The importance of cleanliness and sterilisation when it comes to brewing can not be ignored. Doesn’t matter what you are trying to brew, ferment of preserve, the presence of bacteria (that isn’t your beloved chosen yeast) will destroy any of your efforts.
I would venture a guess and say that contamination is the biggest reason for failed home brews and the number one reason for people giving up on home brewing – but don’t! keeping your fermented beer safe from unwanted contaminators is very simple and start with good habits:
1. Get a good sterilising powder for brewing/wine making (I use VWP).
2. Now get a spare tub of steriliser.
3. on a brew day/racking/bottling, think of the whole process and get all the tools you need out.
4. Fill a big bucket (it can be your fermentation tank) with a couple of litres of cleaning solution (VWP uses 1 tsp per litre).
5. Get every single one of the tools through the solution, rinsed with hot water and kept aside on a clean surface.
That is it – and another beer batch saved.
A couple of extra notes:
– If it is going to cook (your pot, the stirring spoon etc) it doesn’t need sterilising as the heat will do so, but going over the just in case is good practice.
– If you are dealing with a few brews/batches/containers that had or will have contact with different yeasts, sterilise again, don’t let one potentially contaminated batch ruin another.
Very simple and so vital. I lost a whole batch and almost an eye dealing with a contaminated batch that almost blew up in the bottles after priming. Yes, it can even happen in the bottling stage, so keep the bottles and all bottling equipment clean, so you won’t get a huge beer fountain in the kitchen covering it all, leaving with hours of cleaning (my wife didn’t find it half as funny as I did!)