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Old 12-27-2012, 06:46 PM   #1
Johnnyboy1012
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Default Star San Cloudiness (with pics)

Until yesterday when a friend told me about cloudy Star San being ineffective, I did not realize that Star San solution is supposed to be clear. It has always been cloudy for me, but I have never encountered a problem with infection before. When looking into the matter I decided to buy some pH test strips and experiment. I am by no means a chemist or scientist but so please correct me if I say anything wrong. I attached 4 photos of my observation.

I always keep a growler full of Star San in case I need it for a small sanitizing task, rather then make a new batch every time I need it. I've been reading on here that people fear when it turns cloudy it could become ineffective at sanitizing, which would be bad for brewing. I have had this cloudy Star San made with tap water sitting around in a clear growler for a few weeks now and wanted to check the pH before I used it to sanitize my equipment. I also made another growler of Star San with distilled water to compare it to my results of the cloudy tap water Star San. See the pictures attached to and let me know what you think.

A quick wrap up...One pic is a pH test strip of about 4 week old Star San made with tap water...(Very cloudy) *Last Pic*

Another pic is of Star San made with distilled water I made today. (Very clear) *Third Pic*

The other two pics are comparing the two pH strips together.

I think the two have almost an identical pH, which to me says that the cloudiness is not a factor....what do you guys think? Cheers!

image-1-.jpg   image.jpg   distilled-clear.jpg   tap-water-cloudy.jpg  
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:12 PM   #2
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I've heard that the cloudiness thing is bogus. The mine turns cloudy almost instantly too and I think it has something to do with water composition. I have those same pH strips and I've used them a few times but I normally just switch out my starsan every month now depending on how much I'm using it. I don't even remember what the pH is supposed to be? Below 3? 4?

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Old 12-27-2012, 07:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by inhousebrew View Post
I've heard that the cloudiness thing is bogus. The mine turns cloudy almost instantly too and I think it has something to do with water composition. I have those same pH strips and I've used them a few times but I normally just switch out my starsan every month now depending on how much I'm using it. I don't even remember what the pH is supposed to be? Below 3? 4?
It is supposed to be below 3.5. Above that it starts to become less effective.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:21 PM   #4
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Craigtube did a test on this and confirmed that the cloudy StarSan solution was still at an effective PH level. I found that StarSan turns cloudy when I mix with my tap water, but when I run my tap water through a whole house filter it remains clear. Definitely something with the mineral or chlorine content of my tap water.

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Old 12-27-2012, 07:27 PM   #5
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I read that the cloudy Starsan "Myth" was based on if you used distilled water. As you can tell from the OP's pictures the distilled is clear. and after using it over and over it will become cloudy and that is when you need to start testing it. The Starsan mixed with tap water is generally cloudy from the get and so you do not have an effective way of telling when the solution is starting to turn ineffective with out using testing strips.

I'm not able to find the link to the article. I know it is in an email somewhere. I'll post it if I can find it.

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Old 12-27-2012, 07:30 PM   #6
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I can always tell when the salt runs out my softwater system....my starsan mixture is cloudy.

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Old 12-27-2012, 07:30 PM   #7
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Well well, this is very interesting! I was under the impression that cloudy was what you get once all the good stuff in Star San gets turned to crap by reactions with calcium in the water or some such. So I've been buying $4 worth of distilled water each time I make a new batch up (maybe once every couple months).

That would be nice not to have to spend the money or waste my time on, thanks for this!

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Old 12-27-2012, 07:35 PM   #8
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Lol. I always thought my star San was supposed to be cloudy. Didn't know it could be clear. Never saw it any other way and never really paid much attention to it otherwise.

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Old 12-27-2012, 07:35 PM   #9
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You’re forgetting about the detergent. Check the label.
50% phosphoric acid
15% dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid
35% inert ingredients

The DDBSA is a linear alkane anionic surfactant. It is used in combination with the acid to kill the bacteria. You need both.

The cloudiness you are seeing indicates the detergent is at least partially used up. If you listen to the sticky at the top, Charlie Talley says when it gets cloudy or above pH3.0 throw it out.

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Old 12-27-2012, 07:53 PM   #10
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Charlie Talley says when it gets cloudy or above pH3.0 throw it out.
Given that my StarSan is cloudy from the get-go, I'd never use it -- just mix it and toss it!
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