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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: snowtiger87 on July 25, 2013, 02:10:27 PM

Title: Clean your bottles !
Post by: snowtiger87 on July 25, 2013, 02:10:27 PM
I discovered last night during a bottling session that my previous routine of rinsing a bottle out after opening a beer is woefully inadequate. I started inspecting the bottles with a light and half of them were still very dirty. They had a film that covered the inside, a ring at the top, yeast spots, or all 3. Mind you I have been reusing these bottles for years and entering, and winning many competitions with beers in these bottles. I am surprised all the beers were not infected. Most of them were higher alcohol Belgian beers so maybe that helped keep infection down.

After coming to this revelation last night I proceeded to put hot PBW in each bottle, shake it vigorously, then clean it with a bottle brush before rinsing it and giving it a few sanitzer quirts (from my bottle tree attachment). So, at least the two batches of beer I bottled last night a were in nice clean bottles.  ;)
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: Joe Sr. on July 25, 2013, 02:47:25 PM
I've seen this in some of my bottles recently, too.  They look clean on a cursory inspection, but not under a good light.  These were champagne bottles that had held a variety of strong Belgians and/or saisons.

Sadly, I really only noticed when I put one that I thought was clean on a bottle washer and stuff kept coming out.

A good long soak brought them nice and clean.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: fmader on July 26, 2013, 06:39:56 AM
Hmmm interesting... I've always poured a beer and rinse the bottle. I get the bottle about a quarter of the way full, cover the top with my thumb, and shake the bajeezus out of it, then rinse again. The bottles got into a "dirty bottle" stash before that pile gets out of hand... Then they will get soaked from anywhere from 6-24 hours in oxiclean. They get rinsed again and dried. Before bottling, I sanitize my bottles in the dish washer with high heat. I've never had any issues, and I've never thought about using a brush... Maybe I will now after reading this.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: Joe Sr. on July 26, 2013, 07:27:33 AM
Then they will get soaked from anywhere from 6-24 hours in oxiclean.

This should take care of the film. 

Typically, I rinse clean and let them dry.  Check them and sanitize prior to bottling.  The oxyclean soak isn't something I've typically been doing bottles that appear visually clean.  It appears to be needed more regularly.  FWIW, the beer that left the film had been bottled for years and the saison definitely had gotten oxidized and funky.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: beersk on July 26, 2013, 08:16:58 AM
Triple rinse after pouring is my method. Fill it about a quarter of the way, shake, empty, repeat 2 more times. Seems to work well.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: micsager on July 26, 2013, 08:33:37 AM
Triple rinse after pouring is my method. Fill it about a quarter of the way, shake, empty, repeat 2 more times. Seems to work well.

+1, but then I send through the dishwasher with no soap, just PBW.  then a rinse cycle, then sanitize prior to filling. 
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: erockrph on July 26, 2013, 08:56:30 AM
Triple rinse after pouring is my method. Fill it about a quarter of the way, shake, empty, repeat 2 more times. Seems to work well.

I do this. I basically rinse/shake/empty/repeat until the rinse water runs clear, then rinse one more time. Still, the OP's finding makes me want to do a QC check on a dozen bottles or so to ensure that I'm not missing anything.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: bluesman on July 26, 2013, 09:48:14 AM
My process of recycling beer bottles

Immediately upon finishing a beer, follow this process.

1. Hot rinse 3X then store covered until ready for bottling
2. hot PBW soak
3. hot rinse
4. starsan soak
5. drain on bottle tree or equivalent
6. fill/cap
7. carbonate
8. chill
9. drink
10. go to step 1 and repeat
11. :)
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: chezteth on July 26, 2013, 10:40:48 AM
My process of recycling beer bottles

Immediately upon finishing a beer, follow this process.

