Why clean or sanitize? It’s been said that most of a brewers job is essentially to be a glorified Janitor Without clean equipment, it doesn’t matter how perfect your brewing skill is … you’re brew is likely to be negatively impacted It takes time, and some money, but both are worth it to be a successful brewer
Cleaning ≠ Sanitizing You cannot sanitize without first cleaning
What is the Difference? CLEANING Removing soils, both organic and inorganic Remove bulk of potential contaminants Expose base material to sanitizing agent SANITATION Reduce spoiling agents (bacteria, yeast, other molds, etc.) to a negligible level NOT the same thing as sterilization (100% of microbes)
Four keys to effective cleaning 3 T’s –Time Generally the longer the contact time, the more effective the solution –Temperature Warm to hot is best, but not too hot! –Turbulence Agitation of the solution, or scrubbing, will get the job done quicker –More of any of these three T’s means less of the others, to a point Concentration –Mix cleaning solutions according to manufacturers directions! (more is not better, but more expensive and possibly harmful)
Why use a cleaning agent at all? Alkali based cleaners dissolve organic substances, greatly aiding in cleaning Acid based cleaners dissolve inorganic substances The surfactants in most cleaners help get cleaning solution into nooks and crannies Sometimes you can’t easily see or reach what you are cleaning, and need to be reasonably sure it’s being cleaned (e.g. counterflow chiller, kegs) The better cleaning agents include a mix of the best chemicals for brewery cleaning (alkali’s, percarbonate, chelators, surfactants)
Some commercial cleaning agents In order of MY preference –Five Star PBW (powdered brewery wash) –Oxyclean –Barkeeps Friend (Oxalyic acid) –Caustic (careful!) –Others: Dish detergent, baking soda, iodine-based
Things to keep in mind Scrub when applicable, soak when appropriate –Do NOT scrub plastics, soaking is best –Carboy brushes can be a PiTA, a 24-hour soak in PBW will take care of almost anything Wear gloves when handling chemicals –Unless it’s been a long time since your last chemical peel exfoliation Try to be efficient –Hot water from chiller is excellent base for final clean up –Transfer cleaning solution around, especially when cleaning kegs
What to sanitize? Focus on cold-side equipment –Don’t worry about HLT, Mash Tun, Boil kettle (pre-boil at least) –Basically boil kettle valve onward through the brewing process –Don’t forget tools Sanitize all transfer lines frequently, but replace regularly If there’s a remote chance it’s going to touch cooled wort … sanitize it –Keep a spray bottle of sanitizer handy Not a bad idea to sanitize hot-side equipment now and then as well
Different sanitizers require different handling Star-San –Mix according to instructions, one ounce per 5 gallons, adding Star-San to water, not vice versa; avoids foaming –Cool to warm water (not hot, <110 o F) –Only need a few minutes of contact time –DO NOT RINSE! (and don’t fear the foam … take advantage of it) –Use distilled water, and as long as ph above 3.5, it’s still good! Iodophor –Again, use proper concentrations (1 tablespoon per 5 gallons) and you won’t need to rinse with 2 minute contact time –May start turning plastics yellow, but not harmful Bleach –Use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water –20 minutes contact time –RINSE VERY WELL with boiled water –That said … saving a few cents by using bleach is not worth it considering the far better alternatives available, in my opinion
Sanitizing Tips Careful how you dispose of sanitizers Keep a spray bottle of sanitizer handy You don’t need to fill a carboy with Star-San to sanitize it, use a gallon and shake it Boiling is an effective way to sanitize well –Especially good for oxygen stones, stainless parts Oven can be used too for dry sterilizing –Check out How-to-Brew site or book for detail on time/temp –http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2-3.htmlhttp://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2-3.html Make sure it is CLEAN first!
Special Topic: Keg Washing Drain and rinse dead kegs, stash away Wait until have 3-4 kegs to clean I disassemble each time, cleaning parts while keg soaks in hot PBW for 30 minutes Reassemble and push hot cleaner into next keg Repeat with remaining kegs, followed by hot water rinse, then sanitizer Clean kegerator lines at same time Save final keg of sanitizer to use later Some custom keg cleaner rigs on the internet –http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/my-cheap-easy-keg- washer-109684/http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/my-cheap-easy-keg- washer-109684/
Cleaning and Sanitizing is important Don’t skimp, it’s pennies per batch to do it right and time well spent
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