Equipment Glossary Acknowledgements

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Section 1
Brewing Your First Beer With Malt Extract
1 A Crash Course in Brewing
2 Brewing Preparations
3 Malt Extract and Beer Kits
4 Water for Extract Brewing
5 Hops
6 Yeast
7 Boiling and Cooling
8 Fermentation
9 Fermenting Your First Beer
10 What is Different for Brewing Lager Beer?
11 Priming and Bottling
Section 2
Brewing Your First Extract and Specialty Grain Beer
Section 3
Brewing Your First All-Grain Beer
Section 4
Formulating Recipes and Solutions


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Chapter 2 - Brewing Preparations

2.2 Sanitation

Cleanliness is the foremost concern of the brewer. Providing good growing conditions for the yeast in the beer also provides good growing conditions for other micro-organisms, especially wild yeast and bacteria. Cleanliness must be maintained throughout every stage of the brewing process.

Figure 17: The yeast cells are the round things, the worms are bacteria. 3000X

The definition and objective of sanitization is to reduce bacteria and contaminants to insignificant or manageable levels. The terms clean, sanitize and sterilize are often used interchangeably, but should not be. Items may be clean but not sanitized or vice versa. Here are the definitions:

  • Clean - To be free from dirt, stain, or foreign matter.
  • Sanitize - To kill/reduce spoiling microorganisms to negligible levels.
  • Sterilize - To eliminate all forms of life, especially microorganisms, either by chemical or physical means.

Cleaning is the process of removing all the dirt and grime from a surface, thereby removing all the sites that can harbor bacteria. Cleaning is usually done with a detergent and elbow grease. None of the sanitizing agents used by homebrewers are capable of eliminating all bacterial spores and viruses. The majority of chemical agents homebrewers use will clean and sanitize but not sterilize. However, sterilization is not necessary. Instead of worrying about sterilization, homebrewers can be satisfied if they consistently reduce these contaminants to negligible levels.

All sanitizers are meant to be used on clean surfaces. A sanitizer's ability to kill microorganisms is reduced by the presence of dirt, grime or organic material. Organic deposits can harbor bacteria and shield the surface from being reached by the sanitizer. So it is up to you to make sure the surface of the item to be sanitized is as clean as possible.

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Brewing Preparations
The Road to Good Brewing
Cleaning Products
Cleaning Your Equipment
Sanitizing Your Equipment
Record Keeping
Real Beer Page

Buy the print edition
Appendix A - Using Hydrometers
Appendix B - Brewing Metallurgy
Appendix C - Chillers
Appendix D - Building a Mash/Lauter Tun
Appendix E - Metric Conversions
Appendix F - Recommended Reading

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All material copyright 1999, John Palmer