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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * March 30, 2004 * Conserving PBW < Previous Next >

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John McGrann (66.216.135.69)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 02:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does anyone have any tips for conserving PBW? I kegged the other night, and as I was scooping out the PBW to mix 6.5 gallons to soak in my carboy, I thought about how much of this stuff I go through. Between all my cleaning sessions, I go through it pretty fast. The stuff I just put into my carboy I'll try to reuse a bit, but next batch I'll mix another 6.5 gallons, along with whatever I have to mix up in the meantime. Before I know it, my 1 lb. tub will be empty again. I realize I can buy larger quantities, but my question is more about whether I'm squandering the stuff, or if anyone has tips on using less.
 

Paul Edwards (199.46.199.232)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 02:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have 8 cornies. I wait until they're all dirty, then clean them in one session, using 5 gallons of PBW solution and 5 gallons of StarSan.

When I clean my 6.5 gallon carboys, I only fill thm 1/2 way with PBW solution, soak for a while then cap & invert them into at Carboy Holder in the sink, then soak som more. Some of the first 6.5 gallon carboys I got came with screw-on plastic caps.

The 5 gallon secondary carboys rarely need more than a rinse.

A friend of mine rigged up a system with a pump and a spray-ball to rinse and sanitize his carboys. He uses less than a gallon of PBW solution, but he had to spend $$$ on a pump and plumbing fittings as well as dedicate space to store the gizmo. But it works well.
 

Vance Barnes (69.15.38.210)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 04:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I do like Paul and try to do several corny's at at time. Even then I like to add a tad more to each new corny. I figure when it stops fizzing it's pretty much pooped out. I use Oxy Clean instead of PBW which I think is a little less expensive? I know it's not quite as strong as PBW.
 

Jeff Preston (142.161.178.91)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 04:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A pail of PBW lasted me about 3 years but it's getting empty. Can't find a local source for it. Any leads out there? I'd like to buy a 50 lb. pail.
 

chumley (65.102.120.129)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 05:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I do like Paul. In fact, I have a 6 corney cleaning session scheduled for the weekend. I do it in my driveway.

Here's what I do. Any comments to improve the process or correct it are appreciated.

1. Heat up water filling my 7.5 gallon brew kettle to 180°F or so (whatever the hot ned of the PBW range is, I can't remember), add prescibed amount of PBW to soak for 20 min. Meanwhile, heat up water in 5 gallon brew kettle (the decoction kettle).

2. Siphon the PBW solution into the 1st corney. Add hot water to brew kettle.

3. After 15-20 min, attach jumper cable from keg #1 to keg #2. Attach CO2 tank to keg# 1. Force PBW solution to Keg# 2. Open Keg#1, dump in the hot water.

4. After 15-20 min, repeat step 3 with kegs #2 and #3. Then, use jumper cables to transfer hot water from #1 to #2.

5. Mix up star san or iodopohor solution in Keg #1. By this time you get the picture, I'm running 3 solutions (PBW, hot water rinse, star san) from keg to keg constantly until Keg#6 (the last keg). I generally then run keg#6 through my cobra taps in order to clean them.

I figure this way the poppets, connectors, and such get a good enough washing/rinsing/sanitizing cycle that I don't have to take them apart to clean them (I am lazy). The only weak part that I see in the process are the gas-in connectors - I hope they are staying clean on their own since they never get any beer through them (I always try to under fill the kegs a bit), but sloshing and stuff might not make that true. Some day when I am bored I will probably have to take them apart and soak, but I have heard too many horror stories of mixing up kegs and parts that I don't really want to go there. :)
 

Paul Edwards (199.46.199.230)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 05:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley

I was talking to a rep from StartSan once a few years ago at my LHBS.

He talked about "shadows" inside of things when forcing cleaning solutions thru them. Convinced me to take things apart regularly.

I disassemble my cornies, but have little plastic buckets (labelled) of PBW and StarSan to put the parts in, and keep track of which keg they go back onto.
 

Steve Jones (164.89.253.4)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 06:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I built a corny/carboy washer with an old discarded dishwasher pump, a few 2x4s, a 5 gallon bucket, and a handfull of brass fittings. The bucket is mounted on top of the 2x4 stand (pump mounted below) and has two holes in the bottom center in which I've placed two barbed fittings. Both have the barb on the outside, and one has a 16" long copper tube inside the bucket (supply), while the other is just open on the inside (drain). I connect the drain side to the pump inlet, and the supply side to the pump outlet.

