Sanitize Beer Equipment – For Everyone’s Benefit

Have you ever had a beer that tasted a little off? If it is a home brew beer, chances are the brewer did not sufficiently follow the steps to sanitize beer equipment. Sanitization is a simple step, but must be followed to ensure good and consistent beer.

I Don’t Want to Santize Beer Equipment

Well, that is up to you but highly discouraged. Your sanitization will take place in two steps:

  1. Clean beer equipment – This means to wash off any foreign materials that you can see. Use caution on what soap you use because it could cause some aftertaste in your beer. PBW makes and effective cleaner that you won’t even notice in your beer. I caution this because I used dish soap to clean bottled before bottling my beer. The beer tasted great, but had a soapy aftertaste. Don’t worry, I sucked it up because I couldn’t waste 48 bottles of beer.
  2. Sanitize beer equipment – This is where you are eliminating the things you can’t see…microorganisms. Star San is the most commonly used sanitizer as it does not cause off-flavor in your beer.

Sterilization is the next step in a cleaning scale, but is unnecessary for your brewing equipment.

Gross…Microorganisms and Bacteria

BacteriaRelax, they are everywhere. In some cases, they can even help your beer carbonate a little bit but too many will cause your beer to taste different. This is why it is critical to sanitize beer equipment.

Most beers will utilize a yeast strain that best balances the products of fermentation. You know the goal isn’t just to convert the sugar to alcohol, but some of the sugars into other taste and aroma compounds. I won’t go any deeper as it gets confusing for me.

This, is the reason we sanitize beer equipment. We are not trying to eliminate microorganisms and bacteria, just minimize them. Plus, if you follow the same process every time you brew your beer will be consistent which is the goal.

Ready to Sanitize Beer Equipment

Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, we are ready to sanitize beer equipment. If you are at Level 3 then you are probably overwhelmed by the amount of equipment you will need to sanitize. Let’s make it simple by following one rule: if touches something hot then it only needs to be cleaned. This means you clean, but do not need to sanitize:

  • Brew pot
  • Brew stir spoon

You can break your sanitization into smaller steps as you only have to sanitize what is needed for that day.

Brew Day Sanitization

  • FermenterWash Up
  • Hydrometer
  • Thermometer
  • Airlock
  • Whatever you use to get the wort out to test the specific gravity

Bottling Day Sanitization

  • Bottling Bucket
  • Tubing and siphon
  • Bottles
  • Caps

Seems more reasonable right?

Consistency is Key

The key is to sanitize beer equipment every time you brew. Not only that, but do it the same way every time as well to ensure the beer will taste the same.

If you have any questions, comment below or email me at nate@drinkgreatbeers.com.

Cheers!

Sanitize beer equipment

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