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Bottling Day - Cleaning & Sanitizing

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by GoGators, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. New to home brewing and was going to bottle my first batch tonight but reading some forums on cleaning bottles has me confused. i purchased a case of empties and have a case of used bottles which i peeled the labels off of. I think the purchased empties need to just be sanitized (will be using star san) but not sure how to clean the used bottles. i see some people use dishwasher to rinse which i have been told not to do as there could be jet dry in the dishwasher. Is rinsing the bottles good enough or do they need to be cleaned with a bottle brush before sanitizing? Any light that could be shed on this is much appreciated.
  2. GatorBeer

    GatorBeer Savant (350) Florida Feb 2, 2010

    How did you clean the bottles after you used them? Normally just rinsing with hot water right after you pour the beer is all I do and it's fine. Then come bottling day just a little sanitizer and you're good to go.
    oldp0rt likes this.
  3. Glad to see a fellow Gator be the first to come to my aid. Not sure I rinsed all of them out after consumption. Some may have sat overnight before being rinsed. Unfortunately, I was more focused on soaking them and getting the labels off than i was in cleaning the inside of the bottles.
    Go Gators!!!
  4. GatorBeer

    GatorBeer Savant (350) Florida Feb 2, 2010

    I think hot water and a brush will be fine for you. Make sure you can't visibly see anything in the bottle and you should be fine. Do you have PBW or oxyclean? Those will also be fine to clean with without getting the potentially negative effects of dish soap.

    Go Gators!!
  5. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Savant (320) Michigan Dec 14, 2006

    Look inside them while holding them up to a bright light. Do you see any gunk?
    Also, what did you soak them in to get the labels off? if it was bleach water or oxyclean then you're good to go. just sanitize and fill.
  6. Just filled the bottles with water to weigh them down and filled a small tub with dishsoap & water to soften the glue and labels. Rookie mistake I know.
  7. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Savant (320) Michigan Dec 14, 2006

    1 hour soak in a tub of hot water with 2 oz. of bleach will wipe out anything living in there if you're parinoid. just follow with a rinse. then sanitize and fill.
  8. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (790) Texas May 21, 2010

    I do the same thing, rinse, dry, store. If it's a bottle conditioned beer, make sure to rinse immediately and shake it up good when rinsing to make sure there's no yeast stuck on the bottom. On bottling day I pour some starsan in them, shake, cover with a cap, and pour it out right before I add the beer. I keep a bowl full of starsan with caps in it ready to go too.
  9. JrGtr

    JrGtr Savant (365) Massachusetts Apr 13, 2006

    That's what I do. Rinse them out again day of bottling, then take a look inside. Minor schmutz gets a scrub with the bottle brush, heavy stuff gets put aside for heavy treatment and used for the next batch. A few minutes soak in Sanitizer takes care of anything else in there. I keep them upside down in a box lined with clean paper towel until actually filling.
  10. VikeMan

    VikeMan Advocate (740) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    It's sounds like you're telling him to sanitize twice instead of cleaning and sanitizing. He does need to get the gunk out before sanitizing.
  11. And getting the gunk out (if its there) is done with hot water and a bottling brush?
  12. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (790) Texas May 21, 2010

    If you immediately rinse well several times with hot water and a little shaking, you shouldn't really need to scrub with a bottle brush. Anything so stuck on there that a bottle brush is a requirement to remove it relegates that bottle to the recycle bin if you ask me.
  13. I did not rinse right away so just wondering. Sounds like I am good to go with a quick hot rinse and star san soak if I dont see anything in the bottle.
  14. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Savant (320) Michigan Dec 14, 2006

    If there is gunk in there then the 1 hour soak will disolve it and then the rinse will wash it away. I suppose this would also sanitize the bottles but we can't assume that his rinse water is totally sanitary.
  15. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (790) Texas May 21, 2010

    Yes, my rinse water won't be totally sanitary, but it will get them clean and ready for bottling. I forgot to mention that you dry them afterwords upside-down. Store dry and covered. Then you sanitize before bottling (obviously). I add about 1/3 a bottle of sanitizer solution* (starsan) and shake, then cover with a sanitized cap until filling. Then I drop the cap into the sanitizer solution and pull out a fresh one after filling, then cap it. I haven't had an infection yet. There may be more efficient and/or better ways to do it, but this has worked for me.


    *mixed to directions, of course, not the whole bottle! starsan is cheep. I make up a couple gallons fresh for bottling and don't sweat using it all then dumping it. I've bought one container of starsan in the last two years, and I still have half of it left, and I make no effort to save it. Starsan is cheep and goes a long way, be generous with it.
  16. VikeMan

    VikeMan Advocate (740) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    If this were true, wouldn't we be cleaning our carboys by soaking in a bleach solution? I'm not so sure this will do the trick for a bottle that was not washed immediately after consumption.
  17. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Savant (320) Michigan Dec 14, 2006

    Dude, that IS how I clean my carboys.
    mporter13 likes this.
  18. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Advocate (595) Colorado Jan 20, 2012

    I just got a few cases of really old bombers from a neighbor (new belgium cherry ale?) And some of them had A LOT of sediment in the bottom. The best cleaner I found was actually a 10% solution of distilled white vinegar. The vinegar actually had a reaction with the yeast andmost of the sediment just bubbled away. I followed up with oxi and a bottle brush to knock loose anything else. But usually when its just my empties I am diligent about rinsing well and storing upside down to keep crap out.
  19. Mattreinitz

    Mattreinitz Zealot (80) New York Mar 1, 2012

  20. Keyman

    Keyman Disciple (55) Dec 4, 2012

    For used bottles I get from friends I got a pliable brush I use on a cordless drill. Mix couple gallons hot water with once of bleach. Fill the bottles with bleach water and ream out with brush on drill. Rinse several times then turn up on drying rack. I use 1 ½ “ square cuts of aluminum foil to crimp on top of bottle for storage. For my bottles I just rinse after use then store same way. Then when I brew I rinse and sanitize with star san solution.
  21. Thanks to all for their comments. I bottled last night and the only issue was there was foam inside the bottles from the star san that ran over as i filled them. I take it the star san in the bottles is ok and will die off during the carbonation process?
  22. VikeMan

    VikeMan Advocate (740) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    A little starsan foam in your bottled beer won't hurt much. When I bottle (not often), I always sanitize with starsan in a way that minimizes foam, and make sure the bottles are well drained. I do this because starsan solution is not completely flavorless, and because starsan can affect head retention. Though you can argue about whether the effects would be noticeable, I do it anyway because it makes me feel better. Others don't worry about it at all, and make fine beer.
  23. Yes. Don't fear the Foam!
    AlCaponeJunior likes this.
  24. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (790) Texas May 21, 2010

    Agree with kjyost, don't fear the foam!

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