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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2003 * April 15, 2003 * New guy again; so how do you pick a sanitizer?? < Previous Next >

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M Gooding (204.87.60.232)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 03:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This is clearly one of the most important things you do in brewing, so why do guys choose different products? I've used bleach (for my two attempts so far) while I tried to sort out what is best. Just when I thought Iodophor was ok, I've read about staining, and potential allergic reactions to it. Then I read online that Star San is basically the 'replacement' for Iodophor. So why not Star San? What are the drawbacks? And what if you do rinse after using it? I can't get comfortable with not rinsing the equipment. And here's another dumb question, say I buy Star San. When I go to bottle this batch, can I fill the bottling bucket with water and Star San, throw in the bottles, some at a time, the caps, the syphon hose, and just let 'em soak? And then dump it out, and ready to go? Does it need to dry first? wouldn't it be susceptible to contamination the longer it sits out air drying? The confusion!! For all I've read, ya just get more confused. Thank you again for all the help!!!
 

Michael McNeil (66.177.186.59)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 03:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I personally use both Iodophor or Star San, but mostly Iodophor since it is less expensive. I'm like you and like to rinse everything after sanitizing no matter which sanitizer I use. My process is to boil a few qts. of water a couple of hours prior to whatever process I am undertaking (brewing, bottling, etc.), cover it and let it cool and use this as my rinse water. It may not be necessary, but to me the smell of Iodophor is just too strong and I don't want to take any chances.

Relative to my bottles, I use the dishwasher. Full cycle, no soap of course, heated dry. I think if you keep your bottles inverted after you sanitize them, they should remain safe for a couple of days. I keep reading posts of brewers who don't even bother to sanitize their bottles and have no problems. Go figure.
 

Alan Chambless (209.157.66.2)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 03:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here is one guy's experience...
I used bleach for years and had no problems. But, I switched to Iodopher because I didn't want to wait 45 minutes for things to sanitize and then have to rinse. I used Iodophor for a little over a year with no problems. But, I switched to Star San because I didn't want to wait 5 minutes for Iodophor and I like not having to worry about stuff getting stained if I leave it soaking too long. I've been using Sat San for the last few batches with no problems. I have to admit, the foam that stays behind in the carboy freaked me out. But so far it seems to work - no detectable flavor impact.
So I'd say go straight for the Star San.
 

Vance Barnes (12.98.224.90)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 03:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well bleach is probably the cheapest but you know by now that it requires rinsing. Also the contact time is longer, 20-30 minutes depending on where you read it. Iodophor is no rinse but requires air dry. It does stain and has a contact time of 10 min. If you only keep plastic in contact with it for 10 min. the staining is not bad. San Star is only a 2 min. contact time (I think) and no rinse or drying required. It's good to use in a spray bottle due to it's short contact time.

Your bottle soaking will work. Don't leave them in bleach too long as it can pit glass. Once you soak (and maybe rinse if you use bleach) you need a bottle tree or some way to keep them upside down to drain without the lips touching anything. One way to do that is to drill holes into plywood large enough for the neck to fit into but not the bottle. While they are upside down draining and drying no nasties will fly up into them.
 

big earl (209.222.26.27)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 03:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I like Idophor because the water color gives you an idea of the concentration

I fill each bottle with sanitizer, than rinse each bottle with water (some let the sanitizer dry in the bottle..but i don't trust this method)

everyone does everything little different, I'm sure you'll find your own method
 

Dan Mourglea (67.30.218.225)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 03:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I use Iodophor, it is quick, easy and relatively inexpensive and quick (1-2 minutes contact time at 1 tblsp per 5gal, shake dry and go). An allergic reaction is possible, but only if you're allergic to iodine. My plastic fermenter and some of my implements for brewing are stained, mainly because I have left them sitting in the stuff for extended periods of time, with a lid on it. But it doesn't bother me, IMHO that is purely cosmetic, nothing to worry about. I am not the most graceful person to walk the earth but I have had no problems with dropping, spilling the concentrated iodophor, I usually just measure it out over the bucket (or keg) I'm mixing it in and then put the lid back on.

