Hard Cider Tip #9: Bottle Sanitizing

In my last tip, I talked bout how critical cleaning and sanitizing were when you are making hard cider. However, I only covered the cleaning part. This tip covers the sanitizing step. Again, I’m focusing on bottles, but the process is the same whether you are cleaning and sanitizing bottles, fermenters, utensils, or any equipment. Lack of cleansing and sanitizing can be the quickest way to making funky (bad funky) hard cider.

As I mentioned before, I’ve successfully used One Step for cleaning and sanitizing. One Step is officially a no rinse cleanser, but it was developed for home fermenters because it has cleansing and sanitizing characteristics. I now use Star San for my sanitizing needs. Unlike One Step, Star San is a high foam sanitizer. That means you want to add it to your water after you have filled your sink or sanitizing container. You add it at the rate of 1 fluid ounce per 5 gallons or ~1.25 teaspoons per gallon. Remember, if you add the Star San before you add the water, get ready to deal with a lot of suds! Like One Step, it is a no rinse product. You make sure to use rubber gloves as it is harsher.

Star San Sanitizer: Hard Cider Equipment and bottle sanitizer.
Star San Sanitizer: Hard Cider Equipment and bottle sanitizer.

In the cleaning post (click here to open), I noted how you could go directly into sanitizing or store the bottles and equipment for later sanitation. I always like to put equipment and bottles away in a clean condition. This makes the sanitation process easier. Again, for sanitizing, I am focusing on bottles as every hard cider I make tends to end up in a bottle and bottles tend to be one of the dirtier items I need to process. However, the concept of cleaning and sanitizing is the same whether it is bottles, fermenters, fittings, or any equipment.

I’ve put together a short video clip walking you through the process for sanitizing bottles and the bottling equipment. I normally do this when I’m ready to bottle my next batch of hard cider. As you will see, I usually process the bottling equipment as the bottles are drying. You might note a couple residual bubbles in the bottles when you go to fill them, but this won’t negatively impact your hard cider. Give the video a watch for the details and let me know if you have specific questions.

Here’s the video for sanitizing hard cider bottles and bottling equipment.

Cleaning Bottles for Hard Cider

Remember, you can find other tips under the tips section or in my book.

If you need some hard cider recipes or ideas for making your own hard cider, check out my recipes sections. As always, thanks for reading.

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