How to clean and sanitize brewery and distlliery equipment
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How to clean and sanitize brewery and distlliery equipment

Views:1     Author:Site Editor     Publish Time: 2019-09-12      Origin:Site

Cleaning and sanitizing all you brewing equipment is the one thing you can do to guarantee your beer doesn't spoil. If you fail to adequately clean and sanitize your equipment, you have a good chance of ruining your beer—which has been known to make grown men and women cry. Thankfully, cleaning and sanitizing is pretty damn easy. It just takes some attention to detail and a little common-sense. If you can wash and scrub dishes, you’ll have no problems keeping your equipment clean. It simply involves soaking, rinsing, or spraying your equipment before it touches the beer.  So, let’s get to it.

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Always start with a good cleaning

First, before you do any sanitizing, you need to clean your equipment. You can’t have one without the other. It just takes one piece of dirt stuck at at the bottom of the carboy that you didn’t spot and no sanitizer in the world can guarantee that the speck of dirt won’t unleash unwanted bacteria into your precious beer. It simply cannot remove built-up grime that harbour bacteria in the same way a cleaner can.

Get a good cleaning agent

Oxiclean is widely available anywhere, but PWB is even stronger. Both will do just fine.

How to clean homebrew equipmentOxiClean is worth it. This cleaning agent is very effective, and can even be used to remove beer labels if you’re collecting bottles from breweries. It’s pretty damn cheap and highly effective. If you can, try to buy the Versatile free version.

How to clean homebrew equipmentPBW is the best, but it’s expensive Another oxygen-based cleaner, it’s the best one on the market, but it’s also priced accordingly. Oxiclean is (almost) as good, so if you’re price sensitive, use Oxiclean. It’s obviously not as accessible as Oxiclean, but if you’re already buying all your ingredients and equipment at a homebrew shop, they’ll carry it.

 

How to clean homebrew equipmentCan I use dish soap? Technically, yes, you can. It happens to be cheap and already in your kitchen. But if you use it, you must rinse it thoroughly. Otherwise it will taint your beer with a soapy taste and kill head retention in the final product. If you want to use dish soap, do yourself a favour and get a perfume-free variety. My best advice, however, is to get oxiclean or PBW.

 

How to clean homebrew equipmentWhat about bleach? Believe it or not, you can use bleach. It’s what homebrewers used for ages. But honestly, I wouldn’t bother with it. You have to rinse it like a paranoid son of a gun. Even the smallest amount could ruin your entire batch of beer. Plus, it could ruin your clothes, stain your bartowels and bring back horrible childhood memories of swimming clases. Just don’t bother. It’s not worth it, I tell ya!

 

Then clean everything that will touch your beer

Soak for 20 minutes

Soak your equipment for 20 minutes (or longer if needed) in your preferred cleaning solution, then scrub lightly to get rid of any residue and dirt. Obviously you can’t scrub hoses, airlocks, racking canes etc, but the 20-minute soak alone should do the trick. If you spot any residue that refuses to dislodge after a good soak, you should just replace the gear. I personally replace my hoses after 10 batches, just to be safe. If you want to give that piece of gear one final chance to redeem itself, try a 24-hour soak. But after that, take it out of its misery if it hasn’t improved.

A quick note here: Do not use an abrasive sponge or brush when cleaning any plastic. Use a soft-cloth towel or a soft sponge instead. Scratches in plastic equipment are ground zero for bacteria. I’d even be careful with your stainless steel pot—if the brush is too abrasive, it could scratch the surface. Stick to softer sponges if you can.

To clean a still (either copper or stainless steel) you should put a 3% caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) solution in the still and recirculate it for 20 or 30 minutes using the CIP. Make sure to rinse every part of the still using the CIP valves. After that, drain the caustic solution out and rinse everything out with water to get rid of the residual caustic. Then put a 2% solution of citric acid (lemon acid) in the still and recirculate it for 20 or 30 minutes using the CIP. After that, drain and then rinse with water the same way as with the caustic.

 

To make a 3% caustic solution, just put 3Kg of caustic soda in 100L of water. For a 2% citric acid solution just put 2Kg of citric acid in 100L of water.

 

 

For a 1,000L still you only need to make up about 50 to 100L of solution. You don’t need to fill the still to capacity with solution. Just as long as there’s enough for the CIP pump to pump it around the whole still and still have some in the kettle.

Always sanitize after cleaning

Once your gear is clean, it’s time to sanitize any and all items that will come in contact with the wort after the boil.

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