1. Hot rinse 3X then store covered until ready for bottling
2. hot PBW soak
3. hot rinse
4. starsan soak
5. drain on bottle tree or equivalent
6. fill/cap
7. carbonate
8. chill
9. drink
10. go to step 1 and repeat
11. :)

+1 this is basically what I do as well. But now I may take a bright flashlight and check some bottles to be sure they really are clean.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: duncan on July 26, 2013, 11:12:14 AM
I am not good about rinsing out my bottles, and neither are my friends or roommate, so I always do a long soak in oxyclean and warm water a few days before bottling. Then I "power wash" them with one of those spring-loaded bottle/carboy washers that screws onto the sink. This usually gets all the chunks and stains out, but I always inspect in front of a light before moving to sanitation. If they still look grimy, back into the soak they go and repeat.

Haven't had any infection issues from bottles since I got the power washer.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: euge on July 26, 2013, 03:32:12 PM
Triple rinse after pouring is my method. Fill it about a quarter of the way, shake, empty, repeat 2 more times. Seems to work well.

I do this. I basically rinse/shake/empty/repeat until the rinse water runs clear, then rinse one more time. Still, the OP's finding makes me want to do a QC check on a dozen bottles or so to ensure that I'm not missing anything.

Me too. I scrutinize each bottle and can tell if there is anything left in there by the way the water behaves.

Once the bottles are thoroughly rinsed and stored upside down in boxes I can utilize the sanitize feature on the DW with water only on any given bottling day. Even if I haven't touched the bottles in six months.

Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: rickyk76 on August 11, 2013, 02:25:13 PM
Hmmm interesting... I've always poured a beer and rinse the bottle. I get the bottle about a quarter of the way full, cover the top with my thumb, and shake the bajeezus out of it, then rinse again. The bottles got into a "dirty bottle" stash before that pile gets out of hand... Then they will get soaked from anywhere from 6-24 hours in oxiclean. They get rinsed again and dried. Before bottling, I sanitize my bottles in the dish washer with high heat. I've never had any issues, and I've never thought about using a brush... Maybe I will now after reading this.

This is exactly what I do with the addition of a StarSan rinse right before bottling and *knock in wood* never had any issues.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: reverseapachemaster on August 14, 2013, 07:03:50 AM
I am not the best with cleaning my bottles after emptying them but I always check before refilling. If it doesn't look clean in the light then I don't use it. Instead it goes back to the sink for a more detailed cleaning and then it goes back in the stock for use in the future. If the bottle passes the visual test it gets a rinse to get out any dust and then hit with star-san.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: narvin on August 14, 2013, 07:22:04 AM
I usually put 1/4 tsp of pbw and hot water in bottles after a night of drinkin and let them soak overnight before i rinse. 
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: Pi on August 18, 2013, 11:38:12 AM
Man, i get the same ring thing in the necks. Bottle washing is such a pain; most dreaded chore in the whole craft.What causes the ring? I was wondering if it might be iodophor residue.  I have tried to pare down my used bottles, and having so many different types isnt a help either. I wish ther was an easier way.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: mugwort on August 18, 2013, 09:17:57 PM
Man, i get the same ring thing in the necks. Bottle washing is such a pain; most dreaded chore in the whole craft.What causes the ring? I was wondering if it might be iodophor residue.  I have tried to pare down my used bottles, and having so many different types isnt a help either. I wish ther was an easier way.

That ring is frequently organic material.  With my bottles, brett and wild ales tend to leave rings, but so do some clean beers, such as certain long bottle-aged batches.

Removing this ring (and other debris) is easy as long as you have a safe place to let your bottles stand for a few days.  For me, that's the tiled laundry room counter.

I put a small amount of bleach in each bottle and then fill the rest of the way with water.  Forget about them for a week and then empty them, rinse and invert to dry.  Do this as bottles become available, and you have a nice clean supply of bottles at your command.

Of course, gotta keep kids and pets away.  And it helps with my wife that I volunteered for permanent laundry duty.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: hb_wood_products on August 19, 2013, 11:19:25 PM
I guess I've been lucky. Rinse well after use. Run them through the dishwasher - has "sani-temp" no heat dry. store upside down in box until brewday. One-Step sanitizer soak before bottling. We put an eye on them at each step and we may have one or two culls that have to go back through again.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: EThome on August 21, 2013, 11:10:32 AM
I have typically done a good vigorous rinse (2 - 3X) as described by several already right after pouring and stored them until the next bottling day. The day before bottling, I usually run them all through the hot rinse in the dishwasher on a spare bottom rack for the outsides, then do a hard and hot rinse with a jet bottle washer for the inside. Lastly I fill them all with a StarSan solution with the bottle filler and then drain the StarSan back into the bucket and place them upside down back on the spare dishwasher rack.

