Showing posts with label PBW. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PBW. Show all posts

Handy Guide to PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash) for Cleaning Homebrew Beer Gear

Sunday, April 28, 2024

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.

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. 


Aren't we all?

• Effective Cleaner: Excellently removes organic residues such as proteins and lipids.• Requires Thorough Rinsing: Must be completely rinsed off to avoid residue.
• Versatile: Safe for use on all materials including stainless steel, glass, plastic, and ceramics.• Not a Sanitizer: Cleans effectively but does not have sanitizing properties.
• Environmentally Friendly: Biodegradable and non-hazardous under typical use conditions.• Optimal Performance Requires Hot Water: More effective with warm to hot water, increasing energy use.
• Non-Corrosive Formula: Safe on metals and materials used in brewing equipment.• Cost: Generally more expensive than traditional cleaners, which might affect budget considerations for home or professional brewers.
PBW powdered brewery wash for cleaning brewin equipment

Why PBW Shines as a cleaner of beer brewing gear

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:

Step 1: PreparationMeasure the correct amount of PBW for your equipment. Use 1-2 ounces of PBW per gallon of water, depending on the level of soiling.
Step 2: SoakingSoak your brewing equipment in the solution overnight. This extended soak time allows PBW to thoroughly break down and remove organic residues.
Step 3: RinsingRinse your equipment thoroughly the next day to remove any residues of PBW. Ensure all surfaces are completely clean to avoid any contamination in your next brewing session.
Step 4: Post-CleaningOnce rinsed, your equipment is ready for another brewing session. Inspect for any remaining residues and ensure equipment is dry before storing or using.

sodium percarbonate beer equipment wash powder

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... so if you don't want to splash cash, just grab some from your laundry. It says on the ingredients list if the product contains sodium percarbonate. 

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.

PBW has carved a hand 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.

Alkaline Brewery Wash vs. Powdered Brewery Wash - wish is the better buy?

Thursday, November 2, 2023
When it comes to the intricacies of brewing hygiene, the choice of cleaning agent is as crucial as the recipe for the brew itself. Brewers face the decision of selecting between Alkaline Brewery Wash (ABW) and Powdered Brewery Wash (PBW)

This article will dissect these two options to present a comprehensive analysis, which can serve as a guide for brewers in making an informed selection.

Chemical Composition and Cleaning Efficacy

Alkaline Brewery Wash (ABW)

ABW is designed as a non-caustic blend that capitalizes on the efficacy of alkaline substances to dissolve organic residues commonly found in brewing equipment. Its composition is primarily aimed at addressing the proteins and fatty acids that accrue from the brewing process.

An important attribute of ABW is its ability to perform under a wide temperature range, retaining its cleaning potency even in cooler water. This can be particularly advantageous, as it allows for energy conservation without compromising the quality of cleaning.

ABV or PBW - a comparison to what is best

Powdered Brewery Wash (PBW)

Conversely, PBW is a concoction of several chemicals, including sodium metasilicate, a strong alkaline agent, and various chelating agents. These chelating agents are adept at binding with metal ions, which are often present in water and can contribute to scale and film on brewing equipment. PBW's formulation is such that it excels in the presence of heat, cutting through stubborn residue swiftly. Yet, this necessitates the use of hotter water, which has implications for energy consumption and costs.

Cost-Effectiveness and Usage Concentrations

Cost Considerations

The economic aspect of ABW and PBW cannot be understated. For many, ABW's lower cost is a clear advantage, particularly appealing to hobbyists or small-scale brewers for whom budget is a primary concern. In addition to its affordability, ABW's effectiveness in lower temperatures can lead to considerable utility savings, thereby enhancing its appeal as a cost-effective solution in the long run.

Usage Efficiency

PBW's higher efficiency at lower concentrations could potentially balance out its higher price point. It’s concentrated nature implies that less product is required per cleaning session, which may result in lower long-term costs despite the higher initial investment. Therefore, when considering cost-effectiveness, one must look beyond the price per unit and evaluate the overall expenditure involved in maintaining clean equipment over time.

Environmental Impact and Safety

Ecological Considerations

In today's eco-conscious world, the environmental footprint of a cleaning agent is paramount. ABW's non-caustic formula is often highlighted for its lesser environmental burden. It degrades more readily and poses fewer risks to waterways post-disposal. However, responsible disposal practices are vital for both ABW and PBW to mitigate any environmental risks.

User Safety

The safety profile of ABW is relatively favorable due to its non-caustic nature, reducing the risk of harm to the user through chemical burns or toxic fumes. PBW, while also considered safe with proper use and precautions, demands more rigorous adherence to safety protocols to prevent potential injuries or health hazards associated with its caustic components.

brewery wash what is best

Versatility and Material Compatibility

Versatility in the Brewery

Both ABW and PBW are formulated to tackle a range of cleaning tasks within the brewery setting. Their ability to be used across various applications makes them versatile additions to the brewer's arsenal. This versatility ensures that brewers can maintain a streamlined cleaning process, utilizing a single product for multiple cleaning needs.

