Author Topic: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)  (Read 1188 times)

Offline Me

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Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« on: August 24, 2010, 11:02:11 AM »
I just moved into a new place without a dishwasher and I'm trying to figure out what's the best way to store and clean my bottles. I would usually just clean them out with hot water and when bottling day came I would throw them in the dishwasher with a little sanitizer and make sure to heat dry them. Is there a better way to store the bottles so that they will be ready/clean on bottling? I'm not sure if I can just throw the bottles in a bucket with some sanitizer for weeks at a time and pull them out when I need them. Any thoughts?
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2010, 11:53:51 AM »
I usually wash them out when i am finished. then turn them upside down in one of the boxes I have. Then throw them in a cooler full of sanitizer and let them sit until i fill them.  usually a few days or so.  this is usually out of laziness that i don't like to move them too many times.  which is why i am going to start kegging 8)
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Offline saintpierre

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2010, 11:57:09 AM »
My method is to clean and sanitize the bottles and put a piece of sanitized tin foil over the opening of the bottle and secure it with a rubber band.  I am sure saran wrapp would work too but it tends to stick to itself.

This is more labor intensive than most are looking for whick is why I keg now but I have fresh clean bottles when I need them...
« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 11:59:12 AM by saintsbrew »
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Offline Me

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2010, 12:00:18 PM »
Is there any harm in keeping the bottles in a giant bucket with sanitizer solution in it for long periods of time?
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2010, 12:00:42 PM »
I rinse/clean mine out as soon as I empty them and then just store them in case boxes.  Come bottling day, I give them a quick check for visible gunk, sanitize with the squirty-thingie on the top of my bottle tree, and then store them upside down on the tree to drain.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2010, 12:04:45 PM »
Is there any harm in keeping the bottles in a giant bucket with sanitizer solution in it for long periods of time?
No, it's fine as long as the sanitizer is still working.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2010, 12:05:37 PM »
i have left mine in the cooler filled with starsan for over a month.  (again out of laziness) people let their kegs sit on this stuff, i am sure glass would be okay.  just rinse and repeat again and again and again
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Offline wingnut

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 12:06:42 PM »
What I do is give the bottles a very good rinse to get all the yeast and solids out.   Then I put them, neck up in a milk crate.  (I found the crates you can buy in the store at back to school time are the right height for bottles).  

Then, after I have a collection of them, I fill up a cooler with warm water and put some PBW in it and let the bottle soak for an hour or so.  This lifts any labels off commerical bottles and possibly mold boogers from people that have not treated my bottles nicely.  (although now, I have a big enough collection I tend to pitch the nasty bottles)  Also,I have a plastic scraping thing for finishing off any stuck on labels...

After the soaking I rinse each bottle out at the sink and place them neck down in the crate.  That keeps dust from getting inside the bottle and provides an easy way to distinguish between clean and just rinsed bottles.  The crates stack nicely!!

On bottleing day, I make up a bucket of starsan and place the bottles in the bucket for 2 minutes and then, as I bottle, pull them out one by one, inverting to drain the starsan.

After I run out of bottles in the bucket, I put some more bottles in and then I cap the bottles while my 2 minutes ticks away.


All in all it is not a lot of effort, while still being rather obsessive about clenlieness!





A lot of people I have talked to just make sure the bottles are well rinsed and then on bottleing day, dunk the bottles for a few minutes and let the stanitizer do its thing.   However, since starsan does not get rid of big colonies of gunk, I am leary of how good a "cleaner" it is.   It appears to be a great sanitizer, but as with all sanitizers, if you have to much "soil load" on the bottle, then the sanitizer cannot get to all the nasties!


As for just keeping them in a bucket of starsan... there is no direct reason not to.  However, starsan tends to degrade over time placed in plastic or non-distilled water.  Essentially the surficants preciptate out and coat the bottles.   :P

Good luck and keep brewing!!
-- Wingnut - Cheers!

Offline tom

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2010, 07:59:26 PM »
Ditto. I highly recommend cleaning the bottles, not just rinsing. Especially if you re-use your bottles. Beerstone will build up over time.

Keeping the bottles in sanitizer should be ok. Depending on which one. When I leave stuff in StarSan over a few days everything gets covered with a soapy film. I wouldn't recommend bleach. And iodine evaporates over time. So I'm not sure what's left.

Usually the recommendation is to clean after use and sanitize before the next use.
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Offline enso

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2010, 05:59:35 AM »
Another vote for cleaning not just rinsing.  You can't sanitize dirt as they say.  Just rinsing will not get rid of proteins and residues that will build up over time.  Rinsing your bottles immediately after emptying is a good first step but they are not clean.