Maybe every third time or so I will soak them in a utility sink filled with PBW laced water in lieu of the dishwasher rinse. Occasionally/rarely during this I'll notice scraps of film when I drain the PBW out of a bottle or two.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: klickitat jim on August 21, 2013, 11:59:39 AM
Been a while since I've bottled but usually I scrub inside and out in hot soapy water. I use no fragrance natural soap. Rinse well and dry. Then on bottle day I soak in no rinse starsan and drip dry on a bottle tree. Never came close to any problems
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: rjberry on August 21, 2013, 12:13:25 PM
My process of recycling beer bottles

Immediately upon finishing a beer, follow this process.

1. Hot rinse 3X then store covered until ready for bottling
2. hot PBW soak
3. hot rinse
4. starsan soak
5. drain on bottle tree or equivalent
6. fill/cap
7. carbonate
8. chill
9. drink
10. go to step 1 and repeat
11. :)

Yep, that's it!  I do this minus the PBW, just store them clean and sanitize with Starsan.  I keep a spray bottle of Starsan under my sink too and try to hit them after the initial rinse most of the time too.  I have enough bottles now that when I come across a dirty one prior to bottling I toss it in the recycling bin(and curse the person who did a lousy job rinsing it.......couldn't have been me!)
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: sharg54 on October 04, 2013, 03:42:46 PM
Ive been bottling from day one because I don't feel Keging is practical for me. Taking a keg to a friends house is a bit of a pain. Like a lot of the ppl here I do the old shake and dump to clean out my bottles with the water as hot as my thumb will stand. I have noticed they have a tendency to cloud up after a time especially with porters and stouts. Just take your bottle brush and give it a good scrub about every 3 or so fills. Don't let them sit until later to clean them out. Once you empty it clean it out. If you let it sit it will film up and be harder to keep clean. Ive been using the same 12 oz bottles for about 2 years now and they are just as clear as day one. You don't need all the fancy cleaners just some Dawn dish soap and a brush with a good blast from a bottle cleaner to clear the soap works fine when they start to crud up. Get the water as hot as you can stand it and save a few bucks.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: greatplainsbrewer on October 04, 2013, 03:48:22 PM
Rinse and drain.  PBW soak on brew day- I already have my mlt full of PBW.  Rinse and drain.  When dry, cover each bottle with a foil square and bake at 350 F for 1hour.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: hubie on October 07, 2013, 07:21:04 AM
You don't need all the fancy cleaners just some Dawn dish soap and a brush with a good blast from a bottle cleaner to clear the soap works fine when they start to crud up. Get the water as hot as you can stand it and save a few bucks.

I depends upon the nature of the gunk you are trying to get rid of and how much effort you want to put in.  Dish soap only contains dispersants and surfactants, which means that once the gunk has been lifted from the surface they can take it away, but they aren't good at lifting the gunk in the first place (which is why you need to scrub the surfaces).  What makes the fancy cleansers fancy is that they have stuff in it like sodium percarbonate which goes right after the organic gunk.  If you want to go cheap, you can go with powdered dishwasher detergent or a generic brand of Oxiclean (or Straight-A or One-Step, etc.), but those would have different percentages of percarbonates and such in them which means you'd need to use a bit more than you would with PBW or Oxiclean, or you need to soak it a bit longer.  Bleach is another inexpensive option, but you want to make sure you are using it correctly so that it is effective and safe to you and your brewing equipment.  You won't get rid of organic films with dish soap without a heck of a lot of scrubbing, and if you have mineral deposits, that is a whole different beast to attack.

