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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > 5.2 Stabilizer doesn't work, can we trust other 5-star products?
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by dbhokie View Post
I had a starting PH water of 8.7, it brought it down to 6, I had a 6, and it wouldn't bring it down to but 5.8.
Given its formulation that's exactly what should happen. It is a buffer set for about 5.8 or 5.9 - don't remember exactly which. Thus it tries to bring water to that pH. When mash gets involved that's a different matter. The phosphates is the malt presumably change the ratio of mono to dibasic phosphate in the raw product such that the 'design' pH is lower. At least that's the only theory that I can come up with as to how a product which buffers water to 5.9 is supposed to buffer mash to 5.2.

The statement that it is becomes less effective with alkalinity still stands. It would have more trouble buffering a high alkalinity water from a close pH to 5.9 than a low alkalinity water from a higher pH. Don't confuse pH and alkalinity. It is possible to have high pH and low alkalinity and conversely.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:20 PM   #12
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I love theory, especially physics and chemistry, water chemistry I am just getting into the past couple years. People always forget variables though, and then speak dogmatically. Try it, buy a little bit and see if it helps with your mash. I have had no decidedly negative experiences with it. It has helped me bring the mash into a range better with higher PH levels >7<9, and seems to work fine. Albeit not perfect. If you really want to get into it then use some calculators to figure out ratios of salts and other things to add to get your mash "perfect". I use a Hanna HI 9813-6n. I got this one so I could test EC/TDS in soil slurries as well.

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Old 05-10-2012, 07:33 PM   #13
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In the pro community, 5-Star is sort of the McDonald's of chemical suppliers. People like BIRKO and Loeffler have a better rep.
To be clear, I have never used the 5.2 stabilizer. I don't know how it performs specifically. I just don't have a very positive view of 5-Star. I wish some of the other manufacturers (you hear me BIRKO?!) would sell to homebrewers/in homebrewer sized containers. Of course, it would probably lead to higher costs through associated marketing, etc. which is one of the issues with 5-Star *SIGH*
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:51 AM   #14
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I posted this in Brew Science because I figured it would just turn into a debate about whether or not 5.2 stabilizer works if I put it in the Sanitation forum....but here we are... There are countless threads about how and why it doesn't work (see similar threads below), I was hoping someone who knows something about microbiology could chime in about the effectiveness of Star San at sanitizing or how to go about testing it. Personally, I haven't had an obvious infection since I started using star san a couple years ago but I doubt the claim that it doesn't add any taste to your beer. Get 2 glasses, rinse one in star san and then fill them both up...you can taste it...whether or not that taste will fade is a little harder to test.

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Old 05-11-2012, 12:41 PM   #15
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The general drift in testing sanitizers is to prepare a culture, count the viable organisms, expose the culture to the sanitizer at a particular concentration and sample the number of viable organisms over time. The log kill (if 99% are killed that's '2 nines', if 99.9% - '3 nines' and so on) is then plotted vs. the C x T (Concentration times Time) it took to produce it. Now how the viable organisms are detected and counted I don't know. I'm sure there are standard methods for that as there are for everything else. A home brewer might make a suitable dilution and then pour it onto an agar plate and count colonies before and after treatment. How one stops the action of a sanitizer after a certain time would be a problem with that method. A more sophisticated method of testing the effectiveness of a spray on sanitizer involves treating the surface to be sanitized and then looking for ATP remaining on the surface using the scintillations it triggers when exposed to luciferrin (the stuff that makes fire flies wink). This requires an expensive (to the home brewer's perspective) instrument.

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Old 05-11-2012, 05:57 PM   #16
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I posted this in Brew Science because I figured it would just turn into a debate about whether or not 5.2 stabilizer works if I put it in the Sanitation forum....but here we are... There are countless threads about how and why it doesn't work (see similar threads below), I was hoping someone who knows something about microbiology could chime in about the effectiveness of Star San at sanitizing or how to go about testing it. Personally, I haven't had an obvious infection since I started using star san a couple years ago but I doubt the claim that it doesn't add any taste to your beer. Get 2 glasses, rinse one in star san and then fill them both up...you can taste it...whether or not that taste will fade is a little harder to test.
From what I have read is most bacteria do not tolerate an acid environment, which is the joy of brewing yeasts as they can tolerate down to about a 2.5 PH (toxic to most bacteria).

Starsan is basically phosphoric acid (and some other acid that I cannot spell) and when mixed (1oz to 5 gallons of water) properly should provide (and is most effective at) a PH that is 3.0 or less. With that PH range and a contact time of 1 to 2 minutes most bacteria should be eliminated.

I have sprayed star san solution (properly diluted of course) on my tongue and it is about the the tartness of lemon juice, which coincidentally has a PH of about 2.5! I DO NOT advocate the spraying of Star San on any living organism, except bacteria
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:09 PM   #17
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StarSan is easy to test. As noted above, it is an acid sanitizer, and its pH must be below 3(ish?) to work effectively. I have some pH test strips which work in that range so I can confirm my StarSan will still sanitize effectively after sitting for weeks or months. It always reads below 3, and I typically throw it out after several months because of the junk floating in it and not because its pH is too high.

Actually, it's even easier to test... I use StarSan and my beer is not infected. Therefore, StarSan works!

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Old 05-11-2012, 09:34 PM   #18
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http://www.fivestarchemicals.com/wp-...ar-San-HB4.pdf does not support a lot of the commonly held beliefs about the product (ie. the foam sanitizes on contact, it works when applied via spray bottle) due to the 3 to 5 minute contact time it recommends.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbx View Post
http://www.fivestarchemicals.com/wp-content/uploads/Star-San-HB4.pdf does not support a lot of the commonly held beliefs about the product (ie. the foam sanitizes on contact, it works when applied via spray bottle) due to the 3 to 5 minute contact time it recommends.
How about you link to the product most of us actually buy instead of the dumbed down HB version?

http://www.fivestarchemicals.com/wp-...arSanTech5.pdf

And, remember this is "contact time" not submersion time. My Star San does not evaporate on contact. In fact, it takes several minute to dry off.
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