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Cleaning Plastic Fermenters

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DarrenTheDrunk

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Hello fellow drinkers

Yes it is me again, but I can assure you it’s a different topic and a simple one. Hopefully it does not create any issues with anybody. With the plastic fermenters of which I have 1x 60 L and 5 x 30l, given I have sworn on the Bible never to use chlorine again, and further to that, it is recommended that you do not use scrubbing brushes and anything of the sort that will permeate the plastic, how in the hell does everybody clean their fermenters? That is my only question and way more simpler than my previous questions.

Cheers and Beers Big Ears
 

mje1980

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Hot hot water, sodium percarbonate and shake. Let it sit for a while and a soft cloth ( blue chux ) and wipe it. Soak overnight if really bad
 

mje1980

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Cheapest way is in 25kg sacks from a local chemical supply place ( this will be pure sodium per carbonate ). Or online in kg amounts. In a pinch napisan has it in smaller concentrations

By the way, 25kg will last a lifetime so maybe split with other brewers in your area

It’s also very good for stainless
 

DarrenTheDrunk

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Perfect. I have a contact who is the production manager of a chemical manufacturing company and in fact they specialize in water purification so maybe he will have this. Thanks
 

kadmium

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Not to be pedantic, but specialised brewery cleaners are far more effective than Sodium Percarbonate. They have chelates, surfactants and other chemicals which will help remove beer stone.

However, I would imagine that a soak in PBW or even any power cleaner is not that critical for every use.

When I fermented in buckets / HDPE barrels with the lids, I would simply give them a good rinse with hot water from the tap. I wipe down inside using a blue chux that you can get on a big roll from like Bunnings and even coles and woolies etc.

Maybe once every dozen or so brews I would give a good clean with PBW (Sodium Perc but with extra).

Now that I have a PET fermenter, I use a CIP (Clean In Place) type method with a pond pump and cleaner, but mainly because PET scratches easier and the hole is too small to fit my sausage hands inside.

Don't take these things too much to heart, if you follow a principal that 'clean' is good, the sanitiser will do the rest. You can't sanitise visually held on crud etc, but if the fermenter is clean inside, the sanitiser does the job you need it to do. In fact, pretty sure Dr Hans did a video where he didn't clean his fermenter for a year. He agreed that it started to go bad after a few months, but it shows that you don't have to be super anal retentive about it.

If it visually looks clean, free of deposits and you give a spray down with starsan before brewing, it's pretty good.

Do pay attention to removing the tap and cleaning the threads around there, and also take the rubber seal out every now and then if you can and give a good wipe underneath etc. It shouldn't get too grungy unless you have a big vigorous fermentation.
 
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Nullnvoid

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Cheapest way is in 25kg sacks from a local chemical supply place ( this will be pure sodium per carbonate ). Or online in kg amounts. In a pinch napisan has it in smaller concentrations

By the way, 25kg will last a lifetime so maybe split with other brewers in your area

It’s also very good for stainless
I agree with everything except the 25kg will last a life time. Once you realise the potential right throughout the house, you will be using it everywhere! And then it only lasts about 2 years :)
 

carrobrew

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I use PBW with some hot water (just tap hot, and my tap water is not very hot, lucky to be 50c), or with water heated from my Brewzilla if I am cleaning that with PBW as well (usually around 50 or when I get sick of waiting for the solution to heat up) leave to soak for a while (halvies?) then rinse well with same temp water.

And that is not every brew either. Mostly I just hose the thing out with the garden hose on the highest pressure setting to remove all the gunk and wipe with a microfibre cloth then rinse a few times. If its got extra gunk on it I will do the PBW routine or just do that after a bunch of brews. (I dunno like 6-12?) I've got 2 fermenters one of the starter kit morgans ones and a coopers one. I noticed some slight scratches on the coopers one which I used for my last brew so may look at upgrading but no infection or anything yet.

As others said PBW is basically just sodium percarbonate with added detergents and surfactants for cutting through grease and oil (from hops and other trub etc) which sodium percarbonate is not great at doing, although is not necessary, lots of people only use sodium percarbonate with good results.

Just make sure you rinse the PBW out afterwards, and generally rinse with the same temp water you washed with.

Also the hotter the temp the more effective the PBW, but with the plastics fermenters be careful not to do too hot and melt the thing.
 

Paddy Melon

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I found that using Napisan or Aldi's Di-San powders soaked over nigh 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 cleaning.
 

peterlonz

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Not to be pedantic, but specialised brewery cleaners are far more effective than Sodium Percarbonate. They have chelates, surfactants and other chemicals which will help remove beer stone.

