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Old 08-31-2009, 05:41 PM   #1
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Default New keg, caustic cleaner, rinsing mistake?

Hi all,
In my eagerness to keg my first batch of beer that I have brewed, I think I made a mistake.

I have a reconditioned keg that I got from Midwest. They clean them with a "caustic cleaner" and recommend that you rinse it prior to sanitizing.

Well I didn't. What I did was dump out any liquid in the keg, then went through sanitation with Star-San. I used about two gallons of Star-San, dumped out the Star-San, left the foam, and racked the beer to the keg.

I don't think any of the existing "caustic cleaner" that Midwest used could have remained, but thought I would ask anyway. I wouldn't want to get sick off my first batch because I forgot to rinse. That would suck. lol

Any input is appreciated.

--jake

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Old 08-31-2009, 05:59 PM   #2
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it all depends on how strong their caustic cleaner was but i with a few gallons of your sanitizer you should probably be alright. Star san is a somewhat acidic santizer.

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Old 08-31-2009, 06:02 PM   #3
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I'm not sure what cleaner they use, but if you sanitized and dumped the water, I think you'll be fine, don't worry about it. Worst case scenario, the beer will have an off smell and/or taste. If there are no off tastes/smells, drink up. Luck - Dwain

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Old 08-31-2009, 06:07 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I figured the Star-San would probably save me. Here is hoping there are no off flavors.

Caustic just means acidic then doesn't it? I guess at that point you are talking about concentrations with regards to getting ill.

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Old 08-31-2009, 08:07 PM   #5
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The caustics I have used are a base or hydroxide type cleanser/detergent, so above 7 on the pH, with Star San being the acid or less than 7. Absolute worst case scenario would be you mix them in a closed environment and they produce a toxic fume… Of which you end up taking a big wiff and… *thud*

Sorry for the scare/drama but it is a possibility when dealing with cleansers and sanitizers of these types. All too often people mix household chemicals that cause dangerous reactions, without much thought or margin of safety.

But the good news in my opinion the worst they did was neutralized each other enough to reduce the effectiveness of your Star San... and I doubt it myself. I have made the exact same mistake with one of my kegs from Midwest and the beer is good.

Of course not knowing the caustic used, or consulting a text book, who knows what salt is created. That could be toxic as well… I am not too worried though, just making sure I don’t repeat the error.

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Old 08-31-2009, 08:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwhirry View Post
The caustics I have used are a base or hydroxide type cleanser/detergent, so above 7 on the pH, with Star San being the acid or less than 7. Absolute worst case scenario would be you mix them in a closed environment and they produce a toxic fume… Of which you end up taking a big wiff and… *thud*

Sorry for the scare/drama but it is a possibility when dealing with cleansers and sanitizers of these types. All too often people mix household chemicals that cause dangerous reactions, without much thought or margin of safety.

But the good news in my opinion the worst they did was neutralized each other enough to reduce the effectiveness of your Star San... and I doubt it myself. I have made the exact same mistake with one of my kegs from Midwest and the beer is good.

Of course not knowing the caustic used, or consulting a text book, who knows what salt is created. That could be toxic as well… I am not too worried though, just making sure I don’t repeat the error.
Wow thanks for the knowledge, I appreciate it.


I peed in a toilet once that still had bleach in it ... luckily I survived OK, but wow ... my eyes and lungs hurt for a long time. Seemed like it took a week to air out the bathroom. lol Chlorine gas I think is what I made by accident.
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:37 PM   #7
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Maybe email them and ask what cleaner they use. Caustic is pretty nasty stuff. There is so much splash potential when cleaning kegs. I would venture to say they are using something closer to PBW.

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Old 08-31-2009, 08:44 PM   #8
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FYI guys, caustic cleaners are 99% of the time a base bath, i.e. high pH. The fact that starsan is an acid should have neutralized the caustic and removed it from the sidewalls of the keg. FYI mixing a minimal amount of caustic and starsan is not going to produce any nasty chemicals. Now if you mixed like a 1/1 ratio you would probably have some interesting results.

Like mixing bleach with ammonia or CLR if done correctly the fumes will easily get you dead. If you accidentally mix a little with the residual in a bucket nothing is going to happen. I would assume you are fine, but for sure smell the beer before you drink it! And dump the first pint as the dip tube may not have been rinsed out all that well (you should do this anyway to remove the yeast buildup in the keg).

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Old 08-31-2009, 09:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewin_CRAZY View Post
FYI mixing a minimal amount of caustic and starsan is not going to produce any nasty chemicals. Now if you mixed like a 1/1 ratio you would probably have some interesting results.
There was maybe a few tablespoons in it of whatever cleaner they use, that I dumped out prior to using the Star-San. So any caustic cleaner left was residual/drops of it.

Thanks for the advice on the tube.

I will be smelling/hopefully drinking some of in a few days, I will have to let you all know I am still alive.
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Old 09-01-2009, 01:25 PM   #10
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Many commercial lines use sodium hydroxide (lye) to clean kegs. It simply works. NAOH is nasty stuff and should be handled with care.

That said: for liability reasons there is no way they would ship a keg with full strength caustic still inside. Kegs are undoubtedly rinsed before shipping. The rinse statement is simply one of liability - "we rinsed, but you may want to do better."

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