Quantcast

Sterilizing Primary Fermenter

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

Pulione

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
3
Location
British Columbia - Canada
Need a little help - I am a bit confused on sterilizing the primary fermenter - previously (beer days) I have always totally filled and let stand both the primary and secondary containers for about 24 hours or so before filling.
In reading and reading some more, I finally think I had better ask the question. What I have read is that a gallon of sterilant is all that is required in the bottom of the vessel, as it is the fumes that actually do the sterilizing - (Poptassium Metabisulphite).
Is this correct, if not, please advise.
Thanks for the help.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,344
Reaction score
1,828
Location
Northwest Arkansas
1) We don't really talk in terms of "Sterilizing" container or equipment but rather we speak of Sanitizing. While it's close to the same thing, technically it is not the same, so for reasons of accuracy the better term is "Sanitize."
2) As to how much solution you need - Enough to coat the surfaces being sanitized. The fumes will complete the job but most folks swish around the solution to make sure it has contacted all surfaces. Just be sure to completely drain the remaining solution well before using the container.

Since I use Starsan my process is to put enough solution in so that when I shake the container, the solution(Foam) remains in contact for 1 minute - that complies with the manufacturers recommended use. I drain the solution immediately after shaking and let the foam remain to finish the job. Starsan is a no-rinse product so I don't have to do any rinsing, just verify that the solution is all out before I use the container the next time.

Hope that helps.
 

Pulione

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
3
Location
British Columbia - Canada
1) We don't really talk in terms of "Sterilizing" container or equipment but rather we speak of Sanitizing. While it's close to the same thing, technically it is not the same, so for reasons of accuracy the better term is "Sanitize."
2) As to how much solution you need - Enough to coat the surfaces being sanitized. The fumes will complete the job but most folks swish around the solution to make sure it has contacted all surfaces. Just be sure to completely drain the remaining solution well before using the container.

Since I use Starsan my process is to put enough solution in so that when I shake the container, the solution(Foam) remains in contact for 1 minute - that complies with the manufacturers recommended use. I drain the solution immediately after shaking and let the foam remain to finish the job. Starsan is a no-rinse product so I don't have to do any rinsing, just verify that the solution is all out before I use the container the next time.

Hope that helps.
 

Pulione

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
3
Location
British Columbia - Canada
Now I am confused - I have always "Sanifized" everything that will come into contact with the product, totall flooding the primary and all other containers. Usually let themn stand for 24 + hours. "Sani Brew" (Diversol BX/A) is the product used.
Next - I "Sterilize" before starting the process, again all the components that will come into contact, this is the application of the Potassium Metabisulphite. I have always flooded in this process also.
Scooter, if I read you right, just the Sanitize step is sufficient??
Thanks loads..
 

Johnd

Senior Member
WMT Supporter
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,610
Reaction score
6,498
Location
South Louisiana
Now I am confused - I have always "Sanifized" everything that will come into contact with the product, totall flooding the primary and all other containers. Usually let themn stand for 24 + hours. "Sani Brew" (Diversol BX/A) is the product used.
Next - I "Sterilize" before starting the process, again all the components that will come into contact, this is the application of the Potassium Metabisulphite. I have always flooded in this process also.
Scooter, if I read you right, just the Sanitize step is sufficient??
Thanks loads..
Sanitizing is sufficient, it’s what we do with pot. meta., mixed with water (3TBS/gallon). Whether you coat all surfaces with sulfite or put some in the bottom of the container, seal, and let the fumes do the work, is up to you. Personally, I use a sulfite spray bottle, give the container a spritzing, and close it up til I’m ready to use it, but at least 10/15 minutes before use.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,344
Reaction score
1,828
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Yes you are reading that correctly. Wine's high ABV and acidity better protect the must from bacteria and spoilage than beer. Those with beer making backgrounds can confirm this but essentially a wine normally has an ABV of 10% or greater and should have a pH of 3.6 or lower. That combination along with the K-Meta Treatments provide protection from spoilage during fermentation and aging.

The line between Sanitization and Sterilzation if fine but it's much more difficult to maintain a truly sterile environment in terms of equipment and vessels. (Thankfully we don't need to cross from the former into the latter for wine making.)

