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Best way to Clean and Sanitise Bottles

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beatbreaker

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n00b brewer here, I've decided to move from plastic bottles to 330ml glass bottles, I've tried doing glass partially for the last 2 brews and things turned out fine with them so I'm ready to take glass on fully.

So what I've got a problem with currently:
  1. My bottling process takes FOREVER, I currently: Clean all bottles in a tub (with bottle brush and Morgans LowSuds), then sanitise all bottles, then bottle. - I need to reduce this time
  2. I currently don't know what to clean/sanatise with. The kit I got came with the "Morgans" cleaner and sanatiser, but I want to find cheap and easy alternatives. - I'm looking at using "sodium metabisulphite" but I'm curious of this Stericlean stuff is. - I'm a BIG fan of these "no rinse" solutions.
  3. All the bottles I've got still have their labels on them, I want to rid of them while I'm cleaning - Happy to leave them in a sodium metabisulphite solutoin overnight.
So my current solutions for this:
  • Buy a bottling tree (70+ bottles)
  • Get a bottle rinser
  • Buy a stack of sodium metabisulphite
I'm hoping that the bottle tree and rinser will speed up the cleaning of the bottles, and the sodium metabisulphite will offer a good clean, cheap alternate to what I'm currently using. I'm sure a good overnight soak will be rid of the old labels also.

What do you guys think of this process? Is there any way I can get this done better/faster/cheaper?
 

Bizier

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You want to do some kind of alkaline cleaning process and ideally a no-rinse sanitation process (iodophor, phosphoric acid, hydrogen peroxide based products), or you could also use heat. I would always recommend having one of these sanitisers to make sure everything in the area and stuff like bottle tree, taps, bottling valves etc can be sanitised and re-sanitised.

Sodium metabisulphite is a sub-standard chemical for your requirements. It has a place in the world, but this is not it.

The easiest thing would be ensuring that bottles are very clean as you drink them, storing covered from dust and just hitting with iodophor when you want to use them. It is cheap and effective.
 

seamad

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Better/faster = kegs :lol:

When I did bottle always rinsed with hot tap water a couple of times and drained, leave upside down and just before filling give them a rinse with starsan.
With dirty bottles give them a soak in cleaning soda ( about $1/bag ) for 24hrs, rinse ( watch out as very slippery) then store upside down as above.
 

barls

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sodium percarbonate is what you want to clean not metabisulfate.
id stay away from metabisulfate as some people have serious reactions to it. it works by releasing a gas thats what kills the nasties. mainly used in wine and cider production.
 

warra48

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The latest recent bottles I acquired from around my golf club bins were all placed into a plastic milk crate.
They were then hit with the Gerni. The very strong stream of water is strong enough to dislodge pretty much all caked on dirt inside the bottles.
Rinsed with water and drained, and left to dry.
Prior to use, all I do is to give them a quick rinse with StarSan to sanitise.
Easy, and no hard scrubbing required.

I mostly use longnecks. Only do two or three PETs and stubbies for give aways.
 

carniebrew

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Every time you drink a beer, make sure you rinse the bottle with hot water, then hang it on your bottle tree. It's ok to leave bottles a couple of hours before doing this, but don't leave them all day or overnight.

When I say rinse, just put maybe 50ml of hot water in the stubby, swirl hard (to dislodge the yeast) then tip it out...refill with maybe 100ml of very hot tap water, turn the bottle upside down and shake like shit as it drains into the sink. If you look in the empty bottle you should see nothing but some drops of water. If there's any clumps of anything then you'll need a soak with detergent, sodium perc or whatever you use to clean bottles. If the bottle looks clean and smells clean, hang it on your bottle tree. The next day, put it away in a closed box (you can even loosely cap them with some old bent crown seals to keep any dust out).

