bottle sterilization

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bottle sterilization

Postby Megastout on Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:05 pm

Have only cleaned bottles with PBW and sanitized with Star San. What about sterilizing techniques such as the oven. Has anyone tried the oven with a little water in each bottle to add as an addition, steam to the equation. Other thoughts?
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Re: bottle sterilization

Postby CurtisG on Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:51 am

I have only used PBW and starsan as well.
Some people online have used their dish washer to steam sanitize bottles, but I don't know how well it works.
I feel like spraying starsan in each bottle would be a bit easier than baking them all in an oven, but if the dish washer heat setting works it should speed things up a bit.
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Re: bottle sterilization

Postby lexuschris on Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:44 pm

For many years, I just rinsed my bottles, after consumption, with water, then sanitized them on bottling day. However, I have more recently had a stray bottle or two that went wild on me, so I am now soaking the insides with warm OxyClean, rinsing, then using SaniClean/StarSan prior to filling. I do use a bottle drying rack to let them drip out upside down first.

Ovens for glass bottles sound like a chance for breakage and messy cleanup. Especially with water in them. However, I have never tried that ...

If you are looking for a way to make your bottling clean easier, I highly recommend one of these..
Image

Less cleaning fluid is used, and it can be placed atop your bottle drying rack and is an easy way to shoot lots of cleaner up into the bottles.

BTW, when I started 20 years ago, I would get used bottles form the local sushi bars, and just use bleach and a bottle cleaner. :) I'm surprised it worked as well as it did for so long. However, now I only use store bought bottles, and when I reuse, I give them the hairy eyeball and if I see anything opaque on the bottom, I toss it in the trash. :D

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Re: bottle sterilization

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:08 pm

I like to use used Firestone Walker and Sierra Nevada bottles. The labels soak off easily in PBW or OxyClean. When I finish a beer, I rinse the bottle really well with water. Before bottling, I soak in PBW or OxyClean - I can fit about 12 bottles in one bucket. I put cleaner in the bucket and a little in each bottle. I fill the bucket with hot water until it covers the tops of the bottles. I soak them until the labels start floating up to the to top. I give each bottle a good rinse and scrub the rest of the labels off. I do the same with bottles and StarSan in a bucket. I will pour the StarSan out carefully to not leave foam in the bottle and immediately set a sanitized cap on top to prevent any bad guys from floating in there. I now have clean and sanitized bottles ready to be filled.

I'm not sure about the oven. I have heard that it can make the glass brittle. I don't think putting water in there would be worth the danger of steam burns and other hazards. In addition, once the bottles are removed from the oven, you would need to keep them inverted or cap them to keep them sanitized. I would actually trust the sani-rinse cycle of the dishwasher more since steam is a very effective sanitizer and the bottles would already be inverted. I would just make sure the bottles going into the dishwasher are already clean - you would just be using the dishwasher to sanitize. Also, I would not use any detergent or rinse aids.
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Re: bottle sterilization

Postby dhempy on Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:45 am

+1 to everything said above ... I pretty much follow Chris's sterilizing routine with that same spray pump on my bottle rack but I use the non-foaming Star-san. And likewise for Brad's label washing ... hot oxi-clean in the sink and a scrubber.

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Re: bottle sterilization

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Tue Jan 06, 2015 11:57 am

I need to get one of those pumps for sanitizing the bottles upside down. That would make my life so much easier.

Another key thing to remember is that there is a difference between sanitizing and sterilizing. If something is sanitary, it is mostly free of contaminants and is considered safe. If something is sterile, it is completely free from micro-organisms. Practically speaking, for home brewers, it is much easier and cheaper to reach a sanitary level (and this is generally accepted). Also, whether you are sanitizing or sterilizing, you must first clean the object you are trying to sanitize/sterilize. Cleaning gets rid of the stuff you can see. Sanitizing and sterilizing gets rid of the stuff you can't see.
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Re: bottle sterilization

Postby bwarbiany on Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:43 pm

BrewMasterBrad wrote:Another key thing to remember is that there is a difference between sanitizing and sterilizing. If something is sanitary, it is mostly free of contaminants and is considered safe. If something is sterile, it is completely free from micro-organisms. Practically speaking, for home brewers, it is much easier and cheaper to reach a sanitary level (and this is generally accepted). Also, whether you are sanitizing or sterilizing, you must first clean the object you are trying to sanitize/sterilize. Cleaning gets rid of the stuff you can see. Sanitizing and sterilizing gets rid of the stuff you can't see.