I have used one-step (an oxygen based cleaner) and did not like it, mainly because it makes everything so slippery that I ended up dropping several sanitized items in the floor and had to start over (no way I'd use that on a glass carboy.

I haven't tried star-san, don't really know anything about it, so I am looking forward to hearing testimonials to its use.

I am positive that they all work just fine though and it harkens back to the good ol' advice. . .RDWHAHB. . .and just pick one.
 

Denny Conn (63.114.138.2)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 04:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't use bleach because it isn't good for my septic system, I don't want to rinse, and I don't want the risk of phenolic beer because of it. I use Star San on a limited basis because my water is hard enough that I have to use distilled water to mix it up. My main sanitizer is Iodophor becasue it's relatively inexpensive, doesn't harm my septic tank in the amounts I use, is effective in a few minutes and is no rinse.
 

Michael Boyd (66.81.40.91)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 04:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'll side with the idophor vote on this one. It's easy to use, cheap and I can tell the concentration by the color. I don't rinse except when going from the solution immediately to the wort, ie dropping my wine thief in a pile of dog hair.
I only use bleach when I need to clean a very dirty, stained carboy. If you're worried about Ido staining, wait 'till you spill bleach on the missus' kitchen rug!

And the basic reason I don't use star-san is my LHBS's don't carry it.
 

Brandon Dachel (208.44.235.190)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 04:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I use iodophor because it was recommended to me and it works really well. I *still* use bleach though but primarly just to make sure that I get all of the crud out of fermenters and old bottles.
 

Tim Pratt (67.28.102.60)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 04:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Star - san all the way. By using it as a spray you donít have the cost issue. It works quicker, doesnít stain, is better for the septic tank / land (I think) and is easy to tell when it goes bad. But when youíre using smaller amounts it is not around long enough to go bad.
Just my 2 cents....
 

Hophead (167.4.1.38)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 05:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bleach for glass carboys, and starsan for everything else. BTW, it turns cloudy when it's losing it's effectiveness, as with the lighter color of iodophor. Spray bottle for kegs is great too.
 

Jake Isaacs (128.163.110.72)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 05:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Another vote for Star San. It's not really all that expensive if you get the large bottle and only use (and reuse) a gallon of solution at a time. The foam is great, because it sticks to surfaces for a while, increasing contact time (and it won't affect the taste of the beer).

I only use bleach for soaking crusty glass fermenters and the occasional bottle.
 

J. Steinhauer (164.111.20.70)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 08:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I used to worry about iodophor flavor and odor, and would rinse it. I read this and found I was using too much and worrying too much. I no longer rinse, and I notice no flavor or odor. I use iodophor principally for larger items (fermenters, kegs, bottles, hoses) and a spray bottle of Star San with distilled water for small things, touch-ups and surfaces (i.e. I sanitise all keg stems and QD's before connecting) and items needed quickly.


iodophor experiment
 

Dan Grady (24.106.27.79)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 09:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the contact time for Iodophor really 2 minutes at 1tbl/5 gal? I do use oxy-clean to clean my bottles after use. Dang, 1-2 min would save a lot of time.
 

Bierview (205.188.209.80)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 09:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Vance,

You mentioned that bleach can pit glass? I use a bleach solutuion in my carboys between batches to keep them clean. Of course I rinse and use Star san before refilling. The pitting of glass has me concerned. Have you had this problem?

BV
 

Beer_Lifter (66.75.143.130)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 11:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am not a chemist, but I highly doubt that bleach will cause pitting to glass based on two things. #1: both strong acids and stong bases are kept in glass. #2: bleach is sold in plastic bottles.

As far as iodophoor goes, I have used it exclusively, and think it works great. It is what is used in the food service industry to sanatize as well. The only bad thing I have to say about it is that it does stain. I have never rinsed anything after applying iodophor, and do not wait for it to dry completely. I am going to buy a bottle of star-san and give it a go though due to a recent experience.
 

Hophead (167.4.1.38)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 11:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't get #2... If it was sold in glass bottles, then maybe.

