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I've got 50 bottles to sterilize tonight but unfortunately have an extraordinarily small sink which can only fit 4 bottles at a time. The sterilizer I have (bruclens cleaner) requires everything to be soaked for 10 minutes so I was wondering...

  • If I just made the sterilizer came in to contact with all of the bottle could I just leave it for 10 minutes before rinsing? This is similar to what the instructions say for cleaning the fermentation bucket.
  • Is putting the bottles in the oven as effective as using a sterilizer?
  • I'll be sterilizing my bottling bucket at the same time, can I put a load of bottles in there at the same time?

I'm aware I could use star san or something similar but I won't be able to pick that up in time for bottling up tonight.

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    To clear up terminology, Bruclens is a cleanser and sanitizer, and not a sterilizer. Cleaning is removing organic and inorganic deposits from the surface. You cannot effcetively sanitize until you clean. Sanitizing kills 99.999% percent of unwanted microorganisms such as bacteria, wild yeast, and other fungo. Sterilizing is killing 99.99999999% of microorganisms, and is usually done in an autoclave. – Chino Brews Sep 29 '14 at 14:35
  • Here is link to a post on sanitizing vs. sterilizing. – Chino Brews Sep 29 '14 at 14:56
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I'm assuming you have a bottling bucket? Can't you just fill the sterilizer directly into the bottles? Then leave them for 10 mins before emptying and putting the same sterilizer into the next batch of bottles.

  • I have no idea why I hadn't thought of this as an option! It's so obvious...I'll give it a try, thanks. – DoctorMick Sep 29 '14 at 12:01
  • if you have a dishwasher they work well also. – Zeeba Sep 29 '14 at 14:37
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There is not a lot of information on Bruclens on the Internet, but it seems like it is packaged and sold by Wilkos in the UK, and its active ingredients include sodium percarbonate (the same active ingredient in OxyClean Free, which is a cleanser), and 7% chlorine (which is the sanitizer).

If I just made the sterilizer came in to contact with all of the bottle could I just leave it for 10 minutes before rinsing?

Yes. With chlorine-based sanitizers, as long as you mix them to the recommended concentration, you just have to keep the surface wet for the recommended contact time and do not need to completely immerse the item being sanitized. Then you must rinse off the sanitizer lest you end up with band-aid (plaster), chloraseptic (sort of like Dettol) off-flavors. Bruclens is not a no-rinse sanitizer, so you must rinse it off with sanitary water. I recommend keeping a spray bottle filled with your sanitizing solution, and you can spray things wet, including the inside of bottles.

Is putting the bottles in the oven as effective as using a sterilizer?

Yes, it can be, and here is how to do it. Some people on other forums have experienced that heating the bottles in the oven weakens the glass.

I also recommend switching in the future to a no-rinse sanitizer such as Star-San or Iodophor (sold in the UK as Betadine, Evans FamM30, Evans V.18 -- look for the words povidone-iodine or povidone). The same rule applies -- as long as you mix them to the recommended concentration, you just have to keep the surface wet for the recommended contact time -- and you do NOT have to rinse and SHOULD NOT rinse.

  • Thanks, Star San seems like the way to go in the future, looks like much less effort and I really didn't like the amount of water I wasted yesterday when rinsing everything. – DoctorMick Sep 30 '14 at 11:10
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I use the fermentation bucket for bottle sanitizing.

I agree with Chino Brews in recommending the use of a no-rinse sanitizer. I've been using BTF Iodophor. It only requires a two minute contact and no rinsing (rinsing is prohibited, actually). I've been brewing for about 9 months (not long, I know) and I'm working on my 7th beer now and I have had good experience with iodophor.

Iodophor is a sanitizer only, so you'll have to properly clean your bottles before using iodophor. I actually use a large sink for the cleaning process, but I used to use the fermentation bucket before I had a large sink. I've been using TDC Glassware Detergent for this step.

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