Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sanitation

Either you all just jumped to the bottom or are really dedicated readers that last post was long.

Any how the sanitation for fermenting in a container that already contained the juice you are going to ferment means you are sanitizing the things that are not already inside the juice container so settle down people.

I've talked about Star San before, but if you don't buy that at a brew store or online there are other options that require you to be mindful of and are readily available at most drug stores.  I am talking of course about Iodine solutions,  or bleach solutions.  John Palmer has a great page on what and when to clean and sanitize as well as all the solution guidelines on his How to Brew site.

The things you need to clean and or sanitize for the Brain Dead simple recipe posted are the bottles, and the aluminum foil that you cover the juice container with.  Right that is all.  Less important that a few little Richards made it sound huh?  In most cases when you are actually brewing you sanitize everything you put into or but your beer into.  For this case you are trying to not put anything into your vessel, no utensils and especially keep your filthy hands out of it.

Now when you try to bottle, not having a racking cane or bottle wand is doing to make this task challenging and you are going to have to take some precautions here because what I'm outlining has all sorts of opportunity to be a mess, but with care I think could actually turn out fine.  After the Apfelwein is done fermenting you will want to wash and sanitize your the bottles you plan on using. Removing the labels is going to be all on you, I use PBW as a cleaning agent as it makes the labels just fall off, and quickly removes the glue as well. You have to get PBW at a brew store or online, and I use gloves but it works faster than anything else I know of. The directions for the size my brewstore sells it in is for a 5 gallon batch of pbw which is murderously overkill for 10 or so bottles. I've done 48x12oz and 24x22oz of bottles in a 5 gallon batch, so this stuff is pretty potent and a waste on just few bottles to plan ahead and clean a few cases of empties for use later.

If you don't want to mess with sanitizer and washing solutions you can run bottles that don't have any crud in the bottom of them through the dishwasher on a full cycle with no detergent and no rinse aid. If you don't know how to disable the jet dry part of your dishwashers cycle don't use your dishwasher. I only suggest it because you get your cleaning and sanitizing done in one step, and most people can accomplish this. If you don't use the dishwasher, you will need to make a bleach or Iodophor solution and follow the John Palmer's guide for how long it takes the solution you choose to sanitize. Iodophor takes 10 minutes to sanitize and bleach takes 20 minutes. For reference Star San does the same in 30 seconds! Have I mentioned how amazing Star San is?

Once the bottles are clean you should prime them with corn sugar. I Figured that about 1/2 a teaspoon of dextrose per 12oz bottle for priming, so use a funnel to get that in the bottom of the bottle to start with. Then we need to sanitize the funnel and reasonable size piece of cheese cloth. Once sanitized you will take the cheese cloth and make a well in the funnel to catch particles as you pour from your juice container into the bottles. You are aiming for just filling the fat part of the neck on your bottle. Use any bottle conditioned beer for reference on how full to fill the bottles (Sierra Nevada brand does bottle conditioning) when it gets to be the point of only pouring trub (the crud that is at the bottom) it is up to you, but I would choose to abandon the liquid that is with the trub, it just won't taste as good.

Cap those bottles and keep them at room temperature to allow them to carbonate for about 2 weeks and then you can put them in the fridge to drink. People that are really into this say that it only gets better with time so 3 months is good, 6 months is great, 9 months will blow your mind. Your first batch I doubt you will be able to resist jumping in to drink them, but if you have a few of these going at any given time you will have a steady stream of them ready to drink. Good luck, and let me know if anyone gives this a try.

5 comments:

  1. Cool, been saving an empty case of Bud for when I decided to give this another try.

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  2. You gave sanitation its own post! Thanks!

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  3. @naturalone, I mentioned it in a previous post but you may not want to use twistoff bottles for re-capping. They have a tendency to shatter at the neck. Your beer so risk it if you want.

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  4. I actually read through it, I'm somewhat interested in the brewing process. It always seems bizarre to think someone came up with it as in some guy let something ferment than drank it.

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