Then on bottling day, your bottles don't need cleaning, just sanitising. I break out however many bottles I need and sit 'em next to my bottling tree. 1/3rd fill the bottle washer attachment on top of the tree with starsan (which I reuse for months so it basically costs nothing). Pick up a stubby, give it a single hard squirt on your bottle washer, and hang it on the tree. Repeat for every bottle, and they're ready to go. I've also taken to dipping the neck of the bottle into the starsan foam just before I pop it on the tree...just to make sure the outside of the opening is sanitised...but not sure this is completely necessary.

I've got a few mates who used to give each bottle 3 or 4 squirts, I've converted them all to a single squirt. Saves heaps of time, and we haven't had an infected bottle yet, Starsan is just that good...and a 500ml bottle should last years. I mix up 3 litres of it in an old woolies juice bottle, and another 500ml in a spray bottle, they do me for all my home brew sanitising needs.
 

Rowy

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At tip with Starsan is to use demineralised water if your going to keep it mixed for any length of time. I was given this advice by Anthony from CB. Apparently it reacts with stuff in normal tap water and loses its efficiency. You will note it goes a bit cloudy in tap water. That is it reacting. In demineralised water it doesn't do this. I buy a 5litre bottle for about $2.50 from woolies and then squirt 7.5mls into it and shake. Got a heap on hand any time then.
 

Econwatson

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Regarding taking the labels off, I just stuck mine in the dishwasher. Lot's of them fell off and the others just peeled off. I then used a soft metal pot scrubber to get rid of any additional gunk still left on.

My sanitising regime is to fill a 330 bottle about half full with my diluted sanitiser of choice. Give it a good shaking with my hand over the top, use a funnel to pour the sanitising solution into the next bottle, and continue. Once you get a routine going, it doesn't take long at all.

But to be honest, the label process only has to be done once. It's a real pain, but when you're done you have beautiful looking brown bottles to stick your beer in and fret about exploding all the time!

No matter how well I sanitise, I live in constant fear of bottle bombs! I think I need to see a psychologist, who can diagnose a term for it. Maybe Bottlebomophobia or Gusher Syndrome would be suitable names!
 

givemeamash

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use tallies not 330 ml, then when you get sick of that kegs...
 

homebrewkid

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was going to start a new thread for this but...........
i made a bottle washer years ago for cleaning the yeast layer out of a bottle in about 2 seconds and plan on making some to sell if there is any interest
i will be looking at costing them in the next few days
will start a new thread then

Cheers: HBK
 

beatbreaker

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Hey guys thanks for the answers.
@carniebrew - That was a great answer really helping me make do with what I've got, no need to go out and buy a ton of new equipment, just a good straightforward method. I've ordered a bottle of starsan and will be getting a bottle tree, rinser soon also.

@Rowy - I've heard many mixed reports on this already, I've even watched
doing a PH test on cloudy VS non cloudy solutions, and he believes it's fine. That said I've got distilled water around to be more sure.

Thanks all the guys for the advice. I'm not getting any kegging equipment in the near future so simple inexpensive solutions are appreciated.

Does anyone know if things like these are available in Australia? @homebrewkid I'll keep an eye out also.
 
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homebrewkid

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Does anyone know if things like these are available in Australia?



yeah last i looked they were about 45 dollars made of brass though never seen a plastic one
thats why i made my own bottle washer
 

431neb

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I use one of these buggers to clean my stubbies with hot water. Getting onto them early is crucial as already noted. I lose confidence in my sanitation regime if I have to clean bottles with that mouldy shit that grows on the yeast krud or if (WORSE!) it has dried out krud.

Basically.

1. Drink beer / empty bottle.
2. Hot water via brass bottle washer attachment and leave them lying around all over my shed in very haphazard fashion.
3. (On bottle day) Collect 60 bottles from random hiding places all over the shed (and that stash that I forgot to clean under the sink in the house).
Sodium perc each one via bottle squirty thingy (the purple plastic jigger not the brass one) and onto sanitised bottle tree.
5. Hot water through brass bottle washer and then immediately onto the no rinse sanitiser (not sodium perc) via the purple squirter (No crude jokes at this point).
6. Fill Bottles with the finest drink ever created (the best evidence I have that there is a God).
7. Repeat.


