Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fermentation Friday - Cleaning and Sanitization

Hi All,

Welcome to this months Fermentation Friday hosted by the wonderful, talented, and awesome me!! Just kidding!! I chose the topic cleaning and sanitization because I had some problems with head retention on some of my brews and a few people asked what was my process so I explained it to them and they had some suggestions for me. I will quickly describe what I started using and what I have used the last few batches.

When I started brewing back in the day (Jan 08) I used dish soap to clean and bleach to sanitize. I think it worked rather well but as I did more research I decided to try some other things. My next process again started with dish soap but this time I used iodaphor. This also worked well for me but I liked it better because there was no bleach smell to get rid of. I used that for most of last year until I looked into my head retention issue on some of my beers. After some of the response I received I decided to try the method I am currently using.

The current process I use is I clean all my equipment with oxyclean then I sanitize with Iodaphor if I am not going to be filling a keg in the near future or StarSan if I am going to be kegging. The reason I do this is if I am going to be putting a beer in a keg I can clean it and store the starsan in the keg and it will be ready to go on kegging day. Now that you know what I use here is my detailed procedure by day.

Brewing Day -
Clean with oxyclean
- brew pot
- fermentation bucket and lid
- 3 piece airlock
- long handled spoon
- strainer (some batches)
- wort chiller (just got one)
- hydrometer
- wine thief
Sanitize with heat - Boiling wort
- pot and lid
- wort chiller
- long handled spoon
Sanitize with Iodaphor or StarSan
- fermentation bucket or lid
- airlock
- strainer
- long handled spoon (after chilling)
- spoon
- hydrometer
- wine thief

Racking Day/Bottling Day -
Clean with Oxyclean
- Bottling bucket or carboy
- tubing
- auto syphon
- rubber stopper
- airlocks
- bottles/keg
Sanitize with Iodaphor(if bottling) or StarSan(if kegging)
- Bottling bucket or carboy
- tubing
- auto syphon
- rubber stopper
- airlocks
- bottles/keg
Sanitize with dishwasher drying cycle
- Bottles

As you can see its pretty easy to clean and sanitize. One other tip I have is you don't need to make 5 gallons or more of sanitizing solution. Both Iodaphor and StarSan are both wet sanitizers as long as the equipment is wet with the solution (or has foam from StarSan) you are good to go. I usually make 2 gallons and let it sit for 10 minutes or so and am able to sanitize all my equipment. So far (knock on wood) I haven't had any issues with contamination so I think my current process works pretty well. I am really looking forward to seeing every ones processes. Even though my process works I am always looking for a better and cheaper way to make great beer. Everyone knows that great beer starts with good cleaning and sanitization processes.

See you all next month and check back for another post on the wrap up.

GISBREWMASTER
Matt C.

5 comments:

Dave said...

Here's my contribution

http://muckneybrewing.blogspot.com/2009/02/fermentation-friday-keeping-nasties-at.html

Adam said...

Here's my contribution. Thank you for hosting Matt!

Adam said...

Hi Matt, here's my abridged version :-)

Damon said...

Hi Matt,

My homebrewing cleaning and sanitation practices post is up.

Thanks for hosting.

Ted Danyluk said...

I found it difficult to spell out cleaning procedures. But here's my post... http://www.tedbrews.com/2009/02/fermentation-friday-209-cleanliness.html