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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: kingofgix on January 26, 2011, 02:47:11 AM

Title: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: kingofgix on January 26, 2011, 02:47:11 AM
Hey, first post!  Just found the site today.

I always clean my bottles with Five Star PWB granules.  Is it necessary to sterilize them?  I always do before bottling, but with freshly cleaned bottles, I'm wondering if the beer itself isn't sterilization enough?  The biggest drawback to homebrewing is all the cleaning and sterilizing.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: Hokerer on January 26, 2011, 02:59:50 AM
You meant PBW, right?  Powdered Brewery Wash is a cleanser.  A cleanser is for getting all the physical "gunk" off of the bottles.  No matter how clean you get the bottles, though, you still need to sanitize (not sterilize) them.  That's where you could use something like Starsan.  In fact, if you're meticulous about rinsing out your bottles immediately after use, you may not need to clean them any more than that.  You'll still want to sanitize them, though.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: kingofgix on January 26, 2011, 03:13:50 AM
Yes, PBW.  And I sanitize with Starsan, but I hadn't made the distinction between sterilizing and sanitizing.  Anyway, I was wondering why the alcohol in the beer itself wouldn't do the job - especially if the % alcohol was say 6 or above which my beers usually are?  Not arguing the point, but just wondering.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: bluesman on January 26, 2011, 03:20:25 AM
Sanitizing is all that is necessary. The bottles should be clean and free of any dirt, grime or soap scum. PBW is a good oxidizer. After cleaning the bottles they must be sanitized using an appropriate sanitizing solution. I prefer to use Starsan solution. I immerse the bottles in a solution of starsan and drip dry on a bottle tree just prior to bottling. So clean and sanitized bottles are required for bottling beer. Sterilizing bottles is overkill IMO.

Kegging is so much easier than bottling. Once you start kegging you'll never want to bottle again.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: geo1267 on January 26, 2011, 03:26:41 AM
Agree with hokerer, just rinse the bottles immediately and they should not any more cleaning. Just sanitize them. I just run the bottles through my home dishwasher on its sanitizing rinse cycle, no detergent or rinse aid. I have not had any problems with this method.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: tschmidlin on January 26, 2011, 08:12:25 AM
Anyway, I was wondering why the alcohol in the beer itself wouldn't do the job - especially if the % alcohol was say 6 or above which my beers usually are?  Not arguing the point, but just wondering.
Because it's not high enough alcohol to prevent beer spoilage organisms from growing.  The low pH and ABV of the beer helps, but it's no guarantee.  If they are new bottles many professional breweries just rinse with plain water and go, but in reused bottles I doubt any would do that.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: euge on January 26, 2011, 08:25:03 AM
Agree with hokerer, just rinse the bottles immediately and they should not any more cleaning. Just sanitize them. I just run the bottles through my home dishwasher on its sanitizing rinse cycle, no detergent or rinse aid. I have not had any problems with this method.
^^^^
I simply prepped the last two batches' bottles with the "sanitize" feature my dishwasher has and crossed my fingers. No signs of infection though I cannot vouch for long term.  ;D

Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: Mark G on January 26, 2011, 03:27:34 PM
Agree with hokerer, just rinse the bottles immediately and they should not any more cleaning. Just sanitize them. I just run the bottles through my home dishwasher on its sanitizing rinse cycle, no detergent or rinse aid. I have not had any problems with this method.
^^^^
I simply prepped the last two batches' bottles with the "sanitize" feature my dishwasher has and crossed my fingers. No signs of infection though I cannot vouch for long term.  ;D


This is what I do as well. Then bottle on the open door of the dishwasher to catch the inevitable mess I make.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: Kaiser on January 26, 2011, 03:58:58 PM
I believe the disch washer's sanitize cycle uses heat to sanitize the items. This should work for you. I bake my bottles in the oven at 250 F for 2-3 hrs after adding a few drops of water and capping them with some aluminum foil. The oven has a timed bake feature that I can set in the evening. In the morning I can then take the cooled bottles and put them into boxes.

You may get away with just cleaning but you are stacking the odds against you when it comes to infection.

Kai
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: tygo on January 26, 2011, 04:00:37 PM
Kai, have you noticed any weakening of the bottles from multiple re-use and re-baking of bottles?  I've done this a few times and haven't noticed any problems but I've been wondering what doing this repeatedly to the same bottle might do.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: Kaiser on January 26, 2011, 06:42:40 PM
I have been doing this for 2 years now and haven't had any bottle breakage. I let the bottles heat and cool gradually. 

Kai
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: alikocho on January 26, 2011, 08:58:22 PM
I use the oven as well. As long as you don't subject the bottles to temperature change too quickly you'll be fine.
And, it takes temperatures way above what your oven can give to cause any melting or damage to a glass bottle.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: tygo on January 26, 2011, 11:45:59 PM
Yeah, I was more worried about the weakening of the bottle over time from heating and cooling it repeatedly.  Guess it's not an issue though.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: tubercle on January 26, 2011, 11:50:18 PM
Any stress breakage would come from a defect that already existed.

