've used a very mild "green" liquid dish soap to clean all equipment so far. Would this work for bottles?

you want to avoid soap as much as possible because it can be very difficult to rinse thoroughly. and if not rinsed well it could cause head retention problems down the road.

for almost all cleaning I recommend a softly abrasive cloth and hot water immediately after use. For stubborn stuck on debris its PBW or Oxiclean.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: joe_feist on May 14, 2013, 04:57:15 PM
I typically sanitize in iodophor, stack on my bottling tree and then begin bottling. I've not tried to break things up, but see where that could be more convenient. With my schedule, though, I'm usually bottling during the week and brewing when ever I get a free Saturday or Sunday. My two teenage boys really monopolize the weekends with sports, scouts, etc. So, even though it's a longer sessions it is the time I have available. maybe I'm just getting quicker with practice.

I'm starting to like the oven idea a lot.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: Jimmy K on May 14, 2013, 05:14:21 PM
Some dishwashers have a sanitize setting that super-heats the water to kill bugs. It won't work in a dishwasher with regular hot water.
 
My problem is that I usually just filled the dishwasher while clearing the counter for bottling equipment.
Title: Bottling prep
Post by: flbrewer on May 14, 2013, 05:57:18 PM
Got it, so people are using dishwashers to sanitize in place of a product like Star San.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: erockrph on May 14, 2013, 06:17:56 PM
Got it, so people are using dishwashers to sanitize in place of a product like Star San.

Bingo. Like it was mentioned before, just make sure your dishwasher has a true "Sanitize" setting. Hot water isn't hot enough to kill any bugs.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: leejoreilly on May 14, 2013, 06:32:03 PM
If I were looking to buy a bottle tree, I'd probably get this instead. I have a red bottle tree and it takes up space and only holds 45 bottles. An inconvenient number since a 5 gallon batch is ~52 12oz bottles.
http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/ (http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/)
 
My bottle tree is expandable; just unscrew the top hub/handle and screw on another "wheel" of nine drying "branches". When I got it, it had five wheels that could hold 45 bottles; I added another to get to 54 to handle a 5 gallon batch.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: Jimmy K on May 14, 2013, 06:33:46 PM
If I were looking to buy a bottle tree, I'd probably get this instead. I have a red bottle tree and it takes up space and only holds 45 bottles. An inconvenient number since a 5 gallon batch is ~52 12oz bottles.
http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/ (http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/)

My bottle tree is expandable; just unscrew the top hub/handle and screw on another "wheel" of nine drying "branches". When I got it, it had five wheels that could hold 45 bottles; I added another to get to 54 to handle a 5 gallon batch.
I've been wanting to do that, but can't find single "layers" for sale. Do you know where to get them?
Title: Bottling prep
Post by: flbrewer on May 14, 2013, 06:37:43 PM
Got it, so people are using dishwashers to sanitize in place of a product like Star San.

Bingo. Like it was mentioned before, just make sure your dishwasher has a true "Sanitize" setting. Hot water isn't hot enough to kill any bugs.
Why is using the dishwasher a better idea that Starsan? Seems much faster to just submerge in a bucket for a couple of minutes.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: repo on May 14, 2013, 06:39:23 PM
If I were looking to buy a bottle tree, I'd probably get this instead. I have a red bottle tree and it takes up space and only holds 45 bottles. An inconvenient number since a 5 gallon batch is ~52 12oz bottles.
http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/ (http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/)

My bottle tree is expandable; just unscrew the top hub/handle and screw on another "wheel" of nine drying "branches". When I got it, it had five wheels that could hold 45 bottles; I added another to get to 54 to handle a 5 gallon batch.
I've been wanting to do that, but can't find single "layers" for sale. Do you know where to get them?

http://www.austinhomebrew.com/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=bottle+tree     
Austin homebrew supply.
 
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: leejoreilly on May 14, 2013, 06:47:48 PM
If I were looking to buy a bottle tree, I'd probably get this instead. I have a red bottle tree and it takes up space and only holds 45 bottles. An inconvenient number since a 5 gallon batch is ~52 12oz bottles.
http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/ (http://thefastrack.ca/homebrew/)

My bottle tree is expandable; just unscrew the top hub/handle and screw on another "wheel" of nine drying "branches". When I got it, it had five wheels that could hold 45 bottles; I added another to get to 54 to handle a 5 gallon batch.

I've been wanting to do that, but can't find single "layers" for sale. Do you know where to get them?

I got mine from my LHBS (where I bought the original tree) here in SE Michigan a couple of years ago. Seems to me it was only a few of bucks for the additional piece.

Here's an example - not exactly like mine, but same idea:
http://morebeer.com/products/bottle-tree-addon-ring-9-posts.html
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: erockrph on May 14, 2013, 06:49:47 PM
Got it, so people are using dishwashers to sanitize in place of a product like Star San.

Bingo. Like it was mentioned before, just make sure your dishwasher has a true "Sanitize" setting. Hot water isn't hot enough to kill any bugs.
Why is using the dishwasher a better idea that Starsan? Seems much faster to just submerge in a bucket for a couple of minutes.

I don't know if it's better for everyone. Like most things in homebrewing, it's just one way to do things that happens to work well for me.
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: drjones on May 14, 2013, 07:28:01 PM
Quote
Why is using the dishwasher a better idea that Starsan? Seems much faster to just submerge in a bucket for a couple of minutes.
I've heard some horror stories from a local HBS about dishwasher sanitizing.  In this case, a guy was having sanitation issues from an unknown source - until they did a culture on the insides of his dishwasher and got all sorts of scary stuff growing on the plate.  I'm sure this depends a lot on the dishwasher - is it new, stainless, does it have a real sanitizing cycle?
I'm a bottle-only guy, and have probably capped at least 1200 in the past year.  Personally, I soak re-used bottles in oxyclean or PBW for a couple of days, bottle brush as needed, rinse, dry, store, then soak again in a tub of starsan on bottling day.  I'll sometimes use the dishwasher to rinse after a cleaning soak, but I always go with the starsan soak before bottling.  I have a classic (non-spraying) bottling tree, and can't imagine bottling without it.  The caps are dumped in a bowlful of starsan beside me on the floor, then the fun begins. 
Title: Re: Bottling prep
Post by: tomsawyer on May 14, 2013, 08:25:59 PM
I don't sanitize caps and haven't had any problems.  The O2 absorbing caps have some metabisulfite in them.