However, I would imagine that a soak in PBW or even any power cleaner is not that critical for every use.

When I fermented in buckets / HDPE barrels with the lids, I would simply give them a good rinse with hot water from the tap. I wipe down inside using a blue chux that you can get on a big roll from like Bunnings and even coles and woolies etc.

Maybe once every dozen or so brews I would give a good clean with PBW (Sodium Perc but with extra).

Now that I have a PET fermenter, I use a CIP (Clean In Place) type method with a pond pump and cleaner, but mainly because PET scratches easier and the hole is too small to fit my sausage hands inside.

Don't take these things too much to heart, if you follow a principal that 'clean' is good, the sanitiser will do the rest. You can't sanitise visually held on crud etc, but if the fermenter is clean inside, the sanitiser does the job you need it to do. In fact, pretty sure Dr Hans did a video where he didn't clean his fermenter for a year. He agreed that it started to go bad after a few months, but it shows that you don't have to be super anal retentive about it.

If it visually looks clean, free of deposits and you give a spray down with starsan before brewing, it's pretty good.

Do pay attention to removing the tap and cleaning the threads around there, and also take the rubber seal out every now and then if you can and give a good wipe underneath etc. It shouldn't get too grungy unless you have a big vigorous fermentation.
An excellent & very practical response. My experience is that the plastic buckets sold as fermenters are not that easily scratched, nevertheless taking care is just common sense. Drain taps are the area of concern. I rarely remove mine but do run hot water & sterilent through whilst opening & closing.
 

kadmium

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Agreed, they aren't fragile made of paper, but you do need to take care of them. One thing I did notice when I put boiling hot water, it would destroy the little stick on thermometers on them, so just keep that in mind too!
 

carrobrew

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Agreed, they aren't fragile made of paper, but you do need to take care of them. One thing I did notice when I put boiling hot water, it would destroy the little stick on thermometers on them, so just keep that in mind too!
Yeah they are pretty solid.

The scratches I noticed on my coopers one I think were from the previous owner. Got mine off gumtree for $10. Still hasn't caused an issue but was thinking of upgrading to a SS brewbucket or one of the KL/KK pressure fermenters, although no CO2 at the moment.
 

carrobrew

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An excellent & very practical response. My experience is that the plastic buckets sold as fermenters are not that easily scratched, nevertheless taking care is just common sense. Drain taps are the area of concern. I rarely remove mine but do run hot water & sterilent through whilst opening & closing.
I only found out after a year of brewing that you could take apart and clean the morgan's fementer taps. Although the coopers ones are much easier to take apart and also the tap is nicer to use when sampling and bottling.
 

mje1980

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I agree with everything except the 25kg will last a life time. Once you realise the potential right throughout the house, you will be using it everywhere! And then it only lasts about 2 years :)
Haha yes, the stovetop espresso has never been cleaner!
 

Grok

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These 2 products are good and cheap, add a pinch of "Sensitive" laundry detergent (unperfumed), as a wetting agent and good to go. Tricleanium you can get from Bunnings, paint section, usually next to the Sugar Soap, and the Laundry Booster is Sodium Percarbonate.
Sodium Percarbonate.JPGTricleanium.JPG
 

DU99

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Used sodium bicarb for years no issues with storage..........fermenter looks like new
 

butisitart

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Hello fellow drinkers

Yes it is me again, how in the hell does everybody clean their fermenters?

Cheers and Beers Big Ears
no arguments with above posts, but my regime goes like this ;
as soon as i've bottled, soft cloth and water (garden hose, not in the kitchen, much easier). that's it. no cleaning products. if the krausen has gone to cement, then fill with water and soak 20-30mins. i usually do 2-3 fermenters and a bottling fermenter together, so recycle water from one fermenter to the next as i go. but it's a bit like rinsing your bottles when you drink them, do it pretty much straight up and they don't require a lot of hard work.
twice a year, homebrand napisan (sodium percarbonate, see laundry booster above) soak overnight and get it shiny new. that's a good time to chuck in lots of other stuff for a soak too, eg ss hop spiders, beer wands, bulk priming tubing etc. the sodium percarbonate isn't pure, but the homebrands aren't big on hospital fragrances, they're cheap, and maybe you don't need 25kg in the foreseeable future. you can get pure sodium percarbonate by the kilo for about $10-12 kilo from LHBS if you want the pure deal, but not always easily accesible.
not saying it's the correct / best regime, works for me, never had brew issues.
 

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