Bottle washing idea

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djsmi4

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Hello all,

Long time between forum visits. I'm after some opinions please from others who use bottles. I'm sticking with bottling as I enjoy the process.

I'm in the process of setting up a new brew station after a hiatus of a few years, and have come up with an idea for improved bottle cleaning. I have my shed set up with power, and I have water tanks + a pump opposite where my brew station is so I can plumb in cold water. For hot water I'll use an urn or kettle.

I have a stainless laundry sink large enough to fit 15 inverted bottles, I intend to set it up with a self-replenishing system.

The sink plughole will have piping to a HWS recirc pump (+ a drain tee), which will have a discharge line that runs back into the sink and discharges through a 3x5 array of spouts which 15 bottles will sit inverted on.

I'd intend to partially fill the sink with HOT water + steriliser, sit the 15 bottles on the array, start the pump & let it run for ~10 mins. The solution hits the insides of the bottles and drains back into the sink to start the process over again. Open the drain tee to empty, then repeat the process with the bottles with clean hot water.

I've got a fridgie mate who might be able to piece together the pipework/array/spouts, for mates rates, if the above process sounds viable/if others have done this. I think the two keys here the cost of doing this, and ensuring the HWS recirc pump can create enough flow/pressure to clean bottles. I see there are cheap HWS recirc pumps on ebay that do 45-53L/m & can pump 6m head. My only concern here is these specs equate to ~50ml worth of water per second sprayed into each of the 15 longnecks. If this too little flow?

If it's all too hard I'll just use tongs, thick gloves, & simply soak the bottles as I'd previously done. I might take up the drill/brush idea I'd seen on here too haha, for those tough-to-clean bottles.

Thanks all for reading
 

kadmium

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I think a soak in PBW will remove most crusted on residue. Then just a good clean.

Once the bottles have been cleaned once, all you really need to do is give them a good rinse with hot water as soon as you empty it.

By employing a simple, but critical practice when drinking you save a boat load of hassle.

Then, all you do is leave it to air dry. Next time you're bottling, starsan them and off you go.

There shouldn't be a need for an intensive cleaning regime each time you use a bottle.

That's just what I found when I bottled.

1. Crack bottle open
2. Pour into glass
3. Immediately rinse bottle with warm water 3 times (magic number)
4. Leave bottle to dry
5. Store bottle in box etc to keep dust etc out

Bottling day:
1. Check bottle dust free
2. Fill bucket with star san
3. Soak bottle a couple minutes
4. Bottle
 

butisitart

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similar
i did the big clean when i did my first bottlings (almost all my bottles came out of the bin at the back of the german club).
i've never scrubbed one since. never had to soak one since
as soon as i empty one, rinse out under the kitchen tap, dry on the bottle tree, sanitise on plunger at next brew. done.
if they get beer on the outside while bottling, immediate (capped) wash to get beer off.
my few 330ml swing top taster bottles (last one out of the fermenter, the dregs) have probably done the trip 100 times each.
 

Grmblz

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Be careful, as the name suggests a lot of those pumps are designed to circulate water in a closed loop, not squirt it out of a hose, you need a pressure pump.
 

djsmi4

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Thanks all for your replies,

Grmblz yes I wasn't sure on whether a HWS recirc pump would be suitable for this kind of loop; their ability to handle hot water was what caught my eye, all other cheap pumps I'd seen can't handle anything above ~40*C. All of the bottle-washing setups I've seen online are for cold/mild water and are for sanitising pre-cleaned bottles. I suppose there's a reason there hasn't been a bottle nuking setup made in this manner that's easily findable online.

I had a somewhat reasonable setup & process at my old house & never bothered with this kind of complexity. However in moving houses, storing bottles in sub-prime conditions for a couple of years, plus having batches of bottles given to friends returned to me inadequately cleaned, it's exacerbated my need to give ALL my bottles a thorough nuking.

Maybe this thread will go nowhere beyond here but I appreciate the consistent responses - hopefully others with similar thoughts may see this & stick to the tried-&-true of ensuring the bottles are cleaned upon emptying & stored properly until re-used.
 

GrumpyPaul

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Havent botted for a while but when I used grolsh bottles I did the same as @kadmium mentioned above. Rinse soon after pouring. I didn't even soak mine in star san - just poured a bit in, shook it around then drained into next bottle and repeat
 

kadmium

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Hey mate, the reason most people don't use HOT water, is that PBW or Percarbonate should be used below 50c.

You will be amazed at what an overnight soak in PBW will do to the bottle man. Just fill up a big tub (you can buy huge ones from Bunnings) and make up a 1% solution of PBW (Power Brewery Wash) or something like Atomic ABC from Keg King (Made in Aus, and has other cleaners in it).

Soak overnight in water that was around 40c. Next day, squirt them out with a hose on jet nozzle. Will be freaking clean as.
 

Kodos

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FiveStar says to use PBW at 140C (60c) for a 4-hour soak (overnight if cold), and between and 130-180F (55-80C) if recirculating. I think the below 50C limit is for Kegland/Keg King plastic fermenters (and many pumps) so they don't melt.

Years ago I had a go at using a cleaner similar to what you describe, @djsmi4, but pressure was the biggest issue. This one held about 20 bottles, with narrow stainless pipes. Mains water pressure was OK to create a gentle rinse, but dealing with the waste water was hard. I couldn't get a pump that could create enough pressure.

