Author Topic: plastic fermenter  (Read 2359 times)

Offline crworkman

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plastic fermenter
« on: December 07, 2011, 12:31:45 PM »
Apparently, I didn't clean out one of my plastic fermenters last time I used it, so it's got a nice funky trub with some dead flies floating in it. Can I salvage this thing or is it best just used as a storage bucket now?

Offline bo

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2011, 12:33:58 PM »
Soak it for a couple of days in a hot Oxyclean solution. I'll bet that takes care of it.

Offline bluesman

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2011, 12:37:37 PM »
Plastic can absorb bacteria especially if scratched. I would wash it out real good and soak it in some hot PBW or Oxyclean solution then sanitize it. If it was properly maintained (not scratched up) it should be fine.
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Offline euge

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2011, 12:38:48 PM »
Apparently, I didn't clean out one of my plastic fermenters last time I used it, so it's got a nice funky trub with some dead flies floating in it. Can I salvage this thing or is it best just used as a storage bucket now?

It's salvageable. Soak with hot water and then clean it real good with a very soft sponge and no abrasive cleansers. If you have to- use a rubber or silicon spatula to scrape off the ring of gunk. Oxyclean is acceptable.

Then I soak the buckets with a caustic over night up to a couple days. I use lye but others probably use PBW which I guess might be acid type product. This leaves the buckets sparkling white and free of smell and stains.

An additional way to remediate an infected bucket is to submerge it in sub-boiling water for a couple hours. Luckily my 80qt kettle can handle this. Otherwise a heatstick and bucket with water to the brim works equally well.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2011, 12:47:53 PM »
I use lye but others probably use PBW which I guess might be acid type product.
PBW = alkali
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Offline euge

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2011, 12:55:41 PM »
I use lye but others probably use PBW which I guess might be acid type product.
PBW = alkali

Haha! Yeah I didn't know as I've only ever used sodium hydroxide. It's the soap-maker in me... ;D
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline another1

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2011, 02:17:06 AM »
I use lye but others probably use PBW which I guess might be acid type product.
PBW = alkali

Haha! Yeah I didn't know as I've only ever used sodium hydroxide. It's the soap-maker in me... ;D

what ratio of sodium hydroxide to water do you use? I have a 25kg bag of lye in the garage that my wife uses for soap making
Paul Wicksteed
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Offline majorvices

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2011, 05:36:39 AM »
You really need to take extra special care of plastic fermenters. If its a cheap bucket I would consider just throwing it out and buying another considering the condition you said it was in (what with dead flies and all). If it is a plastic conical or something you spent some money on I would try to salvage it but take all the fittings apart and be sure to clean every thing carefully.
Keith Y.
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Offline bo

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 06:43:18 AM »
The only thing that usually ruins a plastic bucket are deep scratches and built on gunk won't cause scratches. Other then that. a good soaking  and scrubbing with a nylon brush will get them back in shape.

Try it and inspect it closely after cleaning. What do you have to lose.

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2011, 07:28:32 AM »
I have the same bucket I started with in 1992 and I still use it from time to time.  It's been semi-abused from time to time over the years, there have been times when I couldn't clean it for a week or 2 after brewing.  It's been stained dark brown from Imperial stouts.  To clean it I soaked it in bleach for years, now I use PBW and if that doesn't work I use white cotton socks to wipe it down.It really doesn't take much effort to make a bucket last indefinitely.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2011, 10:13:16 AM »
if that doesn't work I use white cotton socks to wipe it down.

Do you wear those socks afterwards?  You're shoes might smell like beer...

Maybe Dr. Scholls could market that.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline majorvices

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2011, 10:26:08 AM »
I agree that buckets can last a very long time. The only real concer is reusing yeast from previous fermentations. If the bucket has even minor scratches you could possibly be contaminating the next generation more that had you used a new bucket. And ofcourse flies carry all kinds of nasty things you would never want anywhere near your beer. But if you are not repot hing yeast it may not be an issue.

Personally my buckets always got so beat up I'd replace them every several months just to be sure.
Keith Y.
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Offline euge

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2011, 11:36:50 AM »
I use lye but others probably use PBW which I guess might be acid type product.
PBW = alkali

Haha! Yeah I didn't know as I've only ever used sodium hydroxide. It's the soap-maker in me... ;D

what ratio of sodium hydroxide to water do you use? I have a 25kg bag of lye in the garage that my wife uses for soap making

I'll use about 2/3 of a cup for 8 gallons. Maybe that is too much but it does leave the buckets sparkling white!
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline davidgzach

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2011, 06:33:53 AM »
I would let it soak in OxiClean for a day, rinse with hot water and then soak it in a heavy bleach solution for a couple of days.  Rinse very well again with HOT water and you should be just fine. 
Dave Zach

Offline madscientist

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Re: plastic fermenter
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2011, 06:34:43 AM »
Love oxyclean.  Usually I will clean it out with oxyclean and hot water after use and then again before use and before I sanitize it.  My buckets are slightly stained, but I haven't noticed any cracks or scratches.  I use a soft sponge to wipe them down.
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