The following introduces a third category that I've never heard discussed to any degree on this forum - that is disinfecting. I've also seen (somewhere) the numerical difference between a sanitized surface and a sterile surface but I believe that this word discription is sufficient clarify the answers for you:

  • Sanitizing: The sanitization process decreases the number of microbes on a surface, thereby reducing the number of pathogenic microbes present. Sanitizers are the weakest of the antimicrobials.
  • Disinfecting: Disinfection reduces the number of microbes to a point beyond the level of sanitizing so that the number of pathogenic microbes is so low, it is extremely unlikely to harbor harmful microbes. Disinfection is the both effective and relatively safe to the people performing the task.
  • Sterilizing: Sterilization is reserved for the most dangerous microbes such as Anthrax or for surgical equipment. Sterilizers kill all microbes on a treated area. Because sterilizers are so strong, they are also dangerous to use and typically are reserved in controlled lab purposes or rare circumstances.
 

Pulione

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
3
Location
British Columbia - Canada
Sounds simple enough - sorry for the dumb questions, this is my first go around on the wine path, I think it is best that I forget the past and beer saga, two different procedures.
I learned the hard way on beer that if you don't spend the time in the sinks, your wasting more than time.
Thanks loads.
 

Pulione

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
3
Location
British Columbia - Canada
Yes you are reading that correctly. Wine's high ABV and acidity better protect the must from bacteria and spoilage than beer. Those with beer making backgrounds can confirm this but essentially a wine normally has an ABV of 10% or greater and should have a pH of 3.6 or lower. That combination along with the K-Meta Treatments provide protection from spoilage during fermentation and aging.

The line between Sanitization and Sterilzation if fine but it's much more difficult to maintain a truly sterile environment in terms of equipment and vessels. (Thankfully we don't need to cross from the former into the latter for wine making.)

The following introduces a third category that I've never heard discussed to any degree on this forum - that is disinfecting. I've also seen (somewhere) the numerical difference between a sanitized surface and a sterile surface but I believe that this word discription is sufficient clarify the answers for you:

  • Sanitizing: The sanitization process decreases the number of microbes on a surface, thereby reducing the number of pathogenic microbes present. Sanitizers are the weakest of the antimicrobials.
  • Disinfecting: Disinfection reduces the number of microbes to a point beyond the level of sanitizing so that the number of pathogenic microbes is so low, it is extremely unlikely to harbor harmful microbes. Disinfection is the both effective and relatively safe to the people performing the task.
  • Sterilizing: Sterilization is reserved for the most dangerous microbes such as Anthrax or for surgical equipment. Sterilizers kill all microbes on a treated area. Because sterilizers are so strong, they are also dangerous to use and typically are reserved in controlled lab purposes or rare circumstances.
 

Pulione

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
3
Location
British Columbia - Canada
I am going to throw a curve to all - our background is the engineering and usage of Ozone for water purification. Years ago, we installed a Ozonated Water system for a local winery - (still in use) producing water in the range of 2 - 3 mgs/ltr. This was to be used for sterilization of all equipment, plus their oak barrels and primary water supply. They also hosed down the winery production area daily.
I am thinking that it may be time to downsize that application for home use.
I will keep you posted.
Thanks to all.
 

balatonwine

The Verecund Vigneron
Joined
May 9, 2017
Messages
975
Reaction score
671
Location
Badacsony wine region. Hungary
I am going to throw a curve to all - our background is the engineering and usage of Ozone for water purification. Years ago, we installed a Ozonated Water system for a local winery - (still in use) producing water in the range of 2 - 3 mgs/ltr. This was to be used for sterilization of all equipment, plus their oak barrels and primary water supply.
And once they dumped in the grapes, which have spent half a year exposed to, and swilling amongst, bacteria, fungus, and viruses in the field and real world, it was all undone. :)

Sanitizing is enough. All else beyond that is okay in that it won't cause any damage except to the the wallet. So probably a waste of money. Unless one is making a "technical" (cough) boring and consistent (cough) wine. Or focusing PR and marketing for a certain "segment" of the wine buying public who thinks that wine making need super-sanitization. And that may actually be lucrative of course (even if a bit misleading). ;)
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,344
Reaction score
1,828
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Agree Balatonwine. Sterilizing the must is not desireable - the K-meta treatement reduces bacteria and wild yeast activity so that the desired yeast can create enough Alcohol to prevent 'infection' and spoilage along with the acidity of the wine.

Ozone treated water sound fine but I question how cost effective it is on equipment for the home wine maker. I priced the units out there for home use and they seem to start around $400.00 and go up. Don't know about supplies but I do understand that the treated water has a very short effective time since ozone is so unstable. Think for my purposes I'll stick to Starsan for the hardware and K-meta/Campden tabs for the must/wine.
 

