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Help with Cleaning Approach

Hello,

I have been brewing for over ten years and have always used dishwashing soap to clean my equipment. At the end of the brew day I take my boil kettle & mash tun down to the kurb, foam up some dishwashing liquid and scrub away.

I have read recently that this might not be the best way and using an OXY cleaner or PBW is better.

Any input on this issue?

It seems strange to fill up my 15 gallon boil kettle and 12 gallon mash tun and let sit for 30+ minutes. A lot of water and time when I am ready to finish up.

Is there a quicker way to use these “soak” type cleaners? Or should I just look for a non-scented dishwashing liquid!

Thanks

I don’t think these two pieces of equipment need any kind of soap. My mash tun just gets sprayed out with an RV hose and wiped clean with a rag. I do the same with my boil pot, except if there is a film on the bottom of the pot I will put about half inch of water in with PBW to clean it off. The only thing I soak is fermenters and kegs.

Thanks for your reply. I always scrub off hot break that dries from the boil kettle, so I would not feel comfortable just rinsing it.

I prefer to clean anything that touches the wort including hoses, stir stick etc…

I’ve used both so far and the PBW does work great but so does my dawn with bleach alt.

I just use hot water, a plastic scrubbie and elbow grease to clean my boiler and MT.

[quote=“Bassman”]Thanks for your reply. I always scrub off hot break that dries from the boil kettle, so I would not feel comfortable just rinsing it.

I prefer to clean anything that touches the wort including hoses, stir stick etc…[/quote]

There’s certainly no harm in doing that, but I predict that a hundred batches or so down the road you’ll change your approach…

I do nothing more than rinse all pre boil equipment (usually) and have no problems from it. If you happen to be using an AL kettle, you definitely don’t want to scrub it. You’ll remove the oxidation layer and get metallic flavors. I usually use Barkeeper’s Friend to clean my SS kettle, although I don’t do it after every brew. Sometimes it just gets rinsed and scrubbed with a dish brush.

Thanks Denny. I was just thinking of Bar Keeper’s Friend. Sounds like a better approach than dishwasing soap.

Just curious, after 100 batches, what would I change to?

[quote=“Bassman”]Thanks Denny. I was just thinking of Bar Keeper’s Friend. Sounds like a better approach than dishwasing soap.

Just curious, after 100 batches, what would I change to?[/quote]

I think you’ll realize that you’re overdoing your cleaning routine and expending effort that isn’t necessary. I did. 15 years ago when I started brewing, there was a guy named Mike Uchima on the rec.crafts.brewing newsgroup who had been brewing and winning medals for a while. I greatly respected his advice and learned a lot from him that improved my beer. The thing I most remember from him was when he said something to the effect of “I used to be very anal about brewing. Cleaned and sanitized my entire kitchen before I brewed a batch. Now, I just brush the crumbs off the counter”. I took that to heart as a lesson about what is and isn’t important in brewing. It was the beginning of my Pragmatic Theory of Brewing…make the best beer possible while having the most fun possible while doing the least work possible. The corollary to that is to do whatever it takes to make the best beer you can make, but be sure that every effort you take yields results that justify the action.

[quote=“Denny”][quote=“Bassman”]Thanks Denny. I was just thinking of Bar Keeper’s Friend. Sounds like a better approach than dishwasing soap.

Just curious, after 100 batches, what would I change to?[/quote]

I think you’ll realize that you’re overdoing your cleaning routine and expending effort that isn’t necessary. I did. 15 years ago when I started brewing, there was a guy named Mike Uchima on the rec.crafts.brewing newsgroup who had been brewing and winning medals for a while. I greatly respected his advice and learned a lot from him that improved my beer. The thing I most remember from him was when he said something to the effect of “I used to be very anal about brewing. Cleaned and sanitized my entire kitchen before I brewed a batch. Now, I just brush the crumbs off the counter”. I took that to heart as a lesson about what is and isn’t important in brewing. It was the beginning of my Pragmatic Theory of Brewing…make the best beer possible while having the most fun possible while doing the least work possible. The corollary to that is to do whatever it takes to make the best beer you can make, but be sure that every effort you take yields results that justify the action.[/quote]

for sure. I’ve thought many times about how man has been brewing beer for thousands of years without Starsan and all that and managed to brew some awesome stuff.

I’m not convinced that all historical beers were awesome stuff. I’d gues they were sour and infected more often than not, like a lot of food used to be. But it had alcohol and that made up feor a multitude of sins.

As others have stated - for my kettles, I just rinse them with hot water, scrub with a wash rag to get anything off that is stuck, etc. Maybe 2-3 times per year, I might give my boil kettle a soak in PBW to get that shining again as it accumulates more buildup over time.

Buckets - same basic thing - scrub them out with a sponge and hot water after use.

The key to “cleaning” is to get any “stuff” off of your equipment. Sanitizing is another issue, and you want to be thorough at sanitizing all of the post boil stuff - especially your fermenter and any tubing that is going to touch your beer.

As far as 1000’s of years without star san - that is true, but I am not sure how great their beer was. I bet there are 1000’s of homebrewers making better beer right now than anyone was making 500 years ago - and almost all of it can be attributed to pure yeast strains and sanitary conditions.

Thanks for the tips.

+1 to barkeeper’s friend for stainless. A cup of water and a shake of BKF (looks like Comet) along with a dishcloth and/or a green scrubbie and a tiny bit of elbow grease is all you need.

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