From the HBD Archive
From: Steve Anthony <steveo@Think.COM>
Subject: Cleanliness [long message]
Date: 1989-07-05 14:45:51 GMT

While there is more than one way to skin a cat (appologies to cat lovers
out there, I'm one, too), I think that one must keep this in perspective.
I've been brewing for about 5-6 years now and have yet to have a bad (due
to spoilage) batch of brew. Reading the digest lately, I've come to the
realization that my sanitation proceedures are relatively lax. In the
interests of providing a viewpoint for the lazy amongst us, here's my

While my wort is boiling, I sanitize my primary fermeter (7 gal. plastic
brew pail) and the lid & lock. The sanitizing is done with about 5 gals of
warm water and enough clorox so that my hand feels a little slippery when I
wet it with the solution. When the wort is ready (or just before,
actually) I dump the sanitizer and rinse the bucket well with fresh water
until I can't smell the clorox any more. I add the balance of the water to
make the total 5 gals (I'm currently a partial grain brewer). This is cold
water, directly from the tap. In goes the boiled wort (at 212 deg Far.).
On goes the lid and lock. When the wort has cooled to cellar temperature
(usually overnight), I remove the lid and being carefull not to breathe on
the surface of the wort, or indeed even lean over it as a stray hair might
decide that it wants to go free fall, I pitch the yeast and re-lid &

When the primary is done, I prepare to rack the beer to the secondary
(glass carboy). This gets sanitized as the primary (filled with warm water
with appropriate amount of clorox. I prepare the siphoning tubes/hoses by
imersing them in the solution and using good ole' suction (applied by
mouth) fill the tube and let it sit for an hour. Then I drain everything
and rinse untill no clorox smell is noticeable. The siphoning tube I fill
with cold water (from the tap) and siphon to the secondary.

When the siphoning is done, I immediately wash with soap and water the
primary bucket and the tube. I rinse it well and let it air dry.

When I'm taking gravity readings, I boil a small amount of water and use
this to sterrilize the tip of a plastic turkey baster (used only for this
purpose; it serves no other purpose in my kitchen). I take the necessary
amount of beer from the carboy and measure the gravity. This raw beer, I
taste; as it is now that I get a hint of what the final product will be
like. Any of this undrunk beer is tossed down the drain.

When it's time to bottle, I take my bottles and using the ole' water and
clorox, soak them for a hour and then rinse with clean water untill no
clorox smell is apparant. I boil the caps. I also use the primary bucket
to mix the raw beer with the priming sugar/water mixture, so this bucket
and the siphoning tube get sanitized and rinsed, also. I make the priming
sugar/water mixture by boiling the water, and disolving the sugar. I start
siphoning out of the carboy into the bucket, adding the priming sugar as I
go, so as not to heat the beer to much. I'm careful not to breathe on the
beer or let things fall in it (like hair). I attempt to not lose the
siphon by running air into it at the end of the racking (this is so it can
be used right away for the bottling). However, I'm not always so lucky and
to restart I use mouth suction without any rinsing at all to get things
going again. I bottle and cap as one might expect. After bottling, I
immediately wash the bucket, carboy and siphoning equipment and let it air

After I've poured a bottle, before I even taste the beer, I rinse the
bottle with water a couple of times and visually make sure that no sediment
is left on the bottom. Then I sit the bottle in my dish drainer mouth down
and let it dry. From there, it's ready to be used again.

So while it seems that I'm loosing a lot of hair, this has worked out to be
an effective yet unobtrusive sanitization procedure for me. I realize that
this is all very unscientific and that many might argue that my procedures
aren't rigorous enough. However, I feel I'm getting good results (as I
said, no spoilage to date, after 5-6 years of brewing). As always,
comments are welcome.

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