Review: The Ultimate Guide to PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash) for Cleaning Homebrew Equipment

Sunday, November 19, 2023

For anyone deeply invested in the world of homebrewing, the quest for immaculate equipment is never-ending. Enter PBW, or Powdered Brewery Wash, a cleaning product by Five Star that has rapidly become the staple for both commercial and home brewers alike. With its roots tracing back to the renowned Coors brewery, PBW has successfully established itself as an indispensable tool in every brewer's arsenal.

The Legacy of PBW: More Than Just a Cleaner


PBW's reputation precedes itself. This cleaning agent is celebrated not just for its efficacy but also for the trust it has garnered among North American homebrewing communities. If you're new to brewing and ask for cleaning recommendations, you'll inevitably stumble upon enthusiastic endorsements for PBW. Skeptical? Just a cursory glance through beer brewing forums will offer testimonies from seasoned brewers singing its praises.

PBW powdered brewery wash for cleaning brewin equipment

Why PBW Shines as a cleaner of beer brewing gear


Stubborn Residue No More: Those who've brewed know the challenge of cleaning the bottom of a 5-gallon stainless steel boil pot. With PBW, those crusty remnants are effortlessly dissolved.


Eco-Friendly: PBW's environmentally conscious formula is biodegradable and septic system-friendly.


Versatile Applications: Beyond brewing equipment, PBW shines in cleaning dishwashers, stainless steel utensils, and even in neutralizing odors from organic substances.


Safety First: Unlike other chemical agents such as sodium hydroxide, PBW doesn't pose a threat to the skin or emit a strong, undesirable odor.


Label Remover: Struggling with sticky beer bottle labels? A soak in PBW ensures they slide right off.

Beyond Brewing: The Unexpected Uses of PBW


It's not just brewing equipment that can benefit from PBW's cleaning prowess:

Beer Bottles: Let's face it, cleaning dried sediment from the bottom of beer bottles is tedious. Why bother with a bottle brush when PBW can do the job?

Fermenter drums : Even if you've neglected your fermenter for weeks, a soak in PBW will bring it back to its pristine condition. And the best part? No scrubbing required.

The PBW User Manual: How to get the best cleaning results


Using PBW is straightforward:
  • Soak your brewing equipment overnight for optimal results.
  • Depending on the equipment, use 1-2 ounces of PBW per gallon.
  • Rinse the next day, and you're all set for another brewing session.

Cleaning vs. Sanitizing: The Essential Distinction


It's crucial to understand that while PBW excels at cleaning, it doesn't equate to sanitization. Post-cleaning, it's imperative to sterilize the equipment to eliminate any lingering microbes. Many brewers swear by Star San, another product from Five Star, as their go-to sanitizer.

To be frank though, after using a PBW product, this brewer doesn't bother sanitizing the gear if it is being used straight away. 

Decoding PBW: The Ingredients that Make it Work

At its core, PBW is powered by Sodium Metasilicate, which constitutes about 30% of its formulation. This ingredient is the powerhouse that tackles grease and brewing residue head-on. Additionally, sodium percarbonate plays a pivotal role. Fun fact: sodium percarbonate is a primary component in many household laundry soakers...

DIY PBW: Crafting Your Own Cleaner


For those looking to replicate the cleaning efficiency of PBW at home, combining TSP/90 (commonly known as Red Devil) with Oxiclean can yield similar results. However, it's essential to note that while percarbonate is more of a sanitizer, metasilicate serves as the cleaner.

In Conclusion about the benefits of using PBW on beer equipment to clean


PBW has carved a niche for itself in the brewing world, and rightfully so. Its cleaning efficiency, coupled with its safety and versatility, makes it an invaluable asset for brewers. Whether you're a novice or a seasoned brewer, integrating PBW into your cleaning routine can significantly elevate your brewing experience.
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