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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2010 * Archive through July 07, 2010 * Star-San Questions < Previous Next >

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Kevin Kowalczyk
Advanced Member
Username: Itsfunbrewingbeer

Post Number: 892
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 72.67.69.156
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 02:36 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have been using Star-San to sanitize for a couple of years, and have been real happy with it. However, with my recent move from Chicago to Redondo Beach, CA, I notice that when I add it to the tap water here, it instantly turns cloudy.

I recall reading in other posts that when it is cloudy it is no longer effective. Is this true? Do I have to use bottled water with my Star-San?

Also, like I said I have been using it for a number of years, but still have yet to figure out how to make the measuring cup/tube thing work on the bottle. Do you remove one cap and squeeze? Both caps? Tilt it a certain way?
 

George Millet
Junior Member
Username: Airedale

Post Number: 46
Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.161.187.164
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 03:04 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kevin,

The cloudiness is likely CaPO4 precipitate, it might also be due to high iron or manganese in your water, that form a iron or manganese phosphate precipitate. Is your California water harder than your Chicago water? I have very hard water, and I used to get cloudy StarSan mixtures until I started using my softened water for mixing. Try softened or RO water and see if the cloudiness goes away.

If the pH of the diluted StarSan rises above 3.5 then the StarSan is ineffective. You can add some phosphoric acid to drop it down to 3.5 or below. The sanitizing effect is a due to a combination of high acidity (from food grade phosporic acid) and the dodecyl benzene sulfonic acid (sounds dangerous, but it's merely a detergent in the free acid form).

The way to use the measuring chamber is to keep the main cap tight, loosen the other cap and give the main part of the bottle a squeeze. The concentrate should flow up the tube on the side and into the little chamber. Fill to the 30 ml line, and mix in 5 gallons of soft or RO water.
 

David Curtis
Advanced Member
Username: Littledipper

Post Number: 515
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 69.209.98.144
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 04:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I had the same problem once when mixing some Star San up - never had the problem before. I checked my water softener and I had forgotten to refill the salt chamber for quite some time, so our water was back to its true hard self. I filled the chamber and mixed a batch of Star San the next day and it was crystal clear like normal.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1944
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.251.234.178
Posted on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 12:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kevin,

I use a small shot-glass-sized measuring cup to measure StarSan concentrate for mixing.

Don't know where I got it. It looks like it might have been for measuring cough syrup or something. It has graduations in milliliters, drams and ounces. Handy when I mix up a small batch. Check with a pharmacy.

And, yeah, like the others said, your new water is hard.

I have a water softener, and have tested both softened and unsoftened water with StarSan. With the unsoftened water, the solution immediately gets cloudy. With the softened water, it stays clear.

StarSan solution will keep for a long time once mixed. I have a carboy full of it I've used many times over.
 

Terry Smith
Junior Member
Username: Tbrew

Post Number: 40
Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 24.167.137.136
Posted on Thursday, June 17, 2010 - 04:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ditto, I lived in San Diego for years and remember the water being harder than Chinese arithmetic…
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 11802
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.141.101.115
Posted on Thursday, June 17, 2010 - 05:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've always wondered why Chinese arithmetic was supposed to be so hard. I guess I'm a geek at heart, but at the age of 10 I got a Chinese abacus as a gift from a relative who visited Hong Kong. It came with an instruction pamphlet written in pidgin English. I taught myself to use it for addition and subtraction (multiplication and division were too cumbersome and better done with a slide rule). I continued to use it until cheap handheld calculators were available in the 1970s. I've kept it in a drawer; I'm sure I could still use it to add columns of figures more easily than by hand.
 

Kevin Kowalczyk
Advanced Member
Username: Itsfunbrewingbeer

Post Number: 893
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 75.212.53.151
Posted on Friday, June 18, 2010 - 06:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for the answers guys, I know I have hard water here. The question though, is the star-san ineffective when cloudy? George mentioned that it's ineffective above pH 3.5, I don't have test strips. Is cloudiness an indicator of pH above 3.5?
 

BrewLogue
Junior Member
Username: Brewlogue

Post Number: 31
Registered: 11-2008
Posted From: 71.80.169.166
Posted on Friday, June 18, 2010 - 10:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I brew 20 miles away from you and yes, my StarSan is always cloudy. I've never had an infection, though I do mix up a new batch every brew day because I don't trust cloudy StarSan to remain effective over long periods.

I have taken to using all RO water for my brewing water but I don't see the point in using RO for StarSan when my beer keep coming out fine. I say just use it cloudy.
 

George Millet
Junior Member
Username: Airedale

Post Number: 47
Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 75.161.187.164
Posted on Saturday, June 19, 2010 - 03:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kevin,

I don't think the cloudiness from hard water will affect the sanitizing power of the StarSan solution.
 

Paul Edwards
Senior Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 1946
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 76.252.4.56
Posted on Saturday, June 19, 2010 - 12:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've seen some people reporting that their StarSan mixtures are also cloudy, but when they check the pH, it's still below 2.5

Google StarSan cloudy

So, I guess the answer is that a cloudy StarSan solution MAY still be effective.

But unless you check the pH, you may not know for sure.
 

Kevin Kowalczyk
Advanced Member
Username: Itsfunbrewingbeer

Post Number: 894
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 72.67.69.156
Posted on Saturday, June 19, 2010 - 06:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks. I'll get some strips and check it out.
 

Terry Smith
Junior Member
Username: Tbrew

Post Number: 41
Registered: 03-2008
Posted From: 24.167.137.136
Posted on Sunday, June 20, 2010 - 01:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill,
What is this "slide rule" thing you speak of...
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 11809
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.141.101.115
Posted on Sunday, June 20, 2010 - 02:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Terry, a slide rule was a magic stick used during the Dark Ages to summon the spirit of numbers and do calculations.
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 2539
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.45.166
Posted on Sunday, June 20, 2010 - 06:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have my dad's old slide rule here in my office. I still remember how to do the basic stuff with it. Definitely has some advantages over a calculator -- no batteries to wear out and it forces you to understand the concept of "significant digit".
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 11812
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.141.101.115
Posted on Sunday, June 20, 2010 - 07:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A slide rule is still a good tool for learning and understanding the concept of logarithms.
 

Rob Farrell
Advanced Member
Username: Robf

Post Number: 566
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 216.27.76.200
Posted on Monday, June 21, 2010 - 05:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

With my tap water, Star San would turn cloudy in a couple of months and I would dump it. With distilled water (89˘/gal) it lasts forever. I recycle it, but a gallon usually gets all used up in about six months.
 

Gary Muehe
Intermediate Member
Username: Garymuehe

Post Number: 256
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 99.140.168.55
Posted on Monday, June 21, 2010 - 07:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm with Rob on this. Works for me.