Why sanitize at all?
Sanitizing properly is the difference between average homebrew and friends lining up for a refill. And another.
Throughout the brewing process there are many opportunities for contaminants like wild yeast and bacteria to come to the party.
These will create mild off-flavors at best and ruin your beer (and brewing reputation!) at worst.
If you’ve cleaned your gear properly, sanitizing is easy.
Sanitizing is a level beyond cleaning. In the cleaning chapter we looked at cleaning your brewing gear so it is free from gunk, dirt, etc.
Our goal here is to sanitize our brewing area and equipment so that microbial contaminants are reduced to a level that will not impact on beer quality.
This is not sterilization, which is completely destroying all microbes and not realistic in the home.
What to sanitize with?
Luckily there are some great ‘no rinse’ products on the market. These are solutions that when mixed at the correct ratios, don’t need to be washed off before brewing.
I suggest using a pump style spray bottle. This is the most convenient solution I’ve found and helps blast out hard to get spots like thread and tubing.
The product I suggest is StarSan, which is used in commercial breweries and available to homebrewers.
It has a short contact time (30 seconds), non-staining and easy to use. StarSan used with PBW is a fail-safe combination.
How to use a no-rinse sanitizer
Don your gloves and mix at the correct ratio (1.5 ml per Qt/L). Pump up your bottle and spray your clean bench, sink, gloves and equipment liberally.
If anything comes in contact with your wort, it must be sanitized. Be thorough and liberal with your spraying.
Put your cleaned and sanitized fermenter together and seal, ready for brewing.
Sanitize a clean plate with StarSan. Use this as a safe resting place for your bits and pieces.
Leave your gear to drain for a few minutes while preparing your yeast.
Be sure to mix at the correct ratio. No-rinse sanitizers work best at the suggested rates – more is not better.
Homebrewing With Kits—The Beginner’s Guide
To help you master homebrewing with kits, I’ve put together a guide based on my experiences over the last two decades.
This is the information I wish I had when I started brewing. I hope it helps you make awesome homebrew.