Bottle washing

Discussion in 'General Home Brew Equipment Discussion' started by Richie_asg1, Feb 1, 2020.

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  1. Feb 1, 2020 #1

    Richie_asg1

    Richie_asg1

    Richie_asg1

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    Probably the worst part of brewing for me is bottle washing, but I do like beer in glass bottles, and they are easy to store in odd corners.
    I must have spent a good hour just cleaning the sink area down and cleaning bottles. I do have a dishwasher but is pretty bad at getting the inside of bottles clean, and can make clean rinsed bottles dirty again.

    This year I intend to improve things so have started to look at what is taking the time in an attempt to speed up the process.
    All my bottles are rinced & shaken 3 times then left to drain overnight upsidedown. During the day these are then put somewhere warm on their sides to dry and when I get enough are boxed up with a cover.

    Bottling day I start out by filling the sink with a bleach & vinegar mix, and use a bottle brush a few times, then fill each bottle and leave to stand full for 10 minutes. As this uses up the bleach mix I end up with 10 bottles and have to wait 10 minutes before I can carry on. Then repeat 5 times to end up with 46 bottles which is about 1 bottle more than needed on a 23L batch.- But that is 50 minutes gone!

    When drained I used to rinse with boiled water, but I now skip this as bottles are usually free of drips by the time I get to use them.

    So it looks like the bottle brush is needed, but what is taking the time is the sterilisation period.

    How do the guys that bottle do it? Or has everyone moved to cornys because of bottling issues?
     
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  2. Feb 1, 2020 #2

    London

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    I just rinse with hot water a couple of times as soon I pour the beer then leave to dry upside down overnight that store in a box with a lid, on bottling day I pour Starsan in one then shake and pour into the next one and repeat, never had a problem.
     
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  3. Feb 1, 2020 #3

    Drunkula

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    Used to be wash in sink -> swirl out water -> drain -> bleach no rinse -> rinse no rinse because of the phenol problem I was having and the thin bleach NOT being thin**. Also sometimes the bottles would have slugs n stuff in them until I started pushing the tops back on after each booze. Quicky blast under the tap to get the yeast out.

    At one point I did the wash, rinse then the oven method which I liked well enough until I got Star San.

    Now it's Wash and bottle brush in sink using much less detergent so that bubbles don't stick in the neck -> swirl out with water -> Star San -> tip that out. It sounds like the same number of steps but it's a lot quicker.

    I like having beer on tap because it feels cool using the gear but I think I like bottles maybe more because you can have a lot more choice. And if you see you've got about 7 bottles empty you'll go - ok maybe only 2 more. With beer on tap you just don't get the reminder to look at the energy bar on your liver.

    ** Had trouble with phenols. Then I noticed the thin bleach I'd got was yellower than normal and foamed if you shake it. Bought 2 more bottles from 2 different supermarkets and they were exactly the same. Unless you shake the bottle in the supermarket and open it you can't trust thin bleach for no-rinse. Plus I've knackered some of my favourite tops with bleach sanitiser. I think it's amazing for killing stuff, especially mould in bathrooms, but no way would I ever use it again after Star San.
     
  4. Feb 1, 2020 #4

    samale

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    Clean each bottle after drinking the beer. In bottling day I fill the sink with hot water and a teaspoon of bleach. Good shake and rinse then it's on the bottle washer to get hit with starsan then on the bottling tree to drip. Normally clean an hour before bottling
     
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  5. Feb 1, 2020 #5

    chrisb8

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    I give the bottle a good rinse out with warm water immediately after pouring, make sure that it is clean and then put the top back on loosely. When I have a few built up I pour Star San into a couple, give them a good shake and then pour it into the the next two and repeat. Then cap goes back on loosely again or swing top is sealed. No need to allow them to dry because all that is inside is sanitiser. Then they get another Star San rinse with the bottle washer on bottling day. I used to go through a much more elaborate method but it was a waste of time and very tedious.
     
  6. Feb 1, 2020 #6

    Richie_asg1

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    I am thinking of building something like this, but based around a standard kitchen sink and drainer.


    I face watched a few of these videos now mostly from India of people doing the same thing.
    The part I like about this is that the nozzles are below the surface, so this would mean it would be easier to store. Also the bottle draining plates/ rack could be made to fit inside a standard crate when not in use - so would store along with the bottles rather than taking up room itself.
    The main aim is to have a working system that can convert a standard sink & drainer into a bottle washing station, but takes up little room when stored away. Maybe the brush/ motor/ pump assembly can be packed inside an empty 25L FV bucket.
     