One of the early Brew Strong episodes had a great interview with Charlie Tally of Five Star Chemicals.  He did a really good job talking about all of the different kinds of cleaners and how best to use them.  He covered the best ways to use bleach very well in either that episode, or one that I recall from Basic Brewing Radio.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: beersk on October 07, 2013, 01:48:08 PM
Ive been bottling from day one because I don't feel Keging is practical for me. Taking a keg to a friends house is a bit of a pain.
Filling a growler quick off the tap is a huge pain?
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: davidgzach on October 07, 2013, 04:38:42 PM
Rinse 2-3 times after use and then in the dishwasher on sanitize cycle with a tablespoon of B-Brite. 

Never a problem and cleans the dishwasher real nice too!

Dave
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: Jarhno on October 10, 2013, 10:56:07 AM
Triple rinse after pouring is my method. Fill it about a quarter of the way, shake, empty, repeat 2 more times. Seems to work well.

This is what I have been doing as well, and I believe that I read this technique in Palmer's How To Brew.

After reading everyone's response, is it pretty accepted that that method is inadequate?
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: morticaixavier on October 10, 2013, 12:44:57 PM
Triple rinse after pouring is my method. Fill it about a quarter of the way, shake, empty, repeat 2 more times. Seems to work well.

This is what I have been doing as well, and I believe that I read this technique in Palmer's How To Brew.

After reading everyone's response, is it pretty accepted that that method is inadequate?

it's perfectly adequate... until it isn't. I have not had a problem with the rinse right after use method but I don't really re-use bottles over and over. If it held sour beer I just recycle it. Saison yeast also tends to coat the bottle really really well. All that being said, if you sterilize your bottles in the over before use the beer is not going to get infected from any residue left inside the bottle. possible flavor effects are a different story though.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: TrippleRippleBrewer on November 13, 2013, 11:01:32 AM
Ive been bottling from day one because I don't feel Keging is practical for me. Taking a keg to a friends house is a bit of a pain.
Filling a growler quick off the tap is a huge pain?

You beat me to it. I like bottles but....
In my opinion NOTHING about kegging makes it less practical or more work than bottling.
My beer is better than it ever was in bottles, it lasts longer, and it is so much easier to deal with packaging I can't say enough good things about kegging. It changed the hobby for me dramatically and I'll never go back. This topic was reminder for me of staring through bottles looking for junk on the bottoms or in the neck and all the PBW I used to go through soaking them. So glad to be done with that I hated it.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: beersk on November 13, 2013, 01:51:54 PM
Ive been bottling from day one because I don't feel Keging is practical for me. Taking a keg to a friends house is a bit of a pain.
Filling a growler quick off the tap is a huge pain?

You beat me to it. I like bottles but....
In my opinion NOTHING about kegging makes it less practical or more work than bottling.
My beer is better than it ever was in bottles, it lasts longer, and it is so much easier to deal with packaging I can't say enough good things about kegging. It changed the hobby for me dramatically and I'll never go back. This topic was reminder for me of staring through bottles looking for junk on the bottoms or in the neck and all the PBW I used to go through soaking them. So glad to be done with that I hated it.

True, but I wouldn't have a problem going back to bottling if my kegerator died. I've been wanting to brew smaller batches anyway...bottling 2.5 gallons would be easy and you'd get a case out of it...more variety! I like the idea of beer lasting only a couple weeks instead of months. Five gallons is too much for me. But, I still keg 3 gallons in 5 gallon kegs, so no biggie. Kegging is just expensive; that's the only real downside.
Title: Re: Clean your bottles !
Post by: Upstate Dan on November 13, 2013, 02:23:18 PM
Kegging is by far more convenient, but I wouldn't say it's a slam dunk that it's "better" than bottling. I keg my house beers. Anything new and exciting that I want to share, bring to club meetings, or enter into competitions I bottle.

On the carbonation side, I know that scientifically speaking all dissolved CO2 is equal, but I perceive a better mouthfeel with bottled beers.

On my cleaning routine I also sprinkle in a tiny bit of Oxyclean right after drinking, shake up, rinse, and dry.