May the PBW Be with You: Harnessing the Galactic Power of Cleaning in Brewing

Saturday, April 27, 2024

 For homebrew enthusiasts and professional brewers alike, cleanliness is a cornerstone of successful brewing. 

Powdered Brewery Wash (PBW), developed by Five Star Chemicals, has become an essential product in maintaining immaculate brewing equipment. 

Originally designed for use in Coors Brewery, PBW's effectiveness and safety have made it a popular choice across North America's brewing communities.

May the PBW Be with You Harnessing the Galactic Power of Cleaning in Brewing

Benefits of Using PBW

PBW excels in removing stubborn residues from brewing vessels, such as the protein build-up at the bottom of a stainless steel boil pot. Its ability to break down these residues without scrubbing makes it highly valued among brewers.

With a biodegradable formula, PBW is an eco-conscious choice. It is designed to be safe for septic systems, reducing environmental impact.

Beyond brewing equipment, PBW is effective in cleaning various kitchen appliances and utensils. It can be used to clean dishwashers, remove odors from organic substances, and even help strip labels from beer bottles.

Unlike more caustic cleaners like sodium hydroxide, PBW does not pose a significant risk to the skin and does not emit strong odors, making it safer for home use.

How to Use PBW for Optimal Results

Using PBW is straightforward and requires minimal effort:





Measure PBW

Determine the level of soil on the equipment. Use 1 ounce of PBW per gallon of water for light cleaning, and 2 ounces per gallon for heavily soiled equipment.


Soak the equipment

Fill the vessel with the PBW solution. Ensure all surfaces are submerged. Leave the solution to soak overnight, allowing PBW time to dissolve and lift residues.


Remove PBW and residues

After soaking, drain the solution. Rinse the equipment thoroughly with clean water to ensure no cleaner remains. Multiple rinses might be necessary for optimal results.

cleaning beer equipment with PBW

Cleaning vs. Sanitizing: A Crucial Distinction

It is important to note that cleaning with PBW does not equate to sanitizing. Cleaning removes visible soils and residues, preparing the surface for effective sanitization.

To ensure that all potential contaminants are eradicated, a sanitizer such as Star San should be used after cleaning, especially if the equipment will not be used immediately.

The Science Behind PBW

PBW's formula is engineered to tackle tough residues found in brewing environments. The primary active ingredients include:

  • Sodium Metasilicate: This compound is effective against oils and grease, breaking down organic compounds that can soil brewing equipment.
  • Sodium Percarbonate: When mixed with water, it releases hydrogen peroxide, an oxidizing agent that helps in cleaning and has mild sanitizing properties.

This combination allows PBW to effectively remove the protein residues and hop oils that cling to brewing vessels, ensuring a comprehensive clean without the need for harsh scrubbing.

HANDY TIP: Sodium Percarbonate is a great cleaner that can be found in ordinary home wash products, If you buy it in the form of laundry soak, it will be super cost-effective.

DIY PBW: Homemade Alternatives

For brewers interested in a DIY approach, a mixture of TSP/90 (Trisodium Phosphate) and Oxiclean can approximate the cleaning power of PBW. While this homemade solution can be effective, it is important to understand the distinct roles of its components: Oxiclean primarily sanitizes, whereas TSP/90 acts as the cleaner.

guide to use power brewery wash

Incorporating PBW into your brewing cleaning regimen can greatly enhance both the ease and effectiveness of your brewing process.

Its ability to thoroughly clean without harsh chemicals, coupled with its versatility and safety, makes PBW an invaluable tool for any brewer seeking to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness in their craft.

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