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Old 10-21-2007, 02:46 AM   #1
Mistro03
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Default Bleach! Ahhhh!

Hello Folks,
I'm a relatively new homebrewer. I hate the fact that I am using bleach to sanitize my bottles, equipment, etc. Are there natural alternatives to bleach without spending hours boiling my equipment?

Thanks for your info.

Mistro03

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Old 10-21-2007, 02:55 AM   #2
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There are lots of no-rinse sanitizers that should be available at your LHBS or from many different online retailers. Star-San, One-Step, and Iodaphor to name a few. They do cost a bit of money, but last for a long time and will give you less problems than bleach.

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Old 10-21-2007, 03:00 AM   #3
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I have used bleach (once), iodophor (over a year), and star san (from 3 months ago on). I would vote for Star San. Like Jekster said, it will look more expensive to begin with but since you only need ~6ml in one gallon and one gallon will last 2-3 brew sessions it may end up being cheaper than bleach depending on how you used the bleach. Iodophor will seem cheaper but is not as easy to keep for extended periods of time as Star San (less reusing), but is still an excellent product.

BTW, welcome to the forum. If you make a search you will find all sorts of threads discussing these sanitizers and I am sure you will find more opinions on the matter than you ever wanted. Also, check the Wiki it gives a brief comparison of the most popular methods of sanitizing.

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Old 10-21-2007, 03:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerrific
I have used bleach (once), iodophor (over a year), and star san (from 3 months ago on). I would vote for Star San. Like Jekster said, it will look more expensive to begin with but since you only need ~6ml in one gallon and one gallon will last 2-3 brew sessions it may end up being cheaper than bleach depending on how you used the bleach. Iodophor will seem cheaper but is not as easy to keep for extended periods of time as Star San (less reusing), but is still an excellent product.

BTW, welcome to the forum. If you make a search you will find all sorts of threads discussing these sanitizers and I am sure you will find more opinions on the matter than you ever wanted. Also, check the Wiki it gives a brief comparison of the most popular methods of sanitizing.
2-3 brew sessions? how? Do you put it in a container and use as you need to wash the equipment? I think I've been doing it wrong.
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ó Flannagáin
2-3 brew sessions? how? Do you put it in a container and use as you need to wash the equipment? I think I've been doing it wrong.
Yeah, I mix ~6ml in a one gallon jug of distilled water, dump that into a big pan that I can pretty much put everything in as needed. When I am done I dump it back into the jug. I have tested the pH after 3 brew sessions and it is around 2.3 (needs to be below 3 to work). The key to reusing star san is to use deionized/distilled/RO water and clean everything well first.
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:15 AM   #6
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Wow, you must be thrifty....
I mix about 3 gal of iodophor solution to san the carboy, then dump into a sanitizing bucket. The big bottle lasts an eternity.

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Old 10-21-2007, 03:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mistro03
Are there natural alternatives to bleach
I noticed the word "natural" and decided that the advice given might not hit your target.

Firstly, if you're looking for natural in the sense that it comes, in it's pure form, from the earth, then no, I don't think there are any options other than boiling. Other than heat (boiling) the only "natural" sanitizer I can think of is silver which is a natural anti-microbial. However, it is IMPOSSIBLE to get all silver equipment (they don't mack silver hydrometers) and simply using a silver pot doesn't work.

The things mentioned above, like Star San, are not harmful to the Earth, if that was your concern. Star San can be drunk without signifigant issues (much less than say, water from a stream in the US) and I've heard of numerous people dumping Star San solution on their lawns after brews with no harm to the plants.
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Dean
I noticed the word "natural" and decided that the advice given might not hit your target.
Sorry i missed that. Since I am advocating Star San let me tell you what is in it and you can decided if this fits what you are looking for:

"STAR SAN is a blend of phosphoric acid and dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid."
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Old 10-21-2007, 02:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ó Flannagáin
2-3 brew sessions? how? Do you put it in a container and use as you need to wash the equipment? I think I've been doing it wrong.
I keep a spare keg about half full of star san, plus 2 one-gallon jugs, plus a spray bottle. The keg is great for sticking my autosiphon in and pumping to fill the tubing, the gallon jugs are for pouring into other containers to sanitize, and the spray bottle is for just about everything. And I do go at least 2-3 batches before making fresh solution - I also generally only mix up 2.5 gallons, instead of 5, at a time.

Using it this way, I always have starsan ready to use, and I get so much use out of it that it's costing me practically nothing - it works out to about 10 cents a gallon, so 25 cents' worth lasts me weeks.
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Old 10-21-2007, 02:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerrific
Yeah, I mix ~6ml in a one gallon jug of distilled water, dump that into a big pan that I can pretty much put everything in as needed. When I am done I dump it back into the jug. I have tested the pH after 3 brew sessions and it is around 2.3 (needs to be below 3 to work). The key to reusing star san is to use deionized/distilled/RO water and clean everything well first.
Charley Talley did an interview for me back in the summer and in his words...
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As long as the solution is clear and the pH is below 3.5 it will kill,
http://jimsbeerkit.co.uk/news/newsle...ummer_2007.htm
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