I'm curious to know if it is safe to clean and sanitize equipment the day before using it, particularly bottles and bottling gear. If I clean and sasnitize the night before using it, will it still be considered clean/sanitized by morning, or would it be contaminated?
It depends on the conditions you store it. If it's like an usual home, sanitizing too far before bottling is pointless. Do it right before.
If you have a separate room, properly tiled, regularly cleaned to high standards etc, one that meets appropriate norms, then it might be safe to store sanitized bottles overnight all right. But things like that tends to only happen at food factories, especially baby food. Only seen it once in a home, but it was a house of a confectioner and it was his workplace.
Depends on your sanitation process.
If just washing and sanitizing with no rinse sanitizer then drying on a bottle tree. Then No. This is best at the time of bottling.
If you want to prep bottles the day before use your oven! I prefer this method as it doesn't use sanitizer that can give slight acid taste of not completely vacated.
- Wash bottles with dish soap as you would dishes.
- Rinse with water as you would dishes
- Rinse again with RO or distilled water, to reduce ions "hard water residue". I use a couple gallons in a bucket for a quick rinse.
- Drain & Dry bottles on tree.
- Place all bottles in cold oven.
- Add lose crimp foil to each bottle.
- Heat to 250°F for 20 minutes.
- Last minute or so open the oven and crimp each foil tight using an oven mitt.
- Turn off the oven and allow to cool, do not open the oven untill ready to bottle.
Edit: As for the brewing equipment. A quick rinse of the kettles and lines is usually all that is needed if cleaned after the last batch. The key is to sanitize everything the cold wort will touch in your brew process. Lines and chiller, run hot wort though them for 10 minutes before starting chill. Put emersion chiller in the last 10 minutes of boil before starting chill. Your fermentor is best sanitized as close to its needed time as possible.
(I know Ill get downvoted for the following heresy. I know "everybody tells you that you MUST sanitize everything". I know it's in all the American books. It's not in some German ones that I have, and practice (not just mine) shows it's not needed.)
Sanitation is overrated. In 7+ years and 75+ batches I never sanitized anything. My beers are fine (thanks for asking). The only time I had a problem was an open fermentation, which turned to vinegar.
Here's why sanitation is not needed:
You are going to boil your beer for 60 to 90 minutes, that will take care of everything.
After boiling, you do need to be careful. From the time when you have the boiled wort cooled down and until the yeast is established as the strongest culture in the wort, you better keep the fermenter closed so that nothing gets in there.
Once your beer is fermented, the hops and alcohol are a natural protection against bacteria that might spoil the beer.
Don't take this as a free ticket to not clean your equipment, though. Just treat it like your pots and pans for cooking. You wouldn't want those to be sticky with leftovers from the last dish either.