Author Topic: Bottle sterilization question  (Read 2420 times)

Offline kingofgix

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Bottle sterilization question
« on: January 25, 2011, 07:47:11 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.
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Offline hokerer

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2011, 07:59:50 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 08:01:43 PM by hokerer »
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Offline kingofgix

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2011, 08:13:50 PM »
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.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2011, 08:20:25 PM »
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.
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Offline geo1267

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2011, 08:26:41 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.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2011, 01:12:25 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.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline euge

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2011, 01:25:03 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

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Offline Mark G

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2011, 08:27:34 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


This is what I do as well. Then bottle on the open door of the dishwasher to catch the inevitable mess I make.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2011, 08:58:58 AM »
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.

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Offline tygo

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2011, 09:00:37 AM »
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.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2011, 11:42:40 AM »
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

Offline alikocho

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2011, 01:58:22 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.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2011, 04:45:59 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.
Clint
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Offline tubercle

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2011, 04:50:18 PM »
Any stress breakage would come from a defect that already existed.

 If one broke, then good, now you know.
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Offline kingofgix

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Re: Bottle sterilization question
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2011, 04:08:56 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.   
Beer good! 

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