Dishwashers do not do a good job of cleaning IMO.  I have one.  I do not use it to clean though.  Think about it.  If there is beer stone deposit inside your bottle how is some random spraying into the bottle going to get it clean?

I mostly keg but I still have a TON of bottles.  I tend to bottle condition Belgians, and other special beers plus ciders and meads still.

Here is my process.  Rinse the bottle.  Collect bottles until I have a 5 gallon bucket full or more.  When I have a few minutes of free time here or there I clean them.  Fill bucket with hot water and a good scoop of Oxyclean.  Soak bottles over night.  Pull off any labels.  Rinse bottles outside.  Spray inside with bottle washer to rinse well.  Hang up on bottle tree.  When dry I put a piece on aluminum foil over the top and box them up.

Bottling time I dunk them in Star San and put them up on the bottle tree.

May seem like a lot of work but it does not take much time.  Just work at it a little here and there.  I am then assured that all the hard work of making the beer is not wasted by putting it into a possibly contaminated vessel.
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Offline kgs

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2010, 03:22:40 PM »
...Here is my process.  Rinse the bottle.  Collect bottles until I have a 5 gallon bucket full or more.  When I have a few minutes of free time here or there I clean them.  Fill bucket with hot water and a good scoop of Oxyclean.  Soak bottles over night.  Pull off any labels.  Rinse bottles outside.  Spray inside with bottle washer to rinse well.  Hang up on bottle tree.  When dry I put a piece on aluminum foil over the top and box them up.

Bottling time I dunk them in Star San and put them up on the bottle tree.

May seem like a lot of work but it does not take much time.  Just work at it a little here and there.  I am then assured that all the hard work of making the beer is not wasted by putting it into a possibly contaminated vessel.

+1 to this process, right up to the sanitizing. I don't have a bottling tree, but I use the dishwasher (after it has been emptied but not filled, and sprayed with Star San) as a bottling tree of sorts, then I sit on a stepstool and pull bottles from the dishwasher as I bottle. I also don't dunk the bottles, I use a Vinator (which has a nickname in our household not safe for public forums).

I haven't found cleaning bottles to be as time-consuming as people say. The jet washer helps tremendously, as does letting the bottles sit in Oxyclean overnight. We rent a house with odd faucets, so I jet-wash outside on a faucet I have rigged with quick-disconnects, connected to a garden hose plugged in 30 feet below--not attached to the hose or jetwasher in this pic, but you get the idea:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kgs/4554342031/in/photostream/

It's also terrific for watering our deck boxes, which is the excuse I used when I set it up. ;-)

One tip I haven't heard: dishwashing gloves. Not to save your pretty hands, but for safety and convenience; bottles sitting in PBW and other cleaners get very slippery.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2010, 08:16:27 PM »
If you recycle bottles as I do then your work is a little more cut out for you.  A clean and sanitized bottle is the only way to go.  Better be safe than sorry IMO.

After investing the amount of time it takes to brew beer it is not worth throwing that all away on a dirty bottle.

My process for commercial bottles is as follows:

1.  Soak bottles in hot PBW solution overnight to remove labels.
2.  Rinse and scrub bottles with  very hot water.
3.  Soak bottles in Starsan solution
4.  Drain bottles on bottle tree.
5.  Fill and cap bottles
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Offline mason

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2010, 06:06:11 PM »
So, am I to understand from this thread that using the hi-temp sanitizer feature on a dishwasher (with bottles rinsed in hot H2O immediately after consumption) does not work for people? I completely understand the "better safe than sorry" argument, but has anyone tried this feature instead of using a chemical sanitizer?
I'm very new to this whole home-brewing thing and after bottling my first batch, I thought that there must be an easier way (which I know is kegging, but I'm not ready to invest). I'd love all of your insight.  Thanks

Offline tom

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2010, 06:11:19 PM »
As long as your dishwasher has a heat sanitizing cycle you should be fine.
The dishwasher can't get into the bottles and clean them however.
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Offline enso

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Re: Bottle Storage and Cleaning (Without a Dishwasher)
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2010, 01:40:59 PM »
As long as your dishwasher has a heat sanitizing cycle you should be fine.
The dishwasher can't get into the bottles and clean them however.

Right, if the bottles are clean to begin with, the heat sanitizing cycle "could" work.  It will not clean the bottles though.  Think about how a dishwasher works.  It has spinning arms that randomly hit the surfaces of the dishes.  It is very unlikely that this spray will hit all surfaces in a bottle with a narrow opening.  Steam heat can be an effective sanitizer, however it can also bake on dirt and debris if it is present.
Dave Brush