That said, I've seen a couple of PVC versions on YouTube that seem to work OK.



I think finding the right pump is a big issue.

Even with a good pump setup like this, I would say soak in PBW (or equivalent) and then use a unit like this to batch rinse (don't recirculate the water), and then to pump sanitiser through.

Hey mate, the reason most people don't use HOT water, is that PBW or Percarbonate should be used below 50c.

You will be amazed at what an overnight soak in PBW will do to the bottle man. Just fill up a big tub (you can buy huge ones from Bunnings) and make up a 1% solution of PBW (Power Brewery Wash) or something like Atomic ABC from Keg King (Made in Aus, and has other cleaners in it).

Soak overnight in water that was around 40c. Next day, squirt them out with a hose on jet nozzle. Will be freaking clean as.
 

Kodos

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It all gets you there in the end. The oft quoted line is "Time, Temperature and Agitation". If you have to reduce one, increase at least one of the others.

100% I had my wires crossed. It's due to the fermenter not going over 50C and the Atomic ABC states less than 60C
 
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butisitart

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Thanks all for your replies,

Grmblz yes I wasn't sure on whether a HWS recirc pump would be suitable for this kind of loop; their ability to handle hot water was what caught my eye, all other cheap pumps I'd seen can't handle anything above ~40*C. All of the bottle-washing setups I've seen online are for cold/mild water and are for sanitising pre-cleaned bottles. I suppose there's a reason there hasn't been a bottle nuking setup made in this manner that's easily findable online.

I had a somewhat reasonable setup & process at my old house & never bothered with this kind of complexity. However in moving houses, storing bottles in sub-prime conditions for a couple of years, plus having batches of bottles given to friends returned to me inadequately cleaned, it's exacerbated my need to give ALL my bottles a thorough nuking.

Maybe this thread will go nowhere beyond here but I appreciate the consistent responses - hopefully others with similar thoughts may see this & stick to the tried-&-true of ensuring the bottles are cleaned upon emptying & stored properly until re-used.
sounds like a nice set up if you're doing gazillions of complete overhauls, but even there, ok, i was only doing what i dug out of the german club on saturday mornings, but call it 10-20 bottles at a time, it was the home-brand napisan (sodium percarbonate) soak and bottle brush. even that took time, but once done, no need for a repeat. slippery little buggers when they're covered in napisan though.
 

butisitart

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had a neighbour who used to like getting covered in napisan and oh, wrong forum
 

djsmi4

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Hmmm I like the sound of giving the bottles an overnight soak! I never had that option at my old house so never gave it a thought.

I have approx 350 longnecks, most of which need a full nuking. I'm happy to just do ~30 at a time the night prior to bottling. Rinsing/sanitising one-at-a-time doesn't bother me too much, it was just dealing with the hot napisan solution (which I'm familiar with @butisitart haha), even the heavy duty rubber gloves I had at my old place were no match for slippery bottles, & the gloves would only stand up to so much time in >70*C water until I couldn't handle the heat.

@Kodos yes they're the setups I've seen online.

Well I might just opt for the soak option!

Thanks again all
 

Kodos

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Sounds like a solid plan, @djsmi4 !

Before I started kegging, I would put all empty bottles in a large esky I had lying around. And after bottling a previous batch, I would rinse out the fermenter then leaving it soak overnight in hot PBW.

The next day (or the day after that), I'd run the PBW out of the fermenter tap and through the bottling hose, into the bottles in the esky, and let them sit for several days before rinsing/draining and putting away ready for the next batch. The extra time dislodged even more stubborn gunk.

Happy bottling!

Hmmm I like the sound of giving the bottles an overnight soak! I never had that option at my old house so never gave it a thought.

I have approx 350 longnecks, most of which need a full nuking. I'm happy to just do ~30 at a time the night prior to bottling. Rinsing/sanitising one-at-a-time doesn't bother me too much, it was just dealing with the hot napisan solution (which I'm familiar with @butisitart haha), even the heavy duty rubber gloves I had at my old place were no match for slippery bottles, & the gloves would only stand up to so much time in >70*C water until I couldn't handle the heat.

@Kodos yes they're the setups I've seen online.

Well I might just opt for the soak option!

Thanks again all
 

Paddy Melon

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I'm with the Napisan or Aldi di-San powders soaked over night. Make up a bucket with warm water pour into bottles, a carton at a time, then rinse next morning. Never had any crud left, mind you apart from the initial wash,( I got most of my bottles from the back of the local restaurant), I haven't had any issues as I always do the three times rinse after emptying each bottle. I also found that using this stuff to remove the Krausen, after brewing, works a treat. I plug the bubbler hole in the lid with one of those ear protection noise inserts (the ones you role in your fingers to fit) place a bucket of solution into the fermenter put on the lid turn fermenter upside down making sure the solution covers the Krausen line and leave over night. Krausen all gone no scrubbing. The Aldi Di San is cheap and works a treat for this kind of stuff.
 

Chorba

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This string has got me thinking about my process. I rinse bottles immediately after use as described and sanitise prior to bottling. However with the fermenter I have been cleaning after bottling by scrubbing with cold water to remove the crud, then immediately starting another brew without actually sanitising the fermenter. So far so good with all my brews, however should I also sanitise the fermenter, given it is in continuous use from one brew to the next??
 

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