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More of an open-ended question really, I've been using Vin Classe Sterilising powder and find it hard to tell if my 25 litre fermenters are properly sterile, I've had a few issues with wine going off quickly once bottled but this may be the glass rather than the fermenter at fault?

I've just been using empty wine bottles to store a few bottles at a time and within 24 hours sometimes I've found the wine tastes a little off, would using different bottles/corks help?

Only really done a couple of batches before so it may well be other rookie issues

Any general advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    Do you rinse bottles after using that product? It's not a no-rinse sanitizer, as many homebrewing products are, but a chlorinated cleaner. – Franklin P Combs Jan 31 '15 at 17:08
  • Wouldn't you expect wine to be "a little off" 24 hours after getting some oxygen in it? – Pepi Feb 1 '15 at 3:17
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    Furthermore, I would not expect a microbial contaminant to do anything noticeable in just 24 hours, unless your bottle had big wads of fuzzy mold in it already. So I doubt this is a sanitation issue. – Pepi Feb 1 '15 at 3:21
  • I agree with Pepi, this doesn't sound like a sanitation issue. Keep in mind short of killing all microbes you are sanitizing not sterilizing. And you can't effectively sanitize something that isn't clean. Look to oxygen pick-up or process. How would you describe "off" from a sensory perspective? This will help with narrowing your scope. – John Dec 10 '15 at 15:37
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As Pepi noted in the comments it would take a serious infection to be noticeable in 24 hours (Just think how long it takes yeast to get going and that is supplied into fermentable at a huge number of cells.

First and foremost I recommend moving to an acid based no-rise sanitiser. Starsan is the common brand but other unbranded and just as good alternatives are available. Moving to exclusively using that kind of sanitiser changed my brewing forever, it has been 100% reliable and has no residual taste. With that kind you can make up a small amount (500ml) and roll it around your fermentor so all surfaces are covered, after a short while let it drain and you can be pretty confident its free of contaminates. It also removes post rinsing with tap water that could be adding anything back to the fermentor / bottle after all your hard work.

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