 If one broke, then good, now you know.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: kingofgix on February 03, 2011, 11:08:56 PM
Thanks for all the good feedback. 

I will continue to sanitize, but I like the oven and dishwasher ideas!  I may have to try those.  Sounds much easier.   
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 03, 2011, 11:37:43 PM
I did not go to this.  A friend did and said it was good.  He told me that he always bakes his competition bottles in the oven.  The bugs and critters can't hide form the heat.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/4962/Bottle_Conditioning_Like_a_Pro-Jennifer_Helber.pdf
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: jamminbrew on February 03, 2011, 11:43:41 PM
I like to soak my bottles in 5 gallons water mixed with 2-3 ounces of bleach for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with my bottle washer and hot water. 
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: morticaixavier on February 04, 2011, 03:35:34 AM
I did not go to this.  A friend did and said it was good.  He told me that he always bakes his competition bottles in the oven.  The bugs and critters can't hide form the heat.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/attachments/0000/4962/Bottle_Conditioning_Like_a_Pro-Jennifer_Helber.pdf

I read that today it was interesting. I would love to hear the presentation that went along with the power point. I think i might try this for my next bottling! one less thing to do the day of bottling.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: johnnymc on February 05, 2011, 12:23:46 AM
If using Star San should you allow it to dry brfore filling the bottle?
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: tygo on February 05, 2011, 12:37:02 AM
If using Star San should you allow it to dry brfore filling the bottle?

No need to let it dry.  Starsan is effective at low pH, best under a pH of 3.  Beer is in the 4.5 pH range and so will deactivate the starsan when you fill it.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: johnnymc on February 05, 2011, 06:33:33 PM
Thanks for the answer (and sorry for the long reply). I can cross this issue off my list. I've been having some issues with my last few batches.They taste fine when sampling them during the final gravity reading before adding the priming sugar and bottling. But, I'm getting a slight chemical after taste 2-weeks later after the bottle fermintation period. Any suggestions?
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: tubercle on February 05, 2011, 07:10:00 PM
I like to soak my bottles in 5 gallons water mixed with 2-3 ounces of bleach for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with my bottle washer and hot water. 

 Unless your water is really hot - 150f+ - rinsing undoes the sanitizing. Best to leave bleach for washing clothes. Starsan is better and very cheap.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: denny on February 05, 2011, 07:44:05 PM
I read that today it was interesting. I would love to hear the presentation that went along with the power point. I think i might try this for my next bottling! one less thing to do the day of bottling.

I heard the presentation and sadly it wasn't all that great IMO.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: tschmidlin on February 06, 2011, 07:23:45 AM
Thanks for the answer (and sorry for the long reply). I can cross this issue off my list. I've been having some issues with my last few batches.They taste fine when sampling them during the final gravity reading before adding the priming sugar and bottling. But, I'm getting a slight chemical after taste 2-weeks later after the bottle fermintation period. Any suggestions?
Are you 100% sure that your bottling equipment is clean and sanitized?  If it tastes fine before bottling, and all of the bottles taste bad after, I'd be inclined to think you've got some kind of contamination between the fermenter and the bottle.  Either a cracked hose, a crevice in your bottling bucket or spigot, those are the usual suspects.  I'd examine the process, find potential sources of contamination, and address them.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: johnnymc on February 06, 2011, 05:26:19 PM
thanks for th tip....I will check these things out.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: bheem on June 02, 2017, 04:30:13 PM
Hey, first post!  Just found the site today.

I always clean my bottles with Five Star PWB granules.  Is it necessary to sterilize them?  I always do before bottling, but with freshly cleaned bottles, I'm wondering if the beer itself isn't sterilization enough?  The biggest drawback to homebrewing is all the cleaning and sterilizing.

Just adding information in case others see it. Bottles would do better if boiled in water for an hour. Boiling is one of the best sterilization-methods for bottles and metallic utensils.

https://www.studyread.com/what-is-sterilization-methods (https://www.studyread.com/what-is-sterilization-methods)
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: brewinhard on June 02, 2017, 06:34:10 PM
Hey, first post!  Just found the site today.

I always clean my bottles with Five Star PWB granules.  Is it necessary to sterilize them?  I always do before bottling, but with freshly cleaned bottles, I'm wondering if the beer itself isn't sterilization enough?  The biggest drawback to homebrewing is all the cleaning and sterilizing.

Just adding information in case others see it. Bottles would do better if boiled in water for an hour. Boiling is one of the best sterilization-methods for bottles and metallic utensils.

https://www.studyread.com/what-is-sterilization-methods (https://www.studyread.com/what-is-sterilization-methods)

Not so sure normal local homebrew shop bottles can withstand boiling.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: HoosierBrew on June 02, 2017, 06:56:12 PM
I like the oven method - get them completely visibly clean and dry, wrap the ends in foil, place in the oven first, turn on oven to 350F and then turn it off after 60 mins. Let the bottles cool all night in the oven.
Title: Re: Bottle sterilization question
Post by: denny on June 02, 2017, 07:01:41 PM
I don't feel the need to sterilize bottles.  Sanitizing is good enough.