Pulione

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
3
Location
British Columbia - Canada
Agree Balatonwine. Sterilizing the must is not desireable - the K-meta treatement reduces bacteria and wild yeast activity so that the desired yeast can create enough Alcohol to prevent 'infection' and spoilage along with the acidity of the wine.

Ozone treated water sound fine but I question how cost effective it is on equipment for the home wine maker. I priced the units out there for home use and they seem to start around $400.00 and go up. Don't know about supplies but I do understand that the treated water has a very short effective time since ozone is so unstable. Think for my purposes I'll stick to Starsan for the hardware and K-meta/Campden tabs for the must/wine.
 

Pulione

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
3
Location
British Columbia - Canada
Scooter you are right - Ozonated Water has a half life of about 30 minutes, it's effective kill rate compared to Chlorine is better than plus 10 - initial costs of systems have come down in the past few years - those wanting to avoid chemicals are the drivers of the industry. I will do a check on small systems and see what is available.
I want to thank you all for the help you have been, I have a fear of making a mistake on the initial steps in the wine making process. Hopefully by more reading - heading the advice given, all will be well.
Thanks again
 

Donatelo

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Messages
335
Reaction score
100
Location
Ada, Oklahoma
First off let me say that sanitizing with a good sanitizer has been sufficient or me in the past. My father used hot tap water and Dawn soap , then rinsed very well. He apparently never had any problems, bottled everything up in a whiskey bottle. Whatever he could find. He once gave me a bottle of wild plum wine in a quart canning bottle. Tasted pretty good.
Follow the manufacturers directions and I'm certain you won't go wrong. My grandmother always said "Do your best and don't worry. Ain't nobody has to die yet"
 

Pulione

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
3
Location
British Columbia - Canada
Donatelo - loved your post - I guess I am a little paranoid about cleanliness in the process - had one bad experience with beer, total waste. I think in looking back I went from one extreme to the other.
My grandmother made Dandelion wine in the kitchen at the farm, nothing but soap and boiling water and cheesecloth and a crock. They all lived to ripe old ages - I was too young to partake.
Take care.
 

Scooter68

Fruit "Wine" Maker
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
3,344
Reaction score
1,828
Location
Northwest Arkansas
Think the key for us now days is starting out without contaminated vessels or equipment, then, with wine at least, getting that wine to something over 10% ABV and proper pH. Once you achieve that you shouldn't have anything to worry about unless you get some chemical issues or stress your yeast.
 

Pulione

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
3
Location
British Columbia - Canada
Think the key for us now days is starting out without contaminated vessels or equipment, then, with wine at least, getting that wine to something over 10% ABV and proper pH. Once you achieve that you shouldn't have anything to worry about unless you get some chemical issues or stress your yeast.
Think the key for us now days is starting out without contaminated vessels or equipment, then, with wine at least, getting that wine to something over 10% ABV and proper pH. Once you achieve that you shouldn't have anything to worry about unless you get some chemical issues or stress your yeast.
Think the key for us now days is starting out without contaminated vessels or equipment, then, with wine at least, getting that wine to something over 10% ABV and proper pH. Once you achieve that you shouldn't have anything to worry about unless you get some chemical issues or stress your yeast.
 

Pulione

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
3
Location
British Columbia - Canada
In just put the primary fermenter and all of the toys in a full flood sanitizer. I will leave it for a couple of days just to be sure it's clean. I know for sure that the family Vinter hadn't used it for at least 3 years, but it was all stored in the original cartons and clean to the eye..
I should have a initial SG later on in the week, if you don't mind, I will post it for your comments.
Have a good night, thanks loads.
 

Pulione

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2018
Messages
70
Reaction score
3
Location
British Columbia - Canada
In just put the primary fermenter and all of the toys in a full flood sanitizer. I will leave it for a couple of days just to be sure it's clean. I know for sure that the family Vinter hadn't used it for at least 3 years, but it was all stored in the original cartons and clean to the eye..
I should have a initial SG later on in the week, if you don't mind, I will post it for your comments.
Have a good night, thanks loads.
I have a question, left over from the beer making days are 2 bags of
LD Carlson - Red Dady yeast - Can this be used in place of the kit yeast, or should it just be discarded.
A active yeast when making beer -
Thanks loads.
 

Venatorscribe

bucket chemist
Joined
Oct 1, 2016
Messages
271
Reaction score
227
I like to sanitize with iodophor. Just my preference. Minimum contact time on surfaces is around two minutes. You can get versions of iodophor with the StarSan product line
 

Latest posts

Top