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E-Mail: 7bridges@breworganic.com
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1-800-768-4409 or
(831) 454-9665

Address: 325A River Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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Saturday: 10:00 am- 6:00 pm
Sunday: Noon- 4:00 pm
(Pacific Daylight Time)

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Hours of Business:

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Saturday: 10:00 am- 6:00 pm
Sunday: Noon- 4:00 pm
(Pacific Daylight Time)

 

 

 

Getting Started: Cleaning & Sanitizing

One of the most basic, but most important steps to successful home brewing is proper cleaning and sanitizing. Done properly, this is really a two step process:

CLEANING:

The best reason to practice good cleaning habits is that it is YOUR beer, and you will be drinking it. Without proper cleaning, surface build up can occur, which provides a place for bacteria and other unwanted organisms to take up residence.

Every surface that touches your beer during the brewing process should be clean and free from oil or soap residues. Most brewers use their brewing equipment only for brewing, to prevent odors and oils from the kitchen from affecting the quality of your beer. The cleanser used is also important. Common dish soap is effective (as long as it is unscented), but it does have some disadvantages: it is a foaming cleaner and requires thorough rinsing to remove all of the soap residue. Many home brew supply sources carry cleansers especially made for brewing, and many of these are free from phosphates, chlorine, or other toxic chemicals and so are low environmental impact. Two of the best are 5-Star PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash), and Straight-A cleaner.

One last word about oil and soap residue: Both can affect the quality and appearance of your beer because they interfere with head retention, causing the beer foam to dissapate rapidly. For this reason, your serving glasses should also be well rinsed to ensure the best possible presentation of your hand-crafted beers.

SANITIZING

After cleaning, all equipment that comes into contact with your beer after it has been boiled must also be sanitized. This is usually done by soaking the equipment in a sanitizing solution for about 10 minutes. One of the best all around sanitizers available to home brewers is Iodophor, an iodine based sanitizer. Iodophor is non-toxic when mixed to the recommended dilution, yet is a very effective sanitizer. Iodophor is toxic if undiluted, and should never be used full strength. The recommended dilution for home brewing purposes is 1/10th of a fluid oz. per gallon of water, or about 1 Tablespoon per 5 gallons. The solution should be a light amber color. It does not need to be rinsed if equipment is allowed to drip dry after sanitizing. Note that it is not necessary to sanitize equipment that contacts your beer before and during the boil, as the process of boiling will sterilize both the beer and the boiling pot. Equipment that does not need to be sanitized includes grain straining equipment (bags, strainers, or other vessels), thermometers used before the boil, the brew pot & spoon, etc.

The reason for sanitizing all other equipment is to reduce the population of bacteria present in your brewing system to a very low amount. This allows the yeast to dominate your fermentation. Once yeast is present in large numbers, it in itself is a strong deterrent to other organisms, even other strains of yeast and wild yeast. It is not necessary to sterilize the equipment; sterilizing is the complete removal of all living organizms, at requires an autoclave (a type of oven used in laboratories) or boiling for more than 20 minutes.

In Summary:

If you remember the following, your home brewery cleaning and sanitizing routine will be sucessful:

All Equipment used in brewing must be clean and free from oil and soap residues.

All equipment that touches your beer after the boil must also be sanitized.

NOW LET'S MAKE SOME BEER!....

 

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