Preparation and Sanitation

Before you start the process of actually brewing beer at home, there are a few very important steps that need to be completed. These are some of the most important parts of the process because if your equipment is not clean and sanitized it can introduce infection into your beer. This has the potential to introduce nasty flavors or even make your final beer undrinkable.

Thankfully the process to clean and sanitize your equipment is actually fairly simple.

  1. Clean all equipment that you will use to make beer.
  2. Sanitize anything that will come in contact with the wort after it has finished boiling.

Cleaning your equipment

Cleaning your homebrewing equipment doesn’t need to be hard work. Although there are a range of products that have been created specifically for the task of cleaning brewing equipment, any kitchen cleaning product will do.
Because we will be sanitizing the equipment anyway, the goal of this step is really to remove all external matter from your gear. The important things to note though are that care should be taken to not scratch or mark the plastic or glass fermentation chamber (which may lead to infection) and that all cleaning chemicals will need to be completely rinsed off.

Sanitizing your equipment

The goal of sanitizing your homebrew equipment is to remove anything that may lead to future infection of your beer.  Thankfully, this is also fairly straightforward. There are a range of products on the market that will achieve this however I would strongly recommend using a no-rinse sanitizer. The advantage with this sort of a chemical sanitizer is that you are able to save time as the product breaks down to its non-harmful components on use. These normally only need about 30 seconds to sanitize your equipment and handling the chemicals are actually safer than bleach (one of your other options).
Whatever dedicated brewing sanitizer you have decided to use will have instructions on dilution ratio and how to apply it… you will just need to follow these. The important things to note here are that anything that will come in contact with your wort after the boil (explained below) should be sanitized.

I do have a friend that boasts that he has never sanitized his brewing equipment and has never had a bad batch. I am yet to taste his end product though so I can’t yet comment.

What I do know is that if you are already cleaning, or even if you are not, it doesn’t take much extra time to protect the success of your hard work.  Once these relatively simple steps are complete, you are ready to start brewing beer at home