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Old 07-31-2009, 11:03 PM   #1
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Default Is clear Star-San good enough?

I came up with a question that stemmed from this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/milky-star-san-130330/

I know that having star-san milky doesn't indicate ineffectiveness in itself but is the reverse true? I mean if it is clear, than would that mean the star-san good to go? I've got a 2.5 gal batch I made almost a year ago with distilled water and is perfectly clear and foams just like day 1. I've been led to believe that using distilled it will be good indefinitely. I guess what I'm getting at is even though I have a distilled water mixture, should I buy some pH strips to periodically test that it is still below 3 or should I just live by the rule 'If it's clear then I'm in the clear'? The same question and maybe more importantly goes for those who use their tap water and the solution stays clear? Are they still safe if it's clear or should they be testing pH despite the clearness?

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Old 07-31-2009, 11:33 PM   #2
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i think your okay as you used distilled water, ithink i heard this on the podcast with star san maker.

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Old 08-01-2009, 12:50 AM   #3
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The best way to know if to get a vial of pH test strips. Mine goes cloudy right away if I use tap and stays clear forever if I use distilled. I use a test strip to know for sure that my Star San is up to par.

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Old 08-01-2009, 12:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nurmey View Post
I use a test strip to know for sure that my Star San is up to par.
Have you ever found star-san made with distilled water not up to par? I've listen to the Brewstrong and Basic Brewing podcasts with Five Star reps and have heard them say the pH thing and how using distilled water theoretically should have it viable forever. One thing I do not recall hearing on those podcasts is whether the color ITSELF and itself alone is definitive in determining the effectiveness. That is the information I'm seeking.

I've used that 2.5 gallon distilled batch for innumerous sanitizing needs in the year plus I've used it. Does it reach a certain sanitizing limit which would raise the pH to over 3 but still keep the solution clear? I don't mind buying some pH test strips my next homebrew supply order but I just want to know if they are necessary.
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Old 08-01-2009, 01:00 AM   #5
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you could email star san they proably would respond.

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Old 08-01-2009, 01:04 AM   #6
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you could email star san they proably would respond.
Jeez, If I wanted accurate information from the horse's mouth I wouldn't be posting here now would I?

I did think of doing just that and then I took a sip of beer and I forgot. Sounds like fine advise and I shall do just that now and report back when I get the answer here.
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Old 08-01-2009, 01:08 AM   #7
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Jeez, If I wanted accurate information from the horse's mouth I wouldn't be posting here now would I?

I did think of doing just that and then I took a sip of beer and I forgot. Sounds like fine advise and I shall do just that now and report back when I get the answer here.
Excellent! as mr barnes would say
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Old 08-01-2009, 01:30 AM   #8
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Burns

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Old 08-01-2009, 01:52 AM   #9
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D'oh!!! i'have been had

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Old 08-07-2009, 01:47 AM   #10
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Here is the response from Jim Jennings of Five Star

Quote:
The short of it is that an optimal Star San solution is clear and has a pH at or below 3.5. A Star San solution which has a pH above 3.5, or which is milky, at any pH, is not longer effective and should be discarded. If your stored solution is clear and has a pH of 3.5 or less, you should be good to go. Of course, if you left the container sitting on a windowsill for a month and UV radiation was tearing the chemistry apart, it is possible the pH could still be 2.9 and the solution clear but you've ripped the complex chemistry apart with the UV. So, there are several factors which can be at play. However, a relatively clear solution, with a pH of 3.5 or less, and which has not been exposed to extremes in sunlight, temperature or temperature variation, should be fine.

And in case you want to know why the clouding is the issue here it is. Star San is an acid empowered by a package of surfactants to penetrate the cell wall of micro-organisms and kill them. When the surfactants are degraded or compromised by being pulled out of the solution, the acid becomes less effective. As the surfactants chosen for Star San were selected for several properties, and among them is dealing with the mineral soils most commonly found in brewing, it is no surprise that these surfactants look upon the suspended minerals as a form of soil. (Actually, most mineral soiling in brewing comes from the water.) So, as these surfactants grab the minerals, pull them out of solution and hold them there, it begins to 'cloud' the solution. In pulling the minerals out of solution the Star San is sacrificing its surfactants in the process, diminishing the surfactant capacity to empower the acid to kill. As these brave surfactant molecules give their chemical lives to save your beer the overall capacity of the army diminishes and a cloudy solution is a spent army which needs to do R&R down the drain and be replaced with fresh troops.

Cheers!


Jim Jennings
Five Star Chemicals
Commerce City, CO
800/782-7019
303/287-0186
So if I am interpreting this correctly he is still advocating the pH as the main factor in contributing to effectiveness but is made with distilled water and kept out of lots of UV light or temp extremes it is very stable and the chemistry will stay the same. Another thing said he points out is that cloudy Star San at any pH should be discarded and he explains why in the second paragraph. That is something I had not heard before and goes against what is usually advocated on here.

I know with some peoples water Star San turns cloudy almost immediately where others take a day or two. I'm wondering if those in which the solution turns cloudy immediately that means that the sanitizer is not working to its full power even though the pH is below 3.5. I've sent a followup email to answer that question since if that is true would go against the common knowledge on here.
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