Compatibility with Materials

Material compatibility is a critical factor that can significantly sway a brewer's preference. While both products are safe for stainless steel, the cornerstone material of brewing equipment, they may interact differently with other materials such as rubber, plastics, or softer metals. Brewers must consider these interactions to avoid damage to their equipment, which could inadvertently lead to contamination or the need for costly replacements.

The choice between Alkaline Brewery Wash and Powdered Brewery Wash is nuanced, with both cleaners having their unique sets of advantages and limitations. The decision is not merely a matter of which cleaner is superior in a general sense, but which one aligns more closely with the specific requirements and values of the brewery. Factors such as operational cost, cleaning temperatures, environmental impact, and user safety profile must all be carefully balanced against the brewery’s workflow and ethical considerations.

The comparison between ABW and PBW underscores the complexity of maintaining brewing hygiene. Brewers must navigate these complexities to select a cleaner that not only ensures the sterility of their equipment but also aligns with their operational goals and ethical commitments. Whether the choice falls on ABW or PBW, the ultimate goal remains the same: achieving the highest standards of cleanliness to produce exceptional brews.

What is the best homebrew sanitizer?

Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Embarking on a homebrewing journey and in search of the finest sanitizers to ensure the best brew? 

You're in the right place.

We know a thing or three about sanitizer.

The essence of a flavorful beer lies not just in the ingredients but also in the cleanliness and sanitation of your equipment. Any seasoned homebrewer will emphasize the importance of immaculate equipment and bottles to ward off any undesirable bacteria that might ruin your concoction.

Recall a time when your brew was compromised due to insufficient cleaning? You beer was wrecked as it was infected?

It's an agonizing experience, isn't it?

You spend the time and money on malt, yeast and hops and then it's simply undrinkable acid. 

Want no fuss, just need the good stuff? The good oil on sanitizer? Regardez-vous:




Star San

Highly Effective: Rapidly kills microbes and does not require rinsing, leaving behind a foam that can benefit yeast health. Non-Toxic: Made from food-grade phosphoric acid which is safe for use. Ease of Use: Only requires contact for 30 seconds to be effective.

Foam Production: Produces substantial foam which can be mistaken for residue or contamination by new brewers. Sensitive to Environment: Less effective in hard water or when improperly diluted.


No-Rinse: At proper dilutions, it does not require rinsing and leaves minimal residual taste or odor. Indicator: Changes color to indicate effectiveness and proper dilution. Broad Spectrum: Effective against a wide range of organisms.

Staining: Can stain plastics and fabrics with prolonged contact. Short Shelf Life: Once diluted, it loses potency within 24-48 hours. Sensitive to Light: Degraded by light exposure, requiring storage in dark containers.

One Step

No Rinse Required: Easy to use without the need for rinsing, making it quick and convenient. Environmentally Friendly: Oxygen-based and biodegradable. Safe: Non-toxic formula makes it a safer choice for home brewers.

Less Effective on Hard Surfaces: May not be as effective as other sanitizers on hard, non-porous surfaces. Requires Longer Contact Time: Generally needs at least 2 minutes to sanitize effectively.


Highly Affordable: Widely available and cost-effective. Powerful Disinfectant: Extremely effective at killing a wide range of microbes. Versatility: Can be used for various cleaning tasks beyond brewing.

Corrosive: Can damage stainless steel and other surfaces if not thoroughly rinsed. Residual Smell: Leaves a strong chlorine odor that must be completely rinsed to avoid flavor impact. Rinsing Required: Must be thoroughly rinsed to prevent contamination.

Powder Brewery Wash

Effective Cleaner: Excellently removes organic residues like proteins and lipids. Versatile: Safe on all materials including stainless steel and plastic. Environmentally Friendly: Biodegradable and non-hazardous under typical use conditions.Requires Thorough Rinsing: Must be completely rinsed off to prevent interaction with sanitizers. Not a Sanitizer: Only cleans, does not sanitize—sanitization step is still necessary. Optimal Performance Requires Hot Water: More effective with warm to hot water, increasing energy usage.

best home brew beer sanitizer

Let's dive in and explore the top sanitizers that will shield your beer, cider, or wine from any brewing adversaries.

1. Star San: The Pinnacle of Sanitizers

Star San is renowned for its formidable ability to annihilate any microorganisms threatening your brew. Characterized by its makers as "a self-foaming acid sanitizer apt for brewing, dairy, and other edibles," it stands out as a potent bactericide and fungicide. 

What's more, it's resilient against excessive organic soils and diminishes water spotting. Comprising phosphoric acid and dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid, Star San is a no-rinse solution — a significant advantage for brewers eager to get brewing.

