I just got a starter kit for my birthday and wanted to prepare myself before my first bottling day. Ive looked up a bunch of techniques for cleaning/sanitizing bottles and was wonder if this strategy Im thinking about using will work properly. 1) Rinse bottles directly after drinking, dry, and store. 2) After gathering enough bottles soak in oxyclean overnight, rinse the day after, and store. 3) on bottling day rinse and heat in oven to sanitize them and then fill and cap. Let me know if you think this will/won’t work properly or have any suggestions. Thanks
Triple rinse your bottles immediately after pouring. Store upside down to drain and dry. This is the cleaning. On bottling day add a bit of Starsan solution, shake, and drain Starsan into bucket for reuse. This is the sanitizing. Fill bottles while still wet.
Heating beer bottles can stress the glass. Any gunk in heated bottles will be baked on. Oxyclean soak is only needed if the bottles weren’t rinsed after pouring and dried gunk is present. Gunked bottles will also need heavy use of a bottle brush.
So I don’t need to clean them with any sort of cleaner or use the bottle brush?
Nope. Harsh cleaners are only for removing gunk.
Oxyclean is also great for de labeling bottles, and I do use it for the initial cleaning, with a star San soak later on bottling day.
Only use bottles that the labels fall off in a warm water soak. Most of your craft breweries the labels come right off. Most commercial breweries are are a pain so they go right in recycling . Like has been said rinse them good right after drinking and store them in 12 pack boxes. Try to get some friends to give you clean bottles in return for full ones. If you get a new batch of bottles, fill one side of your sink with warm water and a little oxyclean and do a soak, then transfer to the other sink that has rinse water then to a bucket with more rinse water and then into the dishwasher to dry. Hold them up to the light and if there is still gunk in them, toss them. If you are scrubbing and peeling your doing something wrong.
I made my brother in law 2 cases or so of the Apricot Ale last year for Father’s day. My only ask was that, as much as possible, please keep the bottles and return them to me.
I was not quite as clear (my fault, I admit) about asking him to rinse them out really well as well. Anyway, he would open, pour, and then place right into the box in his 85 + degree garage where it would sit like a petri dish experiment.
I got the bottles back around Sept, and you should of seen the mini habitats growing away. I soaked and soaked, then bottle brushed, then dish washer. some I just couldn’t get clean.
I also triple rinse and then dry upside down in my dish rack after pouring. I save the PBW I use to clean my carboy (after thoroughly scrubbing it first) and use it to wash the bottles again with a bottle brush (I usually do this on the day I transfer my beer from primary to secondary,) then I rinse them in a hot water bath, dry them in my Fast Racks and then store them in closed cases until bottling day. On bottling day I soak each bottle in StarSan for 2 minutes and then put them in the Fast Rack while I’m transfer the beer to the bottling bucket.
I know this is the old fashioned way, 1 cup of household ammonia in 5 gal of warm water will loosen labels and eats up nasty bottle dregs. It’s very cheap.
Oh yea. Were some rubber gloves. I use them when bottling also. I put the bottles in a bucket of sanitizer so the gloves are nice, they keep if sanitary and they are less slippery than skin. When your done your hands are dry and silky smooth just like it says in the old commercial .
And watch out for sneaky hard to discern twist-off bottles from friends. I had twelve Stella Artois bottles I methodically cleaned for bottling day, only to find out the hard way they were well disguised twist offs. Very jarring experience if you have had this happen. CRUNCH!
All /mostGerman bottles seem to be great for easy de labeling. Cigar City has the WORST labels to try to remove.
I like my stainless jet bottle washer for rinsing bottles directly after emptying or in preparation for bottling. For the latter, they get jetted before cleaning and it’s how I rinse them after cleaning. Gets the gunk out.