brewlog: Bottles of Grit

Something strange has occurred the past couple times I’ve prepped bottles for beer. Here’s my process:

First, drink the beers in the bottles. This is the best part.

Next, I sort the bottles by label and bottle type. If a bottle has a plasticky label that I know will be a bitch to remove, or is a non-standard shape (Red Stripe, Founders, Sierra Nevada), I set it aside and return it properly. Anything else gets added to the pile of good, usable bottles.

When I’ve accumulated a significant amount of bottles (approximately 28, give or take a few depending on number of 22oz bottles), I put them into a couple of five gallon buckets I have, throw some Oxiclean in there, and fill them up with water.

Let them sit for a day or so, in the garage since it’s warm out. Then spend some time outside with my dogs as I remove the labels and rinse the bottles.

OK, it all makes sense, right? However, this time, as well as the time before that, the bottles developed a gritty sort of film on them as they were sitting in the Oxiclean bath. The thing about this film is that it is tough to get off. I had to furiously scrub with a microfiber cloth to get rid of the grit on the outside, but then I got worried about grit existing on the inside. Last time there was no grit on the outside. So, this is where I got creative.

I didn't think to take a picture until I was halfway done.

I soaked the bottles in the hottest water my faucet could make in the utility sink. Then I took out my bottle scrubbing brush and went to town. This was a lot of work though, and my arm got tired. So, I MacGyvered myself a solution.

MacGyver would be proud

It cleaned all the bottles in a flash, and they are now grit free and spotless!

I am still puzzled as to what caused the problem in the first place. Looking at it scientifically, the only variable that changed was the temperature, so my theory is that Oxiclean at high heat bonds to glass that it comes in contact with for a long period of time. Maybe I need to scale back the amount of Oxiclean I use in higher heat. Or change nothing and get to play with a drill brush again. Probably that.