Cheap, easy DIY bottle sanitiser

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verysupple

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Up until now I've sanitised my bottles in one of either two ways:

1) In the dishwasher on the hottest setting with no detergent or rinse aid

2) Filling the small sink (~6 L) in our double kitchen sink with no rinse phosphoric sanitiser, submerging two bottles at a time to fill, tipping the sanitiser back in to the sink, and then draining the bottles on the sanitised dishwasher rack.

Both of these methods took too long and used too much water. So I figured there was a better way. I had a quick Google around and found things like this but wasn't impressed with the way they only squirt one stream straight up, or the price.

I then remembered reading about the ghetto beer engine for under 10 bucks and though I could easily adapt that idea. I was right, it's super easy and pretty cheap.

Here's the end product:

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P2252692.JPG

P2252695.JPG

Note I don't actually use bottles like this for beer, I just used this one for testing because it's clear so I can see what's going on.


Just mix up your sanitiser to the correct dilution in the reservoir, pump it up, stick the nozzle into the bottle, press the button and wiggle it around a bit to make sure the whole bottle surface is covered. Then leave the bottles to drain on a sanitised dishwasher rack / bottle tree. I haven't timed it but to do longnecks for a 23-ish L batch should only take a few minutes. As mentioned above, I use phosphoric acid sanitiser which doesn't foam up very much. I've never used StarSan but understand it foams quite a bit, but I don't think it'd be a problem here.

I got the 2 L pressure sprayer from a hardware shop for ~$8. That should be enough capacity to get a whole batch of bottles done. Of course you can buy whatever size you want.

The nozzle is the shaft from a Brigalow bottle filler (~$6) with holes poked in it with a hot safety pin. There are four rows of holes 90 degrees apart around the tube with a hole every 4 cm - i.e. it makes a spiral with a hole every centimetre along the shaft.

The black cap on the end of the nozzle is an 8 mm rubber cap from the hardware store ($2 for a pack of two) with 4 more holes poked in it to squirt the bottom of the bottles. I think the nozzle (bottle filler shaft) is actually 10 mm but I wanted a tight fit so it didn't come loose. I had to dip it in boiled water to get it on, but then is was no problem when hot and soft.

I unscrewed the original spray nozzle from the pressure sprayer and pushed on a piece of 10 mm ID vinyl tubing that I had lying around (again, easier when hot and soft) and then pushed in the new, long nozzle.

All up it cost me about $16.

I hope this helps anyone else that's looking for a quicker and easier way of sanitising their bottles. Oh yeah, and it very quickly and easily turns into a beer engine! :D
 

Matplat

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Nice macguyvering!

The only thing I will say is that although the pump sprays (that you buy) only shoot one jet, it is a very thick stream and hits the top of the bottle and runs down the sides giving excellent coverage.

They work extremely well, for anyone who is thinking about getting one.
 

verysupple

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Good to know. Even if I knew that before I still would have built my own just because I like building stuff. And I saved a few bucks. :)

When I was bottling the other night I found another use for the sanitiser. I use a setup like this (but with a normal racking cane instead of an autosiphon) and of course the bottler is the same size as my sanitiser nozzle (because it was a bottler). So I just unplugged the nozzle, pulled the valve thingy off the bottler and plugged in the bottler shaft (which was still attached to the siphon) and sanitised the siphoning system that way. Too easy. To sanitise the valve I just took it apart and chucked it in the bowl of sanitising solution with the bottle caps.
 

Grott

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Nothing wrong with trying new things, making stuff ect. Have to agree with Matplat, the pump units are so easy and so fast and do cover all the inside of the bottle. I dip one bottle neck in the solution and with the other hand pump 3 times rotating another bottle and so on.
Cheers
 

gTrain

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I use a vinator as well. As these have a bowl setup for the sanitiser you are effectively re-using the sanitiser, so you use very little to sanitise a batch of bottles.

Have to admit that I admire the ingenuity of home brewers with some of the things they come up with to get the job done.

Oh...and I only pump twice..
 

technobabble66

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Great idea,
... but what about just pouring 200ml of Starsan solution into the first bottle, thumb over the top, shake like crazy for 3 secs, then (using a funnel) pour into the second bottle. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Dip the top of all bottles into a little bowl containing some more Starsan solution, then let drain/dry inverted in a freshly emptied, post-wash dishwasher.
Funnel costs $2 and it's super quick & easy.
Where's the flaw in this process? or is it just too simple?
 

Tyred

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You'd be pouring foam only after a couple of bottles and the foam takes ages to go through a funnel. Still, it's nice and simple.
 

technobabble66

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Done it many many times. It's still mainly liquid or liquidy foam after the first and every other shake. The foam may take, on average, 1.3 secs longer to drain. I don't sweat that.
By far the quickest technique I've seen/used (other than kegs, of course).
 