I mix up a gallon or two of solution (cleaner, water, or sanitizer) in the bucket, invert a carboy over the supply tubing, and switch on the pump. This squirts the solution up against the bottom of the inverted carboy, and cascades down the sides of the carboy, draining into the bucket and back to the pump.

For cornies, I'll remove the long supply tube from the fitting on the inside of the bucket and replace it with a short hose with a liquid QD on it. I connect this to the corny liquid out line, and put a gas QD on the corny. Then I invert the corny into the bucket. This sprays the solution up thru the out tube down the sides, and out thru the gas tube back into the bucket.

My total investment was a couple of 2x4s and $5 worth of plumbing fittings. I can clean any number of carboys/cornies with just a few gallons of PBW.

Steve
 

chumley (65.102.120.129)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 06:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hmmm...you raise a good point, Paul. Especially concerning the poppets. I have enough 5 gallon buckets around where I can place them next to each keg as the process moves on, and keep track of the soaking parts that way.

But what about the pin-lock and ball-lock connectors? Do you dis-assemble them? It still seems to me that the best way to clean them is with cleaning solution forced through them.

This discussion is timely.
 

Denny Conn (140.211.82.4)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 07:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I disassemble, posts, poppets, everything on the cornies. Fill the corny with hot Oxiclean and put all the parts in the keg to soak.
 

Paul Edwards (199.46.200.230)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 07:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley,

I use 5 qt plastic buckets I buy a Lowe's on the paint supplies aisle. They hold a lid, lid o-ring, connectors, gas-in tube, and poppets with about 1-2 qts of PBW or StarSan solution.

All my cornies are ball-lock, so I just use a box wrench or deep socket to take the connectors off. Then I just press out the poppets.

The liquid-out dip tube gets removed, and I flush it out with hot water, then put it back into the keg, fill the keg with PBW and let it sit. The keg gets rinsed with hot water thru a garden hose with spray nozzle. Then I take the parts out of the small bucket of PBW, rinse and let them sit in the Star San for a few minutes.

After soaking, I empty the keg into a 6-gallon bucket, rinse with hot water. The first keg gets filled with StarSan, and the parts get reaassembled. I use CO2 to force the StarSan from the first keg into the next one. I use a large funnel to pour the PBW solution from the holding bucket into the next keg.

Not that there's anything wrong with the way you're doing it. If you've had good results, like they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it

This is just the way I've done it for the last several years. By doing sort of an assembly line procedure, I've not mixed up the parts from one keg to the next.

Stev's done basically what my friend did, except Steve was able to scrounge a dishwasher pump. I don't have much room in my basement (there's also a "bike shop" down there - we have 12 bicycles). So I brute force things in the laundry room
 

Tom Gardner (162.119.240.100)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 07:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I do what Chumley does. Except I add a little extra water to the receiving keg. Then I open the pressure relief valve in the lid. When the PBW squirts through this I let it continue for a few seconds. Then I close the relief valve and open the gas-in poppet and let that squirt for a few seconds. When I close that I have the gas-in post and relief valve full of PBW. Let sit, rinse, and repeat with StarSan. I take them apart once in a while. I don't use the keg full of hot water, I just rinse with a hose in the slop sink.
 

Kevin McDonough (204.38.58.210)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 09:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Last time I bought a 50# bucket of PBW was from morebeer.com (1.5 years ago). Paid $98 or so with free shipping. Can't beat that.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.129.137)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 09:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

B3 doesn't list PBW in 50 lb. buckets on their web site, but they can order it for you, or you can try ordering it direct from Five Star. I believe there is a $15 "environmental fee" assessed by UPS because it's considered a chemical.
 

Denny Conn (140.211.82.4)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 09:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Use Oxiclean, save money.
 

chumley (65.102.120.129)
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 11:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I like Tom's suggestion. Thanks everyone. Someday I will take everything apart for a good cleaning, but being extremely lazy, I think I'll try it Tom's method to clean the gas-in poppet and relief valve, which I hadn't considered.
 

Kevin LaDue (24.20.244.254)
Posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 03:01 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Use Washing soda (sodium cabonate) instead of PBW
Oxiclean (sodium percarbonate)instead of One step
Or generic dishwasher powder (sodium carbonate, tsp, sodium silicate, calcium hypochlorite, and enzymes)
Cheaper and more available alternatives.

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