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PeterC1525230181

Boiling water good enough to sterilise?

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I was diligently sterilising my craft kit with bleach and rinsing it all out with hot tap water etc. Now I am wondering is there is any reason not to do the following, which would be much less work: 

-Boil about 9L of water in a big saucepan for 5-10 mins to 1) sterilise it and 2) get rid of the chlorine.

-Pour some of it boiling into the craft kit vessel, swish it about, open and close the tap a few times to rinse the tap out with near boiling water. Surely this would kill most bugs?

-Top up with the nearly boiling water to nearly the full volume required, leaving room for additions. 

-Put the lid on and set aside to cool. 

-When cool, add the brew tin contents and whatever other additions and yeast.

I suspect this is not the favoured approach with standard brewing volumes of >20L because of weight and the risk of tipping boiling water over oneself. With <9L, the weight and size is manageable and less risky. 

If everything is pretty clean having been washed out from the previous brew with plenty of hot water and a soft cloth, wouldn't a dousing in boiling water be enough to sterilise well enough?

 

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Probably. I do it with my kegs sometimes instead of using starsan before filling them. I also do it with my cubes on brew days before filling them with hot wort. I don't do it with the fermenter as there's probably more risk of splashing myself with it and I don't want it hot when I'm about to fill it with wort as it would probably raise the temp a bit. The kegs and cubes I can seal up so nothing comes out when it's being swished around, and temperature isn't a concern with these.

Depending on what your water is treated with, boiling may not remove the chlorine. Some water supplies are treated with chloramines which can't be boiled out.

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Boiling water does indeed sterilise problem is you really cant put your hand in it if you need to wipe down any hard to remove klingons. Here is my routine. Wash out the trub with a garden hose or even better a pressure washer. Remove anything that survives with a soft cloth rinse thoroughly. Remove the tap and break apart if you can, use cotton buds to get to the hard to reach areas of the tap. Then drop the tap into boiling water. Reassemble and store upside down allowing some airflow to dry the inside of the fv. Just prior to use, quick rinse and spray with starsan including the tap and its internals.

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3 hours ago, PeterC1525230181 said:

If everything is pretty clean having been washed out from the previous brew with plenty of hot water and a soft cloth, wouldn't a dousing in boiling water be enough to sterilise well enough?

This is the kind of thing that our lab techs used to do at our previous brewery in Leabrook (each batch had a brew made up for testing).  More often than not, the brews turned out infected.

EDIT: If you rely on the "stick on thermometer strip", it will soon become useless if regularly exposed to extremely hot water...

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I'm guessing that's partly because the water wouldn't stay boiling for long? That's part of why I don't do it with the fermenter, maybe unfounded but I prefer starsan. I figure the infection risk is a fair bit lower in kegs and cubes although most of the time I use starsan on the kegs as well.

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Well doing the experiment now. I am on to my second brew sterilising only with boiling water. Bottles and implements were passed through a large pot of boiling water with 5-10 minutes of residence time. For the fermentation vessel I poured in a kettle full of boiling water, rolled about over all surfaces, the tap was exercised open and closed a few times with the hot water running through and I repeated the whole process a couple of times. The water used for the brew itself was boiled, which also helps to drive off chlorine, and then the lid left on until it was cool and ready to use. So far, so good. I'll report back with my tail between my legs if I get an infected brew. I assume that will be obvious if it happens?

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There is sterilizing and sanitizing. To make water potable in an emergency situation you need to boil it (rolling boil) for one minute (source CDC). Sterilizing takes longer, but probably isn't necessary if you are using a fresh package of yeast every time, and are not under-pitching.

Why not use Starsan? Boiling water is energy intensive (= expensive) and time consuming. 

Most home brew is infected to one degree or another; it only becomes noticeable if it reaches a certain level. If you want to get an idea of how infected your brews are, do a wort stability test: collect a small sample of wort in a sterile jar before adding your yeast (sterile specimen container from a lab works well) and put it in a warm place (ideally 30C, but room temperature will do) for three days and examine for signs of cloudiness or change every 12 hours, for 72 hours. If you make it to 48 hours with no change, you have nothing to worry about. If you make it to 72 hours, you are doing very well. https://www.morebeer.com/articles/lab_tests_quality_beer 

Cheers,

Christina.

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I deal with sterilising water and non single use equipment nearly everyday. To sterilise you need to kill all bacteria, fungi, spores, everything.

My work is in medical research, chemical agents aside, we sterilise water by bringing to at least 121C in basically a special pressure cooker, the water is maintained at this temperature for not less than 20 minutes.

Simply boiling water at standard atmospheric pressure will not yield sterility, and ‘swishing around’ water that is cooling from an atmospheric pressure boil will certainly not yield a sterile surface - likely not a sanitised surface either.

Chemical sanitisation is by far the most convenient and reliable option, especially in a domestic environment.

Edited by sarrx207
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I have been sterilizing everything with just boiling water for about 5 year now. I muster the brewing bucket, stirring spoon, dowling and fv with airlock together, give a rinse out fv and bucket with hot tap water, wipe down insides of both with new, clean chux, pour out, rinse, and boil the jug. 2ltrs boiling water into the bucket with the spoon and dowling (used for keeping the can in place while pouring contents into bucket), solid swish around to cover all surfaces, empty water. MAKE SURE THE TAP IS OFF, 2ltrs boiling water into fv, replace lid, place on side and roll and upend until all surfaces have been touched. be careful of hot water coming out of the airlock. Empty, then put another ltr or so of boiling water in fv and run through the tap, then process kit. never had an issue or lost a brew. I brew in plastic bottles so use Milton tabs in water for that only.

cheers

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