The importance of cleanliness simply cannot be stressed enough. If your equipment is cleaned and sanitized, and you follow these instructions, then your homebrew will taste fantastic. If, on the other hand, you follow all the instructions but fail to properly sanitize your equipment, your beer WILL be destroyed. Clean everything before AND after you use it.
The sanitizer we supply you with is a basic iodine-based sanitizer called Iodophor. The sanitizer should be mixed at a ratio of 1 tsp per gallon of water as shown below. Over time and as you use the solution, it will begin to lose it's color. The color of your solution should be similar to that in Picture C below. If your solution becomes becomes more pale or clear in color then it is time to mix up more sanitizer.
The only things that need to be sanitized are the fermenting bucket, lid and airlock. You can sanitize the brew kettle and large spoon if you want to, but it isn't necessary since you will be boiling everything in it. No bad germs will be able to survive the boiling process.
- Pour your sanitizing solution into your primary fermentor and thoroughly wet all surfaces of the inside.
- Fill a shallow pan with the sanitizing solution and soak your lid and airlock in the solution
After you've allowed your equipment to soak in the sanitizer for a while (five or ten minutes will suffice), find something to put the sanitizer into. It's a good idea to save as much of the sanitizing solution as you can, because you can use it later on to sanitize your hands and clean up your equipment before you put it all away. This is where your bottling bucket (the one with the hole for the spigot) comes in handy. Later on when you are bottling your product, it will be more convenient to have a third bucket. For now, however your primary fermentor and your bottling bucket will suffice.
Now, rinse everything off thoroughly. Be very careful not to touch anything to the sink or anything that isn't sanitary, rinse your stuff out very well and set it aside to dry. It's a good idea to use freshly laundered dishtowels or paper towels for this.
Now don't breathe. At least not on your freshly sanitized fermentation bucket, lid and air lock. Don't let your pet lick it, don't let dust settle on it, don't smoke near it, and don't cook near it. Treat it as if it were surgical equipment, because any wild yeast, fungi, bacteria, germs or small mammals that settle on it could spoil the brew. A good idea is to turn your bucket upside down on a freshly laundered dishtowel and hide all your other stuff underneath it to protect it all from any unscrupulous passersby. It will drip dry while you boil your beer.