In this day and age, we are surrounded by a wide array of products made with a lot of additives harmful to our health. More and more people are starting to discover the benefits of home-produced food and drinks.
Growing your food has never been easier and the same goes for making your own beer as well. Indulging in a cold one that you’ve made yourself is far more enjoyable than drinking store-bought beer with various additives.
Plus, brewing your own beer can be really fun. But before you begin with your beer-making process, you need to make sure that everything that touches your beer is clean and sanitised. Even though it might seem boring, it’s an essential part of the process. Otherwise, you might end up with a bad batch of beer.
What Can I Use to Sanitize Brewing Equipment?
Sanitising your beer equipment is mandatory on both brew day and bottling day. On the brew day, you need to sanitise your fermenter, airlock, funnel, big spoon and thermometer. When the day comes to bottle your beer, make sure to sanitise the bottles, hoses, bottling bucket, auto-siphon and anything else that comes in touch with your beer. There are a few methods to do this.
Homebrew experts recommend sanitising the equipment as close to it being used, which is why a “no-rinse” solution might be a perfect choice. Opt for a convenient, easy to use homebrew sanitizer that you can dilute in water and just soak all your equipment in it. The no rinse sanitiser effectively sterilises everything you use for brewing, winemaking and distilling. Simply make a few litres of one of these solutions, and you can keep any stirrers, lengths of hose in it, ready for use. You can find the diluting instructions on the package. Usually, a 250 beer sanitiser should be enough for ten uses. A good rule of thumb is to soak everything you can, and spray what you can’t soak. Your gear only needs one minute of contact time with the sanitiser solution, and it will be good to go.
This solution of iodine complexed with a polymer is also very convenient to use. You need to use one capful per two litres of water to make sure it works. You can soak all of your equipment and wait for at least two minutes to have perfectly sanitised gear. The concentration doesn’t need to be rinsed, but you should allow the items to drain before use. The recommended concentration is well below the taste threshold, but you can rinse with cooled boiled water to avoid any chance of off-flavours.
When you heat a microorganism at a high enough temperature and long enough time, it dies. For this purpose, some homebrewers use dry heat, such as ovens, others use steam (pressure cooker or dishwater). Have in mind that this method requires more time, work and attention, which is why a lot of homebrewers have switched to using a no-rinse brewing steriliser.
How Do You Clean a Home Brewing Kit?
As important sanitising is, have in mind that you can only sanitise clean equipment. Dirt and microbes are the mortal enemies of every brewer. Even if you follow every step of the brewing process to the letter, if you do it in dirty equipment, the resulting beer will be riddled with off flavours. To have a perfectly nice and drinkable beer, make sure you soak or hand clean all the surfaces that come in contact with the beer and then continue sanitising.
Citric Acid Cleaner
Citric acid is considered the new baking soda, and can be used in the kitchen, bathroom and any other part of your home. Found naturally in citrus fruits, especially lemons and lime, this acid contains strong cleaning agents. It’s perfect for cleaning your condenser for more efficient distilling. The condenser can get clogged from particles from the distillation process, which can cause erratic temperature fluctuations when distilling. Mix just one cup of citric acid with ten litres of water in a bucket. Connect to the still spirits water flow regulator and run through the condenser for an hour. This solution can perfectly clean all the items from your homebrew kit. Rinse off after use, and everything will be ready for sanitising.
Maintainance and Cleaning Kit
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced pro in homebrewing, you can benefit a lot from a maintenance and cleaning kit. These kits contain all the cleaning tools and accessories you need to keep everything clean and in good order. From cap screwdrivers, carabiners and cartridge seals to cleaning wipes, microfiber towel and cleaning tablets, a well-equipped kit can help you maintain your gear and clean even the most delicate spots. The kit also contains a bottle cleaning brush, so you can easily clean your bottles and get them ready for use. These kits contain a lot of other small tools that you don’t know you need until you actually do.