Author Topic: cleaning bottles  (Read 1309 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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cleaning bottles
« on: March 04, 2015, 01:15:08 PM »
OK, I'm probably beating a dead horse here, but I would really appreciate tips to optimize the horrible bottle cleaning process. What's the BEST product to soak off labels, etc.

What I do now:
- rinse bottle after drinking it.
- soak in oxi
- soak in star san

But when I soak the bottles in oxi or something similar, I really have to push them under water and let the oxygen escape, and afterwards I have to empty the bottles by hand to make sure they are really empty before I soak them in star san. Same with star san step. It's boring and labor intensive. Is there really no better way (that can be expressed without using the word 'keg')?
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Offline dynamitharry

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2015, 01:19:52 PM »
I usually rinse with water after drinking, then heat sterilization in the oven. Works for me


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Offline Phil_M

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2015, 01:28:11 PM »
I typically rinse bottles when I'm done drinking with them, then set them aside. Once I've got enough to fill a 5 gallon bucket, I soak them in hot water and PBW for an hour or two. Labels slide right off after that, then I rinse them under hot water, let them dry, then box them up. I handle sanitizing them whenever I bottle.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2015, 01:47:28 PM »
Get a Fastrack, Fastrack tray, and a container large enough to fit the Fastrack (and tall enough to cover the bottles).
 
1) Fill Fastrack with bottles, add tray and flip over (bottles upright).
2) Put into container, fill with cleaner.
3) Remove and flip to drain, rinse with sink spray nozzle and drain again.
4) Place back in container (bottles upright), fill with sanitizer.
5) Remove, drain upside down until ready to bottle.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2015, 02:01:56 PM »
I usually rinse with water after drinking, then heat sterilization in the oven. Works for me


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Hm, apparently Kaiser does this too: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/dry-heat-sterilizing-bottles-54497/

Can anyone else confirm?
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2015, 02:12:43 PM »
heat sterilizing is a great way to go. far easier than submergeing in star san in my opinion. put them in the over the night before bottling and bake at 350f for 30 minutes or so then turn the oven off and leave them over night to cool. If yo uput them in a cold oven and let them cool over night you won't get much breakage. you'll lose one once in a while but I figure that one was weak to begin with.

in terms of removeing labels. oxiclean/PBW is the easiet way but it does mean you have to soak, then rinse well. And some labels just won't come off. I have implemented a list of common brands that use a glue that is easy to remove (such as Sierra Nevada or North Coast) or a label that comes off cleanly with no soaking.
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2015, 02:21:42 PM »
Bottles I emptied myself:
Rinse thoroughly after drinking.
If they're labeled commercial bottles, see second method.
On bottling day, spray inside with starsan. Spray top with starsan too.
Bottle.
Cap.
Relax while the beer carbonates.

Bottles donated by sympathisers
Rinse thoroughly and wince at the thick mats of mould growing in most of them.
Soak in tub with Oxi.
Peel off labels. Curse 8Wired's, Thornbridge's and a handful of other's woefully sadistic choice of label glue. Pray thanks to Brewdog and their easy-peel stickers.
Set aside till bottling day.
Spray inside with starsan and continue rest of first procedure.

It's still the single most off-putting step in the brewing process.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2015, 03:02:05 PM »
Bottles I emptied myself:
Rinse thoroughly after drinking.
If they're labeled commercial bottles, see second method.
On bottling day, spray inside with starsan. Spray top with starsan too.
Bottle.
Cap.
Relax while the beer carbonates.

Bottles donated by sympathisers
Rinse thoroughly and wince at the thick mats of mould growing in most of them.
Soak in tub with Oxi.
Peel off labels. Curse 8Wired's, Thornbridge's and a handful of other's woefully sadistic choice of label glue. Pray thanks to Brewdog and their easy-peel stickers.
Set aside till bottling day.
Spray inside with starsan and continue rest of first procedure.

It's still the single most off-putting step in the brewing process.
+1.  I use a vinator or something similar to spray starsan into the bottles and then place the bottles on a bottle tree right before bottling.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2015, 03:19:36 PM »
heat sterilizing is a great way to go..

I've always understood that the heating and cooling cycles put a lot of stress on the glass.

The dunk, soak, rinse process is a PITA and one of the many reasons I prefer kegging, but it has always worked effectively for me.

I try to get my bottles clean and then box them up.  When I need to bottle, I pull whatever I need and sanitize them.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2015, 03:26:50 PM »
Removing labels is a PITA, but once it's done you don't have to bother with it again when you start using it for homebrew. I use an Oxiclean soak for labels, but otherwise it isn't part of my regular cleaning process.

Unlabeled bottles simply get rinsed repeatedly in hot water until no residue/foam/aroma remains. I eyeball the bottom of the bottle to ensure that there is no caked-on sediment. Usually there's not, but I hit it with a bottle brush if needed. Rinsed bottles are stored upside-down or in a covered box until bottling time.

For bottling, I use the anti-bacterial setting on my dishwasher to sanitize my bottles and a small cup of starsan to sanitize my caps.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2015, 03:51:53 PM »
The easier option would be to buy empty bottles from a homebrew shop but that seems unnecessary as most of us create empty bottles with too much ease.

I'm pretty lazy about label removal. I tend to run my bottles through the dishwasher after consuming the contents (they are rinsed and sanitized before refilling) which has about a 30% success rate at removing labels. Otherwise I tend not to remove labels these days. I go through spurts where I do the whole oxy soak and peel them off but it's not a high priority for my time. My bottles get blank caps that I identify with a code written on with a sharpie so it makes no difference whether there is a label on the bottle.
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Offline banjo-guy

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cleaning bottles
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2015, 04:46:20 PM »
I have no great love bottling but after I bought a 7.00 bottle washing attachment that shoots pressurized water into the bottles I started hating it less.
I also use a bottle tree with a sprayer that shoots starsan into each bottle. I store my bottles in a fast rack tray.
I just started kegging and it is easier but kegging had its own issues such as having a kegerator and Co2 tanks ect...

Offline pete b

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2015, 04:53:07 PM »
The few times I have used bottles with labels I used a plastic scraper and hot soapy water and if it didn't all come off I either recycled it or let multiple washings take care of it eventually.
I rinse out the sediment after each use, fill with water and oxyclean and leave on the counter until we do dishes. They get washed in soapy water, drip dry upside down, then stored when they are dry.
Bottling day is now easy: fill sink with sanitizer solution, sanitize bottle rack, dunk, shake and empty, put on rack.
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Offline markpotts

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2015, 05:03:33 PM »
Rinse bottle well after beer has been consumed, drain and then use a small square of foil to cover the bottle top.
The bottles are then stored in boxes until bottling day.
On bottling day I use a vinator filled with starsan to sanitise and they are drained on a bottle tree.
As for labels; some I remove and some I don't......depends on where the beer is going to end up. I like to give nice, clean unlabelled bottles to friends to try.
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Offline Philbrew

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2015, 05:23:29 PM »
Yup, a soak in Oxyclean will float most labels right off.  I find the bargain brand (Sun-oxy) works just as well.  I don't use it on the inside unless there's dried crud in there.  Get a vinator (shoots starsan into upside-down bottle).  17$-20$ very well spent.  Also, +1 on the Fast Rack system.
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