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Carboy Clean vs. Sanitize - multi-transfers

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drunton

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I have a bunch of racking to do this weekend. One batch to bottle, which will free a carboy and then I'll shuffle around 2 others that are bulk aging.

I'm not looking to be lazy, but wonder what others think if I am doing something like this:
  1. Move carboy A contents to carboy B then to bottles
  2. Move carboy C to carboy A
  3. Move carboy D to carboy C
When you empty a carboy before refilling (within an hour or so), do you just rinse and sanitize or do you clean each time with one-step/PBW (assuming the carboy looks clean and doesn't have any buildup)?

Thanks for the input!
 

cmason1957

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I always try to give it a good cleaning when I am doing what you are doing. There is gunk and stuff you just can't see that will only be removed by some elbow grease or at least electric drill grease. So I go with Oxyclean Free, then a spritz of k-meta, close up for a bit, dump, use.
 

Scooter68

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They are hard to find but get some really long handled brushes. You need to do a good cleaning before re-using. Especially when you are talking about different wine varieties at different stages.

cmason is right, unless you let it dry, you'll never see a lot of the left behind stuff lurks in that carboy. I don't use a drill attachment but I have brushes and I also use industrial strength paper towels that I can use with old aluminum arrow shafts to get at any spots. RINSE WELL and I finish with a good shaking up with star-san in the carboy. Unless I see a lot of startsan foam, it's not done.
 

cmason1957

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For what it's worth, this was recommended by this guy you might have heard of named Daniel Pambianchi. So I bought one, it does a wonderful job getting rid of the gunk you can't see. Don't use it on plastic, is the only caveat. I have used the other drill carboy cleaner, I like this one better, easier to get into and out of the bung hole.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N6YR235/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 
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Stressbaby

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Here's my answer: if the carboy was used simply for a transfer, such as carboy B in your example above, I rinse and sanitize. Any other situation, I clean it, even if I don't see anything in it.

Carboys can get something known as a "biofilm" which is an invisible film of junk (bacteria, proteins, fungus) which needs to be removed. If you have ever had a pool or a hot tub, you have probably encountered biofilm - when you run your hand over the underwater surface and it slick or slippery, that is the biofilm.

I have brushes and use them sometimes, but I worry about the metal tips scratching up the inside and creating nice nooks and crannies for bacteria. My method relies on strips of old bath towels. I have 3' strips 2" wide which I drop into the carboy with some cleanser. Then I rotate the carboy so the fabric covers across all of the surfaces repeatedly, then fish it out, rinse, and sanitize. YMMV.
 

mainshipfred

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I have a bunch of racking to do this weekend. One batch to bottle, which will free a carboy and then I'll shuffle around 2 others that are bulk aging.

I'm not looking to be lazy, but wonder what others think if I am doing something like this:
  1. Move carboy A contents to carboy B then to bottles
  2. Move carboy C to carboy A
  3. Move carboy D to carboy C
When you empty a carboy before refilling (within an hour or so), do you just rinse and sanitize or do you clean each time with one-step/PBW (assuming the carboy looks clean and doesn't have any buildup)?

Thanks for the input!
Unless there are hints of VA in the wine I do as you mentioned. Just rinse well a few times to get rid of the lees and put the new wine right in. Recently when racking for the second or third time and there is not a lot of sediment I just do a rack and return since carboy volumes vary. FWIW I connected a hose bib to my water heater and when I rinse it's with high pressure hot water.
 
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