Friday, February 27, 2009

Fermentation Friday-- Sanitation

All of my friends have some sort of phobia in brewing. One is terrified of yeast, another is afraid of all-grain. I am afraid of bacteria. I can't get through the idea that I sanitize things, then expose them to air before putting them back in my beers. So... I sanitize everything, below is the rough process.

First, I oxyclean everything. I use the stuff from Costco- blue specks and all. It is cheap, easy and cuts through any mess. I then make up 2 gallons or so of Star-San. I love the foam. Really. I try to keep a bucket of star-san ready the whole day. I clean and then star-san the boil pot, ditto the mash tun and hot liquor tank (another 5-gallon tun). I also clean and sanitize all the hoses. At this point, I'm not worried about the beer going bad, but I gather all bacteria tastes bad, whether or not it ruins the beer. When I add in the Irish Moss (15 min left) I make sure to clean the immersion chiller with vinnegar, rinse and hit it with the sanitizer (which at this point holds all of the spoons and other equipment to touch the wort after it is cooled). I then let the coil sit for the last five minutes of the boil, put the lid (re-sanitized) back on the pot for the last two minutes of the boil and then put the flame out. I then start the chilling and put a gallon of star san into the carboy and shake for a minute. It is then put upside down in a bucket so it can drain out the foam (as much as possible). Eventually, I'll put a sanitized zip-loc over the neck and let it set out. The beer goes in and a blow-off is put into a gallon jug full of sanitizer that had been used to clean things previously. In secondary, I sanitize the airlocks with whiskey, drinking when we fill them for good luck. Tedious, boring but effective so far. If only I was so careful with my yeast.

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