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Using UV-C for sterilizing

Has anyone used UV-C to sterilize equipment or wort?

Why? You don’t need to sterilize equipment, just sanitize so sanitizers are simple cheap and easy. Wort has to be boiled anyway so that is its sterilizing treatment.

Sanitizer costs cash, I have a limited supply of both. I happen to have a number of UV-C lamps on hand. I was wondering if anyone had used this method and for feedback in terms of distance from the lamp and time of exposure.

using electricity isnt free either. a big thing of star-san should last you a LONG time.

i’ve never used UV-C, but it seems a bit excessive and time consuming.

wort should be steril already, from being boiled

[quote=“S.Scoggin”]using electricity isnt free either. a big thing of star-san should last you a LONG time.

i’ve never used UV-C, but it seems a bit excessive and time consuming.

wort should be steril already, from being boiled[/quote]

To begin with, we only need to sanitize. Not sterilize.

Like S said, $16 for StarSan,

than can be reused while the ph is below 3, will last 2-3 years.

The dilution rate is 1oz in 5 gallons. Even if you made a full 5 gallons each brew day, that is $.50 additional. Unless you make 2.5 gallons, then $.25. Or like me, make 1 gallon, $.10

If you made a new 5 gallon batch with each brew day, that would be 36 brews or 180 gallons (@5 gallon batches) of beer. Just under your 200 gallon limit. And you would be brewing every 1.5 weeks.

You could also use the bleach/water/vinegar mix that Charlie Tally mentions in his March 229, 2007 interview.

http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?p ... radio-2007

As I said before, I have a limited supply of cash and several extra UV-C bulbs to burn. Has anyone had experience with this? I wasn’t asking for a cost-effectiveness argument about StarSan. No offense, and I do appreciate your candor.

Starsan kills microbes AND flushes the dead bodies away. UV would still leave the dead microbes laying around. Since people talk about oven sterilization, that’s probably not a big deal.

The one fact I’m thinking of is how light skunks beer, and brown beer bottles prevent beer from gettin skunked. I am thinking that that that same effect would make UV-C less effective at sterilizing the insides of your bottles. – unless you put the bulb INSIDE the bottle. Plain, clear glass blocks UV pretty well, brown glass…?

And I had to look this up, because I was getting confused.
Sanitize: killing microbes with chemicals.
Sterilize: killing microbes with heat.

What we need to do, is kill microbes; so either approach gets the job done. Right? I’m just not convinced a UV rig will get the job done.

A quick search on Amazon show UV-C bulbs going for $10-20, depending on what you have. Put them up on Ebay and make some cash.

Or consult with the research lab at your local State college. Maybe your local County Extension Office. I’m sure there are some lab rats on this/other boards. I’ve never seen one post that they’ve come up with a alternate way of sanitizing equipment.

As for the difference between sanitize and sterilize, sanitize is killing nearly all of the germs/bacteria/yeast. Sterilize is killing ALL the germs/bacteria/yeast. We only need to sanitize because we are introducing a large quantity of good yeast to the wort. They will take over the tiny amount sanitizing leaves behind.

You don’t want to put uv into your wort. As mentioned, it will skunk the beer. I have done this on finished beer as an experiment. I exposed half a glass of IPA to 365nm uv and there was a noticeable difference within minutes.

I don’t see why you couldn’t use it for equipment. Be aware that plastics-tubing, buckets, racking canes, etc- will break down with exposure to UV and you will have to replace them (cost).

It seems like a big hassle to me.

UV can be used to sterilize/ sanitize water if the correct flow rate is followed and is used commonly for disinfection for water sources in some cases. The cons have been mentioned for wort. That being said even if you did sanitize the wort fully the equipment it will be in contact needs to be sanitized and this is why you want to boil a wort for sanitation needs and then use any acid/ caustic to sanitize the surface/s of a fermentor etc… to receive the already “sanitized” wort coming from the kettle.

[quote=“roffenburger”]You don’t want to put uv into your wort. As mentioned, it will skunk the beer. I have done this on finished beer as an experiment. I exposed half a glass of IPA to 365nm uv and there was a noticeable difference within minutes.

I don’t see why you couldn’t use it for equipment. Be aware that plastics-tubing, buckets, racking canes, etc- will break down with exposure to UV and you will have to replace them (cost).

It seems like a big hassle to me.[/quote]
Thank you for your scientific endeavor and report. Apparently wort would suffer from exposure. (Though I do wonder if UV-C might be different from the wavelengths you used.) I do not wish to skunk my beer.

I have heard different reports about the effect of UV on plastic. Do you have a reference material that you could share?

Any idea what the flow rate is? I’ve heard of ponds being purified by UV-C. The distance from the bulb and the length of exposure is what I’m after. Have you had experience with this method of sterilization? Thank you for your well reasoned response.

[quote=“JMcK”]Starsan kills microbes AND flushes the dead bodies away. UV would still leave the dead microbes laying around. Since people talk about oven sterilization, that’s probably not a big deal.

The one fact I’m thinking of is how light skunks beer, and brown beer bottles prevent beer from gettin skunked. I am thinking that that that same effect would make UV-C less effective at sterilizing the insides of your bottles. – unless you put the bulb INSIDE the bottle. Plain, clear glass blocks UV pretty well, brown glass…?

And I had to look this up, because I was getting confused.
Sanitize: killing microbes with chemicals.
Sterilize: killing microbes with heat.

What we need to do, is kill microbes; so either approach gets the job done. Right? I’m just not convinced a UV rig will get the job done.[/quote]

My bottles will be cleaned in a sani-cycle of the dishwasher. The equipment I was concerned about was the oxygenator, erlenmeyer flask (for stir-plate), tubing, fermentor, bottling bucket, turkey baster, hydrometer, and etc.

FYI, UV-C is one of the wavelengths filtered out by our atmosphere which allows life to flourish on Earth. If UV-C were shining on Earth, there would be no life. Bio labs sometimes use UV-C to sterilize workstations.

[quote=“Stephenish”][quote=“roffenburger”]You don’t want to put uv into your wort. As mentioned, it will skunk the beer. I have done this on finished beer as an experiment. I exposed half a glass of IPA to 365nm uv and there was a noticeable difference within minutes.

I don’t see why you couldn’t use it for equipment. Be aware that plastics-tubing, buckets, racking canes, etc- will break down with exposure to UV and you will have to replace them (cost).

It seems like a big hassle to me.[/quote]
Thank you for your scientific endeavor and report. Apparently wort would suffer from exposure. (Though I do wonder if UV-C might be different from the wavelengths you used.) I do not wish to skunk my beer.

I have heard different reports about the effect of UV on plastic. Do you have a reference material that you could share?[/quote]

Actually, I’m not certain if I used 365nm, 254, or both. My fixture has both settings. You have UV-C lamps-test it out.
I don’t have any resources, but if the plastic is not treated for UV exposure, it will break down. Polycarbonate gets fine spiderweb cracks I know. A google search will return this information for you.

Any idea what the flow rate is? I’ve heard of ponds being purified by UV-C. The distance from the bulb and the length of exposure is what I’m after. Have you had experience with this method of sterilization? Thank you for your well reasoned response.[/quote]

Its been years since I read the info on flow rates and such. It was never something I needed to retain or apply, so I have forgotten the specifics. Get your Google fu on my man, the net has some wild and crazy info available if you type the right search query.

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