Sterilisation questions

The place to discuss all things about brewing hygiene!
Post Reply
alfie09
Steady Drinker
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:41 am

Sterilisation questions

Post by alfie09 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:44 pm

Hello it’s been 10 years since I last made a beer I use to give my fermenter/kegs a very good rinse after use and scrub with a keg brush. Then sterilise with baby sterilising tablets. Seemed easy to do that way.

But I’ve read that baby sterilising tablets are dangerous and I once mixed with beer it can be fatal.

Don’t fancy a death on my hands. So what is everyone using now. I did use pwb but it got quite expensive as I could get 58 steralising baby tablets for £0.78 😂

User avatar
Kev888
So far gone I'm on the way back again!
Posts: 7589
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:22 pm
Location: Derbyshire, UK

Re: Sterilisation questions

Post by Kev888 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:08 pm

PBW is more of a physical cleaner, it does help with sanitising (partly by removing bugs) but should really be followed up by a true disinfectant (sanitiser) or steriliser before using the equipment. PBW is a better, more complete version of the cheaper oxy/laundry cleaners which are popular and available from pound shops and similar. Their advantage over mechanical cleaning is that they will dissolve crud without much rubbing, which might scratch some types fermenters (though not all) and can get to places where it is hard to reach. But if that doesn't apply, manual cleaning is fine instead; no need for chemicals where just hot water and a soft cloth will do the job.

Baby sterilising tablets are fine health-wise if you rinse well afterwards, though at least some of them are a more expensive way of buying bleach so there are cheaper ways if you wished; thin unscented supermarket bleach is quite popular for instance. You should (almost) always rinse bleach, not just for health reasons but also because it can react with the mash to give TCP-like flavours. One exception is 'very' weak bleach, which can be acidified to help the weaker potion still work, but that is a little more involved (and potentially dangerous if not mixed correctly).

Other sanitises include iodophores (such as five star's iostar), which are pretty reliable and effective, thought tend to stain some plastics and rubbers. It can be mixed strong and effective and then rinsed, or instead mixed weak as no-rinse. The latter is a bit wussy by comparison, but useful in helping disinfect the rinse water, or just a top up to already disinfected equipment.

Five star also make starsan, which is a 'no rinse' acid sanitiser. Unfortunately it may need mixing with RO/DI/bottled water in order to ensure that it is properly acid, as many people's tap water isn't suitable. It isn't the most comprehensive disinfectant around, though it is often enough if everything is already spotless. However it is quick and easy and lasts for a long time even when mixed/diluted so has its uses; I keep some in a squirty bottle for instance.

About the only vaguely normal no-rinse sterilisier I would happily trust to alone (i.e. without previous disinfecting and rinsing) is peracetic acid. Unfortunately this is quite dangerous in its undiluted state, and doesn't keep for long - in fact the diluted solution barely keeps at all. So whilst it is used in commercial breweries it isn't popular amongst most homebrewers.

Another possibility is heat. Boiling water, steam or the oven, will kill most bugs sufficiently for homebrew purposes if done hot enough fr long enough.
Kev

User avatar
LeeH
Under the Table
Posts: 1661
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:42 pm
Location: North Lincs
Contact:

Re: Sterilisation questions

Post by LeeH » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:39 pm

I think you skimped on the detail a little Kev...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
To monitor my latest fermentation 27/10 click here
To view my new AG build click here
Keg 1: Berliner Weisse
Keg 2: APA
Keg 3: Stout (Nitro)
Keg 4: Empty

User avatar
Kev888
So far gone I'm on the way back again!
Posts: 7589
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:22 pm
Location: Derbyshire, UK

Re: Sterilisation questions

Post by Kev888 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:08 pm

Heh, my mouth (or at least fingers) running away again.

Though in my defence: that is really just a very shallow and incomplete overview; it is the subject itself which is pretty important and very wide ranging. Whole chapters could (and probably should) be filled by it. But not by me, you'll be pleased to hear! :D
Kev

User avatar
IPA
Under the Table
Posts: 1213
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:29 am
Location: France Gascony

Re: Sterilisation questions

Post by IPA » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:07 am

I have tried most sanitisers/cleaners but now gone back to VWP. One teaspoon per litre of hot water mix well and wash the fv with a soft cloth and leave to stand for at least an hour. Then rinse well before use. If not thoroughly rinsed your beer will taste like Dettol. After use same proceedure but just emptied not rinsed and then stored for the next time. I use four litres of solution for a sixty litre fv. Like Kev I have a half litre prayer of Starsan solution on hand for use where necessary. For example on taps,that have been cleaned with VWP , just before use and on my hands before picking up hoses etc.
"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." Dean Martin

1. Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming... "f*ck, what a trip!"

User avatar
LeeH
Under the Table
Posts: 1661
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:42 pm
Location: North Lincs
Contact:

Re: Sterilisation questions

Post by LeeH » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:16 am

PBW and star san combo for me. I just wish PBW was cheaper in small amounts as you have to buy a bucket full to get a decent discount.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
To monitor my latest fermentation 27/10 click here
To view my new AG build click here
Keg 1: Berliner Weisse
Keg 2: APA
Keg 3: Stout (Nitro)
Keg 4: Empty

WalesAles
Falling off the Barstool
Posts: 3395
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:07 pm
Location: South Wales UK. Soon to be out of the EU

Re: Sterilisation questions

Post by WalesAles » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:29 pm

IPA wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:07 am
Like Kev I have a prayer on hand
IPA,
Praying to the Brew Gods are you? :D :D

https://brookstonbeerbulletin.com/know- ... goddesses/

WA

Sent from my Sofa.

Post Reply