Author Topic: cleaning bottles  (Read 2210 times)

Offline bierview

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cleaning bottles
« on: March 11, 2017, 05:57:10 PM »
My procedure for keeping bottles sanitized and clean is as follows.  I always have two five gallon buckets with a strong water bleach solution sitting in the basement filled with bottles.  Upon removing them from the buckets, I run them under tap water and give them a thorough rinse.  Place them in a rack upside down to dry.  Once dry, place them into cases and store until I need them.

On bottling day, I take these bleached bottles and give them a Starsan soak for three minutes or so and invert them once again for about five minutes.

Assuming water from the tap is sterile, can I skip the Starsan soak?

Offline Philbrew

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2017, 06:18:22 PM »
There is the possibility of dust carrying bacteria or yeast/fungus spores getting on the bottle lip.  A quick rinse with Starsan just before bottling takes care of that.  Get a vinator http://www.homebrewing.org/Vinator-Bottle-Washer_p_2472.html .  Much faster and easier than soaking.

And for draining, I like the Fast Rack http://www.homebrewing.org/1-FastRack-and-1-Tray_p_3459.html .  Compact and nothing touches the lip or inside the bottle.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2017, 06:25:43 PM by Philbrew »
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline bierview

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2017, 07:06:48 PM »
There is the possibility of dust carrying bacteria or yeast/fungus spores getting on the bottle lip.  A quick rinse with Starsan just before bottling takes care of that.  Get a vinator http://www.homebrewing.org/Vinator-Bottle-Washer_p_2472.html .  Much faster and easier than soaking.

And for draining, I like the Fast Rack http://www.homebrewing.org/1-FastRack-and-1-Tray_p_3459.html .  Compact and nothing touches the lip or inside the bottle.

The soaking isn't much of a hassle.  Takes me 12 minutes and I do it at my leisure.  The Fastrack looks like something I built so nothing touches the lip or inside the bottle.  I had an 16X16" square piece of plexiglass 1/4" thick.  I drilled 25 1" holes and drain them over a square staples plastic tub.  Nothing touches the bottles.


Offline Richard

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2017, 07:34:56 PM »
I personally would not be comfortable using bottles that had not been sanitized shortly before use. There are just too many ways for contaminants to find their way in while the bottles are stored, so sanitation is not an area where I want to take any shortcuts.

Offline theoman

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2017, 09:36:16 AM »
Do you have a dishwasher?

I would be more worried about bleach-influenced off-flavors than infection.

Offline smkranz

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2017, 05:04:48 PM »
I personally would not be comfortable using bottles that had not been sanitized shortly before use. There are just too many ways for contaminants to find their way in while the bottles are stored, so sanitation is not an area where I want to take any shortcuts.

I second this.  If your bottles are thoroughly cleaned and rinsed out after their contents have been poured, I would skip the whole bleach thing.  Store the clean and dry bottles in case boxes, and on bottling day either soak them if that's your preference, or give them a sanitizing squirt with the Vinator.  (Either way, I prefer the non-foaming SaniClean over Star San for bottle sanitizing.)  An added advantage for me to sanitizing right before bottling, is that I generally bottle carbonated beer from a keg with a Beer Gun, and the pre-wetted bottles help minimize foaming.
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Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2017, 09:09:39 PM »
I rinse my bottles well immediately after pouring the contents.  Later, I hand wash them with dish detergent, rinse them, let them drain, and put them in a cardboard beer case. 

On brewing day, I put a solution of star san in the vinator.  Then I dip the tip of the bottle in the star san solution,
then upside down on the vinator nipple for two squirts of sanitizer, and then rotate the bottle about 90 degrees for two more squirts.

I sanitize six bottles at one time, fill, and cap with sanitized bottle caps, and then repeat the process. So far, no infected brew.
It's easier to read brewing books and get information from the forum than to sacrifice virgins to appease the brewing gods when bad beer happens!

Offline Philbrew

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2017, 09:54:06 PM »
I pretty much do what Lazy Ant and smkranz do.  Immediately thoroughly rinse and drain after pouring and shoot them with Starsan in a vinator at bottling.  And have had no problems with 39 of 40 batches.

But one batch began producing some gushers after 3 months in the bottle.  That was a Best Bitters that was my first use of Lallimand ESB yeast.  I screwed up the mash temp and mashed too high.  After pitching I found out that that yeast doesn't eat maltotrios.  FG came in at 1.017 and the beer tasted sweet.  Drinkable but sweet.  After 3 months I started getting random gushers.  The gushers were tough to pour but the beer actually tasted BETTER.  I'm guessing that the gusher bottles were not due to bacteria infection but rather due to a tiny amount of another yeast (probably Belle Saison) that didn't get totally rinsed out of the bottles and took 3 months to get going enough to eat the maltotrios.

So I'm now also soaking all my bottles (fermenters too) in an Idofor solution, especially those that had Belle Saison in them.  That yeast is a beast.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline bayareabrewer

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2017, 11:13:02 PM »
I pretty much do what Lazy Ant and smkranz do.  Immediately thoroughly rinse and drain after pouring and shoot them with Starsan in a vinator at bottling.  And have had no problems with 39 of 40 batches.

But one batch began producing some gushers after 3 months in the bottle.  That was a Best Bitters that was my first use of Lallimand ESB yeast.  I screwed up the mash temp and mashed too high.  After pitching I found out that that yeast doesn't eat maltotrios.  FG came in at 1.017 and the beer tasted sweet.  Drinkable but sweet.  After 3 months I started getting random gushers.  The gushers were tough to pour but the beer actually tasted BETTER.  I'm guessing that the gusher bottles were not due to bacteria infection but rather due to a tiny amount of another yeast (probably Belle Saison) that didn't get totally rinsed out of the bottles and took 3 months to get going enough to eat the maltotrios.

