If you’re ready to start creating your very own homemade beer or cider, you’ll quickly learn that one of the most important aspects of the home brewing process is sanitation. Contamination can come from various sources and hurt how your final product tastes. That’s why all brewers take pride in sanitizing tools and equipment such as hoses, fermenters, and anything else that is used in the process on the cold side. Here are some important tips you should consider to ensure your home brewing kit is free of unwanted bacteria:
Don’t Forget to Clean
One common mistake first time brewers make is not understanding the difference between cleaning and sanitizing. While sanitation is important, it should not be a substitute for cleaning, which is an equally important part of the process. Failing to clean your equipment can lead to a build up of grime, which can cause bacteria to form or produce unwanted flavors in your brew. Make sure you thoroughly clean every surface that your beer comes into contact with, then sanitize them properly
Have a Sanitation Plan
Having a clear idea of what needs to be sanitized before brewing will save you time, money, and heartache from a potentially spoiled brew. Lay out all your equipment in a sanitized environment and go through each piece at the beginning of the process, rather than sanitize items as you need them. Also, pay special attention to items that you use once in a while, that aren’t on the list of items of your home brewing kit. (i.e. scissors or a knife you use to open the package of yeast).
Sanitize Your Work Surfaces
It’s important to remember that contamination can happen through virtually any point of contact with an unsanitized object or surface. Setting down a spoon on an unsanitized counter top greatly increases the risk of that spoon getting contaminated and thereby ruining your brew when you use it again. Your workstation or countertop is also a tool that should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before any other sanitized object is placed on top of it.
Replace Plastic Items
Plastic items such as buckets and spigots should be frequently replaced as they tend to wear down, scratch, and crack. These cracks are the perfect place for bacteria to form and make it difficult for sanitizers to do their job.
Choose a 5-Star Sanitizer
There are many sanitizers on the market; however, we recommend Star San (“Don’t Fear The Foam”) or Superflush Tap & Line Cleaner by Foxx.
Star San is the sanitizer par excellence for pro brewers and hobbyists alike. It’s safe, it’s convenient, and it’s effective. It’s so ubiquitous, though, that even longtime brewers may not pay it a second thought. But paying a second thought isn’t a bad idea when the quality of your beer is at stake. Do follow the recommended dilution instructions: Just 1 ounce (30 ml) of Star San in 5 gallons (19 liters) of water is enough to effectively sanitize all of your gear.
Foxx’s Superflush Tap & Line Cleaner is A mild cleaner designed for cleaning beer lines. Works great for cleaning parts too. A mild blend of detergents for normal draft beer and soda line cleaning.
- Concentrated formula with a mix ratio of 2 to 3 oz. per gallon of water
- Biodegradable formula
- Safe for use on all lines
- Great for parts cleaning
- Economically priced
Both of these are a top choice among the home brewing professionals. It works quickly to rid your equipment of harmful bacteria, minimizing your risk of contamination and helping your home brewing kit produce great tasting beer every time. Should you want to purchase one of these sanitizers, please stop by our store. We carry these and a whole variety of products for all of your brewing needs. Be sure to call or stop by to find out when our next Brew Your Own class is!