I did some research on this a few years ago. While this seems strange, even boiling something is not necessarily enough to make it considered *sterile*. To reach true sterilization, an autoclave reaching higher temps of 250+ degrees is the way to go.

That's not to say that boiling isn't good enough for our purposes, of course. And I still boil a bit of water in the bottom of the keg and use the heat and steam to sanitize it, even though I know it's not completely sterile. But boiling doesn't meet the laboratory definition of "sterile".
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Re: bottle sterilization

Postby BrewMasterBrad on Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:03 am

bwarbiany wrote:
BrewMasterBrad wrote:Another key thing to remember is that there is a difference between sanitizing and sterilizing. If something is sanitary, it is mostly free of contaminants and is considered safe. If something is sterile, it is completely free from micro-organisms. Practically speaking, for home brewers, it is much easier and cheaper to reach a sanitary level (and this is generally accepted). Also, whether you are sanitizing or sterilizing, you must first clean the object you are trying to sanitize/sterilize. Cleaning gets rid of the stuff you can see. Sanitizing and sterilizing gets rid of the stuff you can't see.


I did some research on this a few years ago. While this seems strange, even boiling something is not necessarily enough to make it considered *sterile*. To reach true sterilization, an autoclave reaching higher temps of 250+ degrees is the way to go.

That's not to say that boiling isn't good enough for our purposes, of course. And I still boil a bit of water in the bottom of the keg and use the heat and steam to sanitize it, even though I know it's not completely sterile. But boiling doesn't meet the laboratory definition of "sterile".


I do the same thing to sanitize my fermentor kegs.
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Re: bottle sterilization

Postby Megastout on Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:57 pm

Thanks for all your valuable input. The procedure I developed in ignorance following some research lead me to what I have done lately up until now:
1. Yes, rinsing bottles after every use, 3 times and upside down to dry in bottling drying racks in the
kitchen.
2. Use my kettle to bring water, about 6 gals for a 5 gal batch, up to 140 degrees with appropriate
amount of PBW, on the label it says to use water at a temp of 100-160.
3. I then arrange the bottles in my 2 sinks and take water from the kettle through the valve in a half
gallon pitcher and pour the solution in every bottle up to and overflowing.
4. Next as the PBW label states, let soak for 25 to 35 minutes. I go about 30 minutes.
5. Following that, I take the bottle brush to each bottle while the water is in the bottle and then
dump the water out after brushing then rinse with 120 degree water from my hot water position
of the kitchen faucet and put them back in the drying racks.
6. Just before bottling I use Star San in the rinsing tool that Chris mentioned (works really well)
pushing down on the stem of the tool, once for 12 oz bottles and twice for 22 or 25.4 oz bottles
and also dipping the mouth end in the solution after the rinse.
Sterilizing I was then curious about, maybe it would save me some time which is always good.

Since my last communication I tried the oven trick. John Palmer mentions 338 degrees for an hour.
I put the oven on 250 and the bottles on a cookie tray with a tablespoon of water in each for steam effect and left it in the oven for an hour. Turned off the oven and let it gradually cool down with the door shut for about 3-4 hours so the bottles didn't get shocked with temp change. So far so good.
Dam, when I tried to pull the cookie sheet out, obviously not so careful, all the bottles fell over
and one fell out hit the tile floor and broke, not ideal, bring on the shop vac.

I will try the dishwasher technique next and measure the temp during the heat cycle.
Will let you know how it works.

Thanks one and all. Sharing info is important to improving brewing.

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Re: bottle sterilization

Postby Megastout on Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:14 pm

Update; put 54, 12 oz bottles in the dishwasher without soap with the sani rinse cycle chosen.
The temp got up to 155 degrees, was hoping for higher, but the bottles seem to come out squeaky clean. And, was definitely less work.
After I bottle the next batch, will see what the outcome is like.
Forgot to mention, but after a rinse with Star San, I hit the bottles with CO2 just before filling.

The main reason I am exploring this whole process is because once I had exploding bottles and a couple of times I had some bottle gushers.

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