Cleaning and sanitizing are the most important factors in the home brewing process. Proper sanitation should be observed, or the end product and those who drink it will suffer. It is common knowledge that dirty equipment attracts bacteria and other organisms that may harm both the human body and the beer.
All home brewing materials and equipment should be free from any contaminants. In order to do this, proper cleaning and sanitizing should be observed. Cleaning these materials with ordinary soap may not be the best choice. There are soaps that cannot be easily rinsed off. These may stick to the brewing equipment. When this happens, the finished product will not come out as expected. These residues will interact with the ingredients, used such as sugar and yeast. The fermentation process, which is the most crucial part of brewing, will be disturbed. If the equipment is not completely clean, sanitizing will also be impossible.
The cleanser plays a crucial role in home brewing. Products used should ideally be made specifically for the brewing process. Home cleansers used for washing dishes may be used, but they must not be scented or contain oil. Both oil and soap residues are very harmful to fermented beverages. It can damage the quality and the physical appearance of the product.
There are actually a lot of cleansing products sold on the market today that are formulated especially for brewing equipment. Although these products come from different brands, they have a lot in common. Almost all of them are created without chlorine, phosphates and other toxic substances. These include Powdered Brewery Wash, or 5-Star PBW, OxyClean, and Straight-A Cleaner.
Powdered Brewery Wash is a commonly used cleansing product for commercial breweries. It is an eco-friendly product that has been proven to be very effective. All it takes is for the equipment to be soaked overnight. It will then be ready for sanitizing the following day. It efficiently removes dirt in hard-to-reach areas, even without scrubbing. Even hardened organic deposits can all be washed away. It can be used as it is or paired with other products, such as OxyClean. PBW is pretty hard to find in stores. Home brewers may need to purchase it from online shops.
Compared to Powdered Brewery Wash, OxyClean is more effective. It can completely clean equipment, no matter what material it is made of. Unlike PBW, this product is cheap and easy to find. OxyClean will clean equipment, such as glass carboys, effectively without scrubbing. It can even remove labels and the sticking material used. All it takes is a quick warm rise, and the equipment is then soaked overnight. Users are often amazed when the labels just wash themselves off. It comes in both scented and unscented varieties. It is better to choose the unscented OxyClean, as it has no chlorine added. If OxyClean is not available, then settle for other cheaper brands of oxygen-based cleaning products. All of them have the same level of efficiency, so there is really nothing to worry about if you can’t find OxyClean.
Meanwhile, Straight-A Cleansers are as effective as the other two mentioned. It is also biodegradable and works well with aluminum and copper equipment. This product is a sodium carbonate-based cleanser. Therefore, it is a mild cleaner.
There are actually many alternatives to these products. However, those that are mentioned are recognized and approved by the Food and Drug Administration as cleansers for food-manufacturing facilities. In order for home brewers to master their craft, it is necessary to know the importance of cleaning and sanitation. All that touches the product, from preparation to the brewing process, should be free from any unwanted organisms and particles.