I think that the beer joint on Eskay Rd in Oakleigh (Vic) sells the brass washery thingy. Watch out for that bastard though because the f**ker can get stuck and hose one in the chest with bloody hot water. Don't laugh at you mate when it happens cos it pisses him off. Worst of all don't duck out of the way when it happens to you or it will hose down your garage door opener and piss YOU off. Trust me.... Friggin' thing is still playing up....

Some tips. Crank the heat in your Hot Water Service to maximum but be careful (especially if you have kids). Temprites (and similar) would reduce the effectiveness of this method significantly IMO. I have a dedicated HWS in the shed with no such safety devices (I have burn marks on my chest to prove it - just kidding that's my brew day buddy - ROFL!!

Bottle into 1.5 l champagne bottles and save some time. I only had one bottle officer honest!

PS Duck tape won't hold champagne corks in unless you use a shitload of it.

PPS Yes it is DUCK tape not DUCT tape even though it get's used for ducts. 3M invented it for wartime use and it had to work in water so they named it duck tape. Quack, quack!

IMG_1278.JPG
 
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The sink in that photo, did you just slaughter an animal in there?

That looks ******* septic, you need biohazard controls, not some piss arse bottle washer.............
 

bullsneck

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I usually wait until I have roughly 20 500mL bottles (love those Euro style bottles) and soak them as I am soaking a used fermenter with Sodium Perc. A good rinse then onto the dish rack to drain.
Later I 'cap' them with a little bit of foil and chuck them in a COLD oven. Bump up the heat gradually to 200 to leave for 60 minutes. Do not open the oven, you will crack 20 clean and sterile glasses. Get them the next morning or whatever.
You will have sterile bottles up until you take off that little foil cap. The process is so easy and can be done whenever you have a spare hour or so. Not very labour intensive at all.
A like the piece of mind as well. I usually bottle beers I will keep for 6 months or more so I need to ensure sanitary practise.
 

glaab

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Black Devil Dog said:
The sink in that photo, did you just slaughter an animal in there?

That looks ******* septic, you need biohazard controls, not some piss arse bottle washer.............
+ 1 !
 

bum

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Econwatson said:
Regarding taking the labels off, I just stuck mine in the dishwasher. Lot's of them fell off and the others just peeled off. I then used a soft metal pot scrubber to get rid of any additional gunk still left on.

My sanitising regime is to fill a 330 bottle about half full with my diluted sanitiser of choice. Give it a good shaking with my hand over the top, use a funnel to pour the sanitising solution into the next bottle, and continue. Once you get a routine going, it doesn't take long at all.
The labels are on the outside and don't affect the quality of the beer within at all.

You're effectively jamming your dirty-arsed thumb in an otherwise clean bottle and you might be affecting the beer within. Consider a thumbless method that works for you.

beatbreaker said:
Ahaha. That guy is a a moron. Please consider relying on other sources.

431neb said:
PPS Yes it is DUCK tape not DUCT tape even though it get's used for ducts. 3M invented it for wartime use and it had to work in water so they named it duck tape. Quack, quack!
Yes but it sometimes more important to express yourself in a way that people understand and relate to. Everyone says "duct tape"? Say "duct tape" unless "ducky-tape" amuses you more.

Black Devil Dog said:
The sink in that photo, did you just slaughter an animal in there?

That looks ******* septic, you need biohazard controls, not some piss arse bottle washer.............
Yeah. Wouldn't even drink beer near that sink, let alone package it.
 
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NuggetSA

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Its been said but just want to highlight it - sodium metabisulphite is baaaaad.

In people with a sensitivity it causes shortness of breath and coughing, in people with asthma it can set off a full on asthma attack and in people with an allergy it can lead to anaphylaxis (just like peanuts allergy.) I'm in the second group so a subject I'm pretty keen on.

Considering it isn't even that wonderful a cleaner get yourself some sodium percarbonate and keep your mates breathing :)
 

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