Usage: Star San can be applied through spraying or soaking equipment and bottles. A ratio of one ounce to 5 gallons of water ensures optimal protection against bacteria.

However, its superiority comes with a premium price tag.

2. Iodophor: The Trusted Choice

Iodophor, favored by the beer brewing community, has roots in the food service and medical sectors for equipment sanitation. A trifecta of detergent, germicide, and sanitizer, Iodophor promises sanitation in approximately 10 minutes. As with Star San, it requires no rinsing at the suggested concentration.

A word of caution: Iodophor can stain clothing, so exercise care during use.

3. Powdered Brewery Wash (PBW)

Originally embraced by commercial breweries, PBW has won the hearts of homebrewers for its sanitizing prowess. Many veteran brewers laud its effectiveness. PBW not only sanitizes but also aids in removing beer labels from bottles.

A tip: You can craft your own PBW alternative using household products. Blend a home brand like Tide or Oxiclean with a metasilicate-rich cleaner like Red Devil TSP/90 in a 70/30 mix to craft a DIY sanitizer.


4. Laundry Soakers: The Unexpected Savior

Surprisingly, common laundry soakers can serve as sanitizers. Products boasting 'oxy' labels typically contain sodium percarbonate, a chief ingredient in many renowned soakers. We can personally testify that this is the key product we use to prepare our beer bottles and brewing drum - it's cheap an effective. 

5. Bleach: The Old Reliable

Bleach, while commonplace, can be a potent sanitizer for homebrewing. A solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water, followed by a 20-minute soak, should suffice. However, due to its strong odor, rinsing is advised. For quick results, opting for faster-acting solutions like Star San might be more prudent.
sanitize beer gear for great abs

The Verdict on the best beer making sanitizers

When it comes to selecting the ideal homebrewing sanitizer, consider these factors:

In the realm of brewing, cleanliness is paramount. So, embark on your brewing journey with the best sanitization practices in tow!

↣ What is beerstone (and how to remove it)?

Monday, October 23, 2023
Every brewer, whether amateur or professional, is well-acquainted with the challenges that come with maintaining brewing equipment. 

One such challenge is the pesky formation of beerstone. This stubborn substance can compromise the quality of the brew and pose sanitation issues. 

In this article, we will delve deep into understanding beerstone and provide effective methods to eliminate it from brewing equipment.

What is Beerstone?

Beerstone, scientifically known as calcium oxalate, is a milky-white deposit that forms on brewing equipment over time. It's a combination of protein and mineral compounds that emerge during the brewing process. If left untreated, beerstone can harbor microorganisms, jeopardizing the quality and safety of the brew.

'calcium oxalate' - beerstone buildup

Why is Beerstone a Concern for Brewers?

  1. Sanitation Issues: Beerstone can be a breeding ground for bacteria and wild yeast, leading to contamination and off-flavors in the beer.
  2. Equipment Integrity: Over time, beerstone can corrode metal surfaces, reducing the lifespan of brewing equipment.
  3. Inconsistent Brews: The presence of beerstone can interfere with the brewing process, leading to inconsistent batches of beer.

Effective Methods to Remove Beerstone:

  1. Routine Cleaning: Regular cleaning with brewery-approved detergents can prevent the buildup of beerstone. Ensure to scrub all surfaces thoroughly, paying attention to nooks and crannies.

  2. Acidic Solutions: Phosphoric acid-based cleaners are particularly effective against beerstone. These cleaners dissolve the calcium compounds, making it easier to scrub away the beerstone. However, it's crucial to follow safety precautions when handling acids.

  3. Specialized Beerstone Removers: There are commercial beerstone removers available that are designed specifically to combat this issue. These removers often combine surfactants and chelators to break down and lift away beerstone deposits.

  4. Physical Scrubbing: Sometimes, elbow grease is the best solution. Using a non-abrasive scrubbing pad can help dislodge beerstone, especially when combined with effective cleaning agents.

  5. Preventive Measures: Using water softeners can reduce the mineral content in the water, which in turn reduces the potential for beerstone formation. Regularly inspecting and cleaning equipment after each brew can also prevent accumulation.

beerstone removal techniques

Safety First

When using chemical agents to clean brewing equipment, it's paramount to prioritize safety. Always:

  • Wear protective gloves and eyewear.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation in the cleaning area.
  • Thoroughly rinse equipment after cleaning to remove any residual chemicals.
  • Store cleaning agents out of reach of children and pets.


Beerstone is an inevitable challenge faced by brewers. However, with consistent cleaning, preventive measures, and the right cleaning agents, it's a challenge that can be efficiently tackled. By keeping brewing equipment free of beerstone, brewers can ensure the production of high-quality, consistent, and safe brews. Remember, a clean brewery is a successful brewery. Happy brewing!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top