Brewman_

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What I do is rinse every bottle after use.

Then when I am ready to bottle,
soak all of the bottles in Pink Stain few a few hours.
No scrubbing just a soak.
Then rinse in cold water and bottle.
Works great. Cleans and sanitises.

Steve
 

DJ_L3ThAL

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technobabble66 said:
Great idea,
... but what about just pouring 200ml of Starsan solution into the first bottle, thumb over the top, shake like crazy for 3 secs, then (using a funnel) pour into the second bottle. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Dip the top of all bottles into a little bowl containing some more Starsan solution, then let drain/dry inverted in a freshly emptied, post-wash dishwasher.
Funnel costs $2 and it's super quick & easy.
Where's the flaw in this process? or is it just too simple?
Very clean thumbs must be the key.

My thumbs... well...
 

JDW81

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Brewman_ said:
What I do is rinse every bottle after use.

Then when I am ready to bottle,
soak all of the bottles in Pink Stain few a few hours.
No scrubbing just a soak.
Then rinse in cold water and bottle.
Works great. Cleans and sanitises.

Steve
If you rinse your bottles out well immediately after emptying (making sure there is no residue left inside) then store upside down to keep the dust out they only need a hit with starsan, no soaking needed. I only soak bottles when they've got a bit of crud built up in them. Bottling this way for the last 7 years and no infections yet.

JD
 

technobabble66

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DJ_L3ThAL said:
Very clean thumbs must be the key.

My thumbs... well...
That's the beauty of Starsan: it becomes a very clean thumb straight away! :lol: (well, sanitised at least).

Even if the thumb (or whatever else you're blocking the opening with...) is not clean, the residual stars an sitting on the glass/plastic rim will re-sanitise it within a minute or two.

And as above, rinse immediately after use so there's no crud to remove before sanitising when next bottling.
If cleaning is required, fill tub with sod perch & sod met combo and hot water, and soak all bottles over night.
 

Tahoose

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Line up all of the bottles in a row. Fill the first one with starsan.
Funnel into the next bottle and dip in the neck of the bottle into the starsan/funnel as its being emptied.
Store sanitised bottle upside down

If you have a full stubbies full of starsan, it's not just all foam.
 

verysupple

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technobabble66 said:
Great idea,
... but what about just pouring 200ml of Starsan solution into the first bottle, thumb over the top, shake like crazy for 3 secs, then (using a funnel) pour into the second bottle. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Dip the top of all bottles into a little bowl containing some more Starsan solution, then let drain/dry inverted in a freshly emptied, post-wash dishwasher.
Funnel costs $2 and it's super quick & easy.
Where's the flaw in this process? or is it just too simple?
It's a good idea and I did it once. It uses very little sanitising solution and it's cheap but it was a bit of a pain with all the shaking and pouring. My new gizmo uses a bit more sanitising solution but is quicker and easier. Water use is a consideration for me, but it's trumped by speed and ease.
 

verysupple

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JDW81 said:
If you rinse your bottles out well immediately after emptying (making sure there is no residue left inside) then store upside down to keep the dust out they only need a hit with starsan, no soaking needed. I only soak bottles when they've got a bit of crud built up in them. Bottling this way for the last 7 years and no infections yet.

JD
I used to do that too. But I decided to give my bottles a soak with Oxyper once, even though there was no visible buildup of crud. To my surprise they all had this scuzzy brown crud coming up on top of the bubbles from the Oxyper. Funnily enough my problems with head retention went away once I started soaking them after every batch instead of once a year-ish. Now I just soak each one after I empty it. Doing them all at once is a pain. I like to spread it out even if it totals up to more work.
 

DJ_L3ThAL

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verysupple said:
I used to do that too. But I decided to give my bottles a soak with Oxyper once, even though there was no visible buildup of crud. To my surprise they all had this scuzzy brown crud coming up on top of the bubbles from the Oxyper. Funnily enough my problems with head retention went away once I started soaking them after every batch instead of once a year-ish. Now I just soak each one after I empty it. Doing them all at once is a pain. I like to spread it out even if it totals up to more work.
+1 I've had more gusher issues with long term stored bottled beers when I used to rinse with hot water and store dry then only starsan. There must be some particulate matter you can't even see that builds over time that leads to gushing as since I PBW soaked the bottles before each use no gushers yet!
I guess if you have a fast turnover you may never have said issue, but I like keeping a long term archive of beers where possible for those late nights of grabbing stuff from the back of the fridge/cupboard ;-)
 
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