Category Archives: Supplies

Carboy Cleaning Dilemma

So I committed the cardinal sin of brewing (apart from not sanitizing properly to begin with). I didn’t clean up properly after myself, and now I’m paying the price.

One of our plastic buckets wasn’t sealing right anymore on our last batch. On an evening brew after the shops were closed, we ended up in a bind with nowhere for half our 10 gallon batch to go. We decided to do our primary fermentation in a carboy we had handy. Tons of people do it, even friends we’ve brewed with. It can’t be a bad idea, right

Well, when I moved to the secondary, I neglected to clean the carboy immediately. Those of you who have brewed before probably know what happened from there. I got me a ring o’ yeast I couldn’t get rid of.

My lovely wife purchased a carboy jet washer, and although it did a great job on the bottom two thirds of the carboy, it didn’t have quite the right angle to up at the top where the worst smears were. With another batch in primary needing a move soon, I needed that carboy back. But even after soaking for days and applying the jet, I couldn’t get it all out.

Come that thar intrawebs to the rescue. I found lots of references to similar tools to my jet, lots of notes to clean things promptly (yeah, I know now), and then I stumbled onto this reference to “super clean carboys”.

The gist is to put a quarter cup of rice, a couple tablespoons of baking soda in, and then add just enough water to slosh around. This agitating mixture has enough grit to get even that stubborn yeast off.

Bingo! With a few minutes worth of elbow grease, the carboy was clean as a whistle. Don’t know quite what I would have done if I hadn’t found that.

So here’s a shout out to the Cross Street Irregulars Brew Club. You saved my brew!

Main Street Homebrew

When delving into the mysterious world of brewing, contradictory information is the norm. The newbie needs a guide, to point out the right direction, reveal the pitfalls and simply calm the nerves.

For us, that position is amply filled by Main Street Homebrew. Not only does the shop provide the specific supplies and kits that are such a boon to new homebrewers these days (I can’t imagine brewing back before homebrew shopes were common!), it’s a source of excellent advice. When we purchased the goods to make our first batch, Kevin, Main Street’s owner, walked us through each step of the instructions. Although I’d already read a book on the subject, having that personal direction was great.

If you’re in the Portland metro area, I highly recommend Main Street Homebrew. Even if you’re not, you’ll find a wealth of good, reliable information on their website. Check out the Information page for a start–I found the bottling article to be particularly useful.