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I just started my first cider homebrew, and broke a cardinal rule. I made the mistake of thinking that BSG B-Brite cleanser was also a sanitizer. I made two batches from pasteurized juice without campden tablets in brand new containers (one 6 gal carboy and one 7.5 gal bucket). I thoroughly washed everything in the B-Brite but used no sanitizer.

Should I expect this to be a wasted batch? Is there anything that I can do before fermentation starts that will help reduce the risk of getting a large batch of vinegar like adding campden tablets before fermentation starts?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

B-Brite is an active-oxygen-based cleaner, and these do a good job of making the item sanitary. While they are not classified as sanitizers, that is mainly because of the formal requirements and certification procedures, but in practice they can do a good job of sanitizing. I know people that use only ChemPro, Oxiclean and other active oxygen based cleaners to sanitize and have not had a wasted batch.

If you add campden tablets you will kill all organisms including any yeast you have pitched, so you'll need to pitch yeast 24-48 hours after pitching the campden tablets.

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I did the same thing with my first 5-10 batches before I figured it out lol

I never had any problems with infections or anything like that. I think the reason is that I always thoroughly washed everything. When I went to the homebrew store and asked the same question you just did, the guys who worked there were like oh no you can't do that, you'll get an infection every time. yeah whatever guys. Anyway, I would say that while it's not preferable to not sanitize (because who wants to waste a batch) it's definitely not a guaranteed failure.

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You should definitely wait and see, but I would remain optimistic. Even if conditions are not 100% sanitary, yeast often has the competitive advantage over other organisms due to abundance and other factors. Once fermentation begins, infection is increasingly unlikely since alcohol will kill or inhibit most microorganisms, whereas yeast are relatively tolerant.

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