I've had no problems with bleach and glass, but then I don't use straight bleach...

I have seen bleach eat holes in steel though.
 

Bill Pierce (12.207.82.170)
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2003 - 11:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bleach will pit stainless with long exposure but is safe for glass and plastic. I occasionally use it but it requires very thorough rinsing. My preference is for Star San but I sometimes use iodophor, too.
 

Chris Smedley (67.85.181.57)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 12:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Starsan's effective lifetime is increased by making the solution with distilled water?! I had no idea and that helps me out a lot. My starsan gets cloudy and loses its foaming (which prompts me to questions its effectiveness) in about 12 hours or so. Will distilled water really keep it viable for longer (covered)? How long can a distilled water/starsan solution be kept in a spray bottle before losing viability?
 

Bierview (64.12.97.9)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 01:11 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill,

What is very thorough rinsing. I rinse with very hot water, then sterilize with Star san.

BV
 

Denny Conn (140.211.82.4)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 02:18 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chris, I've had a spray bottle of StarSan mixed with distilled water for 3 months now, and it's still effective. I got some low range pH papers so I could check it, and after 3 months the pH is still under 3.
 

Bill Pierce (12.207.82.170)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 05:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bleach needs to be rinsed at least twice. The taste threshold for chlorophenol is less than 4 parts per billion. As for Star San, it's great stuff and will last a long time if uncontaminated and you are blessed with soft water like Denny.
 

Mike Kessenich (165.189.92.23)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 12:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For those that use Star San in a spray bottle, how does this work? Are you using it to sanitize clean objects with no soaking? That sounds like a great time saver. Or are you just using it to touch up already sanitized items? Could I use it to sanitize my conical fermentor without soaking? It takes 15 gallons of liquid otherwise.
 

Gary Muehe (205.188.209.80)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 01:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For the sake of Pete!!!!!!!!!! Just go to the link in J. Steinhauer's post!!! Please!
 

Mike Kessenich (165.189.92.23)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 01:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For the Sake of Gary!!!!! I went to the link and it mentions nothing of Star San!
 

Bill Pierce (208.57.122.28)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 02:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Most of the information about iodophor applies to Star San, at least as far as application is concerned. It is not necessary to fill a vessel with sanitizing solution. Coating the surface of the vessel will suffice as long as the solution does not dry and remains in contact for the recommended time.

Commercial brewing vessels normally are equipped with an internal spray ball for CIP (clean in place) application of cleaning and sanitizing solutions. A pump is used to recirculate the solution and spray it throughout the vessel. For sanitizing, typically a 5 minute spray cycle is used.

Homebrewers can simulate this process in a fermenter, for example, by using a couple of quarts of sanitizing solution and periodically swirling it so that the solution covers the internal surface. After the recommended contact time is completed the sanitizer is drained. In the case of no-rinse sanitizers such as Star San and iodophor (at the recommended concentration), nothing else is required.

As the others have suggested, it's really very simple and should not be cause for overthinking the process.
 

Timothy Wulfers (56.0.141.100)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 03:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I bought some cheap ph papers to check my star-san solutions and was shocked to find the ph above 4 . I attribute this to my hard water . After cleaning a carboy I add a half a gallon or so of water and ad star-san till I get a ph of three . I cap it off and shake it around abit and store my carboy with the solution in it untill right before using . A good swishing around is all I do on brew day , works great and I save this solution to sanitise all the transfer equipment . One thing I do not like about star-san is it melted some of my plastic tubeing and racking cane ; so I would not soak some types of plastic in star-san . I do use idorphor to soak my plastic parts but have noticed its color fades with time .
 

Denny Conn (63.114.138.2)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 04:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mike, I use my spray bottle of Star San mainly for last minute stuff I forgot to sanitize. Spray it, wait a minute, use it.
 

Gary Muehe (64.12.97.9)
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 08:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mike, I must have been unclear. I meant for everyone to read the link. After reading it, I think it would clear up a lot of questions.
Some being contact time, how to properly mix iodophor, residual odor and taste, cost, to name a few.

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