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Thread: Cleaning chemicals

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Youngstown, Ohio, USA

    Cleaning chemicals

    Are PBW and starsan good enough to use in a 2bbl brewhouse? Or should we use sodium hydroxide caustic and phosphoric acid? Is it a cost issue for setups larger than homebrew sized equipment?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Lakewood, CO
    I think non-caustic alkaline cleaners (PBW, Bru-R-Ez, Cell-R-Master, etc.) are fine for small to medium brew equipment, given proper procedure. Even the 15BBL brewery I worked at used only Bru-R-Ez and an Ultra Niter/X-Puma blend to keep their brewhouse and fermentors clean and beer stone free. Correct temperatures and concentrations are the key; an initial hot-water cycle to get the tank hot made sure the chemical stayed in its effective range longer. Also, we would rinse the tank with a high-pressure sprayer to dislodge and wash out any large deposits on the tank walls before starting our CIP cycles. As for sanitizer, Star San is great for dipping or spraying small parts, but it's a headache for CIP due to the foam. Saniclean is much better in this regard, again, with correct concentration and procedures. You could also use a 30% isopropyl solution for surface sanitizing. I've never worked in a brewery that used caustic, and all the tanks I worked on were squeaky clean, with no microbiological issues. YMMV, of course, but caustic scares me, so I don't use it, even though you might save a bit of money with it. It's certainly effective, just not worth the trouble, IMO.
    Last edited by spetrovits; 07-18-2019 at 09:04 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    There is nothing wrong with caustic. Like any other concentrated chemicals, It is corrosive and correct handling is important. The same is true about PBW or starsan.

    I would recommend you find yourself local brewing chemical supplier that can help you if you have any cleaning question.

    Last thing, the cleaning chemicals are not created equal.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Minocqua WI
    Quote Originally Posted by spetrovits View Post
    You could also use a 30% isopropyl solution for surface sanitizing.
    For spray sani, Iso should be used at 70% concentration.

    Sani-Clean, and other acid anionics, is NOT rated for a no rinse sani by many Health Depts. Peroxyacidic Acid is a better choice for many reasons.

    5 star is not a bad choice for a 2bbl brewery but its more expensive. However, chemicals don't go bad so if you have the storage room Id go with a few 30gl drums of caustic and acid from a supplier where you can get a better price. In the great Lakes area I use Ace/brew City in IL and Triton out of MN. or Enerco in MI.

    And if your afraid of a built caustic cleaner, well your not a homebrewer anymore, its time to put your Big-Boy pants on and get over it.

    But if you do want 5star I have 220lbs of PBW and 10gl of Sani clean I could sell you cheep.
    Brewmaster, Minocqua Brewing Company
    "Your results may vary"

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