So... I will just start with sharing that "Hop Stained" has a nice ring to it for an IPA name, but I digress to my question.

During my first batch, I am becoming paranoid I did not pay enough attention to cleaning throughout my boil. I kept a bucket with sanitizer and kept all instruments in there when I wasn't using them, except my stirring spoon. This was because I was stirring my wort nearly constantly, and after the boil and even after I cleaned the soon, there is still a green tint to it from the hops I imagine.

Is this normal? Does this mean I didn't clean well enough?

Thanks, Chris

4 Answers 4


The spoon is wood or plastic? stirring your wort or sweet liquor while boiling with a somewhat residual stain of some sort, within reason I suppose, will have no effect on the finished product. If you are worried, use a stainless spoon, great investment. Or just buy another plastic spoon, 2 bucks tops.

  • 1
    if you have a point that needs clarifying, post it as a comment rather than part of your answer.
    – mdma
    Dec 29, 2013 at 18:26
  • It is a plastic spoon. I will look for a stainless spoon, thanks for the advice. Dec 29, 2013 at 19:48

Anything somewhat porous and light colored can stain. White/light plastic often stains. White fermenting buckets often get hop stains. Wood spoons can stain also. Steel, glass and aluminum generally will not stain, although metals can get discolored for various reasons, usually having to do with oxidation. It will not affect the beer. For plastics, a good soak in hot PBW/oxiclean/oxygen cleaner solution can help lighten stains, as can a little bleach in water, but be careful to rinse thoroughly with hot water after cleaning. Also, be careful not to scrub plastic too hard, as it can leave scratches that can harbor bacteria and make sanitization difficult.

One tip - you don't need an expensive steel mash paddle for homebrew. They look nice, but I have been using a 24" stainless french whip instead of a spoon or paddle for a while, and I think it works very well for stirring and breaking up dough balls in 5 gal batches (better than a spoon or paddle). I do BIAB so I generally have a somewhat thin mash and the whip is easy on the bag. It was around $10 on Amazon.


As others have said, wood and plastic may stain. That doesn't mean they are not clean. But to put your mind at ease a bit: You don't need to worry much about sanitation until your wort is cooling after your boil. Yes, you want things to be clean -- but the boil will generally take care of any bacteria that is introduced into a mash or extract before the boil starts, and nothing you would encounter in a homebrew environment will survive during the boil itself.

Note: You can get flavor from bacteria in a sour mash, but that would be something you are doing intentionally (holding the mash at a low temperature for an extended period of time).


A lot of my plastic brewig equipment is discolored from hops and i havent had any ill effects. [My tupperware also stains from leftover spaghetti and there are no ill effects there either :)]

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