So I'm now also soaking all my bottles (fermenters too) in an Idofor solution, especially those that had Belle Saison in them.  That yeast is a beast.
I know of a brewery that wont use this strain because of its hyper attenuation and fear of cross contamination.

Offline Ale Farmer

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2017, 01:13:05 AM »
I also immediately rinse a bottle after use. When bottling day comes, I wash with OxyClean (free--no fragrance), rinse with one of those bottle-washing gizmos I screw onto the faucet, let dry, and then soak in StarSan just before bottling. I've had no problems.
George

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Bottled:Spruce Ale, Smoked Porter, Spruce Porter, Chinook APA, Wit, Marzen, ESB, Vienna Lager, Nut Brown Ale, Amber Ale.

Fermenting: Irish Red Ale

Next Brews: Mild, APA, Brown Porter, Spruce Porter

Offline cgranger

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2017, 11:34:44 PM »
I also rinse and drain after opening. I soak 32 bottles at a time in warm water and OxyClean (no scent) for 24 hours in a cooler.  The bottles get blasted with one of those carboy washers that screw on the faucet.  They then sit upside down in a 5 gallon bucket to drain, and then get a small square of aluminum foil pressed over the opening. When bottling time comes around, I either do a quick soak in Starsan (in a wallpaper tray), or the bottles go through a heavy wash in the dishwasher (no soap).  It may sound a bit excessive, but the process works and is really pretty easy once you get the routine down.


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Offline bierview

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2017, 03:01:28 PM »
Do you have a dishwasher?

I would be more worried about bleach-influenced off-flavors than infection.

Never had an off flavor issue.

Offline bierview

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2017, 03:07:02 PM »
I personally would not be comfortable using bottles that had not been sanitized shortly before use. There are just too many ways for contaminants to find their way in while the bottles are stored, so sanitation is not an area where I want to take any shortcuts.

I second this.  If your bottles are thoroughly cleaned and rinsed out after their contents have been poured, I would skip the whole bleach thing.  Store the clean and dry bottles in case boxes, and on bottling day either soak them if that's your preference, or give them a sanitizing squirt with the Vinator.  (Either way, I prefer the non-foaming SaniClean over Star San for bottle sanitizing.)  An added advantage for me to sanitizing right before bottling, is that I generally bottle carbonated beer from a keg with a Beer Gun, and the pre-wetted bottles help minimize foaming.

Here is how the bleach thing started.  When I was a young brewer 17 years ago, I simply rinsed the bottles after pouring the beer and ran a brush through them and sanitize on bottling day.  After doing this for a year or so and reusing the bottles over and over, I produced a couple batches of gushers.  When I held the full beer bottle to the light, I could see the brush strokes lined with tiny bubbles on the glass.  I never wanted to go through that again and wanted to make sure th bottles were completely clean before sanitizing and bottling.

BV

Offline bierview

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2017, 08:16:57 PM »
I pretty much do what Lazy Ant and smkranz do.  Immediately thoroughly rinse and drain after pouring and shoot them with Starsan in a vinator at bottling.  And have had no problems with 39 of 40 batches.

But one batch began producing some gushers after 3 months in the bottle.  That was a Best Bitters that was my first use of Lallimand ESB yeast.  I screwed up the mash temp and mashed too high.  After pitching I found out that that yeast doesn't eat maltotrios.  FG came in at 1.017 and the beer tasted sweet.  Drinkable but sweet.  After 3 months I started getting random gushers.  The gushers were tough to pour but the beer actually tasted BETTER.  I'm guessing that the gusher bottles were not due to bacteria infection but rather due to a tiny amount of another yeast (probably Belle Saison) that didn't get totally rinsed out of the bottles and took 3 months to get going enough to eat the maltotrios.


So I'm now also soaking all my bottles (fermenters too) in an Idofor solution, especially those that had Belle Saison in them.  That yeast is a beast.
I know of a brewery that wont use this strain because of its hyper attenuation and fear of cross contamination.


Just opened a Belgian Blonde brewed one year ago with Belle Saison.  It is out of this world.  Love that yeast.

BV

Offline Philbrew

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Re: cleaning bottles
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2017, 08:29:19 PM »
I pretty much do what Lazy Ant and smkranz do.  Immediately thoroughly rinse and drain after pouring and shoot them with Starsan in a vinator at bottling.  And have had no problems with 39 of 40 batches.

But one batch began producing some gushers after 3 months in the bottle.  That was a Best Bitters that was my first use of Lallimand ESB yeast.  I screwed up the mash temp and mashed too high.  After pitching I found out that that yeast doesn't eat maltotrios.  FG came in at 1.017 and the beer tasted sweet.  Drinkable but sweet.  After 3 months I started getting random gushers.  The gushers were tough to pour but the beer actually tasted BETTER.  I'm guessing that the gusher bottles were not due to bacteria infection but rather due to a tiny amount of another yeast (probably Belle Saison) that didn't get totally rinsed out of the bottles and took 3 months to get going enough to eat the maltotrios.


So I'm now also soaking all my bottles (fermenters too) in an Idofor solution, especially those that had Belle Saison in them.  That yeast is a beast.
I know of a brewery that wont use this strain because of its hyper attenuation and fear of cross contamination.


Just opened a Belgian Blonde brewed one year ago with Belle Saison.  It is out of this world.  Love that yeast.

BV
Yes, I love that yeast too and I'm going to keep using it.  I'm just taking a long ago recommendation from Mark (S. Cerv) and not rely on only StarSan for sanitizing.
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.