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  7. Feb 1, 2020 #7

    Rodcx500z

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    Pour rinse loosely fit top, on bottling day rinse sanitise and fill, I use more pb's than bottles so not a prob
     
  8. Feb 2, 2020 #8

    AXW123

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    Rinse out thoroughly immediately you pour. Wash all bottles in sink on bottling day. Run through the dishwasher on hottest setting with no dishes and no detergent to sterilise-Bottle immediately. Pretty easy - But I only do small brews of 20 so is never particularly onerous.
     
  9. Feb 2, 2020 #9

    the baron

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    Rinse immediately after pouring drain until dry then put in crates and cover. Brewday just rinse once then starsan and drain and bottle simples
     
  10. Feb 3, 2020 #10

    hedgerowpete

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    second purchase on the lottery win homebrew shopping list!!!!!!
     
  11. Feb 3, 2020 #11

    hedgerowpete

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    we do, drink beer- swill out with water- swill out with thin bleach- seal and crate for next time-

    the start is open bottle and swill out- wash outside and then wash the inside- dip in meta sulf solution- re use

    the best trick i have every found with bottles is to keep using them as its easier to keep clean and fresh, its when they sit in the garage for two years it takes some effort to return to use
     
  12. Feb 3, 2020 #12

    hedgerowpete

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    you do realise that a dish washer very rarely gets inside a bottle, but does the outside?
     
  13. Feb 3, 2020 #13

    hedgerowpete

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    breaking that down, as a machine in use i am not that far away from it.
    battery drill and shop brought bottle brush
    battery drill and home made strimmer wire brush

    i just need an old steam cleaner frame for six bottles, set you to be used with a higher pressure water supply with added cleaner solution with some form of holding device
     
  14. Feb 3, 2020 #14

    Dutto

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    To get the yeast off the sides and bottoms of the bottles, I used this (a bicycle wheel spoke and a few tie-wraps) ...

    IMG_0994.jpg

    ... and this to clean out the Growlers (a length of 10mm copper tube with a few tie-wraps) ...

    IMG_1271.jpg

    ... before rinsing them out with tap water, spraying them with StarSan and allowing them to drain before re-filling.
     
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  15. Feb 3, 2020 #15

    hedgerowpete

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    [​IMG]

    strimmer wire 2.5mm thick, cheapest coil in b&q that day.
    kids long paint brush and 50mm long 10mm plastic plumbing pipe.
    short bristles are 25mm long proud and the longer one is 50mm long bristles.
    longer fold when spun in water so better off with a small water amount and both on the end of a batter drill
     
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  16. Feb 3, 2020 #16

    Graz

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    This is pretty much all I do. Drink beer, rinse bottle a few times with the hottest water I can get out of the tap, look into the bottle whilst pointing at something light to make sure it is clean, drain and store upside down.

    When bottling a brew, I line up all the bottles, if I'm being vigilant I will inspect them again for the odd stray spider or whatever, then a few squirts of StarSan from the bottle rinser, onto the bottle tree to drain off further, and then fill with beer / cap.

    Never had a duff to date. My theory is that if I do get some sort of contamination it least it would be contained to one or two bottles that weren't quite as clean as the rest. Life's too short ;)
     
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  17. Feb 3, 2020 #17

    Richie_asg1

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    I have been looking at plastic bottle crates, and while most have a hollow base, they don't usually allow an upturned bottle to sit level or straight.
    Maybe another way would be to make the cleaning jet frame sit on top of the crate pointing down, clamp it on, then just turn the whole thing over, or make a lid that clamps on so it can be positioned over the jets.
    Even if made from marine ply it should last a fair while as it is not going to be in water long, and cheaper for a prototype.
    I quite like the idea of keeping the bottles in the crates while washing. A brush on a battery drill would be effective for the first clean as Pete says, and being in the crates they won't fall over. I like the centrifugal strimmer line idea. athumb.. All good ideas so far.

    I have just bought 3 x crates that take 500ml bottles, including 60 swingtops. I can remove those to soak while the bottles get washed & drain.
    Would be great to be cleaning 2 crates at a time, leaving 5 or so in the sink to soak. Leave it running for 10 minutes then drain.
     
  18. Feb 3, 2020 #18

    WierdFish

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    Wash and rinse immediately after drinking the previous contents, drain until dry, box and cover. On brew day its just a jet with steriliser in the bottle rinser and onto the draining tree, prior to bottling. Bottle still wet if necessary.
     
  19. Feb 3, 2020 #19

    hedgerowpete

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    heres some old skool ideas



    i did a six bottle version like this and a wall paper steamer
     
  20. Feb 3, 2020 #20

    hedgerowpete

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