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Best way to clean 5 gallon bucket fermentor

Hi all,

Yesterday we bottled our first amber ale brew using the homebrew kit with the 5 gallon buckets. We washed everything we used so far in just hot water. Most smells were ridden with just that. The bucket fermentor we used for 2 week ferment still has some alcohol/beer odor left in it the following day. Is this normal? Or is this something to try and wash out so that future uses don’t transmit odor or flavor? We have yet to buy any upgraded cleaner that wouldn’t be included in the starter kit recipes but this may be where it is necessary. Right now, the cleaned bucket is upright to vent out before storing it until the next brew day. Also, I should mention there does not seem to be any residue or discoloration on the inside of the bucket from the beer. We cleaned it out pretty well yesterday with just hot water. We don’t really want to add dish soap or anything like that if there are better options out there.

One suggestion was just using baking soda and hot water for an overnight soak. Thoughts??

Thank you for any advice and tips in advance. I really can’t wait to finally try out the finished product in a couple weeks.
Happy brewing!!

It will smell like that from here on out. You’ll never get rid of the smell, but that’s fine. I’m surprised you got the krauzen ring off with hot water… I usually need a soap to get that clean.

I never use soap on any of my brew equipment jus a little oxyclean and soft sponge. As long as you dont let it get hard it wipes right off. Why would you wNt to get rid of that awesome smell?


Thanks for the advice guys. For me, it was never about getting the smell out. I just wanted to make sure that it was normal and it wouldn’t affect anything in the future. I actually like the smell, makes me feel like I accomplished something great :smile:

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Now you sound like a brewer. If someone posted they didn’t like the smellI would recommend the get a new hobby.

Maybe I am an overkill type of guy, but here is what I do. I have a few brew buckets and I rotate through. I keep one bucket always filled with Star San. When I empty a bucket of fermented beer, boil up 4 gallons of water and pour it into the bucket. I then add a scoop of Oxyclean and and then top it up with hot tap water and let it sit for a few hours. Then I rinse well with the hose. I set that bucket aside and when I do my next brew, I empty the Star San from the one bucket to the newly cleaned bucket. Now that bucket sits for a week or two or three, until I do my next brew. It seems like this method would be bulletproof as far as keeping things sanitary. Reading my description, it sounds like a lot of work, but really it is not at all.

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The dankier the better…

Just don’t scratch it cleaning. Soft sponge, rag, paper towel will work. Sure it will smell, it’s OK. Sure it will turn brown, it’s also OK. When it starts looking really beat up, use it to wash the car. :smile:

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