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Archive for May, 2011

As I’ve been digging deeper into homebrewing literature, I came across a page in John Palmer’s excellent “How To Brew” book that describes sterilizing, rather than sanitizing bottles.  There are a couple of really attractive things about this approach.

First, you can separate bottle prep and bottling by as much time as you like.  When you go with chemical (star-san) or damp heat sanitation (dishwasher), you need to be prepared to bottle immediately.  Once the sanitizer dries, or the bottle cools, foul stuff can move right back in.  With sterilization, the bottles will stay sterile as long as they don’t come into contact with unsterilized air.  A little aluminum foil “cap” takes care of that issue quite nicely. I can prepare bottles days, weeks, or months ahead of bottling. Now I don’t feel rushed on bottling day! What a convenience!

Second, sterilization is guaranteed to leave your bottles bug-free!  Like any homebrewer who cares about his product, I clean my brewing materials obsessively.  However, all it takes is one colony of nasty critters hiding under a stuck piece of crud to spoil a bottle- or even a whole batch- if the sanitizer can’t get to it.  With heat sterilization, even hidden bugs get killed.  Now that’s piece of mind.

If you are looking for a great book on brewing that can take you from beginner to intermediate homebrewing, I highly recommend picking up a hard copy of “How To Brew”.  Palmer’s website is great, but having a hardcopy is way more useful around the kitchen/brewhouse.

With that said: details and photos of my last bottle sterilization day after the break.

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