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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Life of sanitizer
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:03 PM   #41
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Ok, I can see I'm going to have to follow through on the crazy idea I had in the shower last week. I'm going to get some Petri dishes and some agar and run some tests. It shouldn't be too hard to get results conclusive enough to use in homebrewing contexts, I don't think.

Plan would be something like:
- 2 month-old (maybe older) starsan (hard water, distilled water)
- 2 fresh starsan (hard, distilled)
- 2 no starsan (hard, distilled)
- 2 no application at all

Somehow, inoculate all of these (except for one of the no application) with kitchen / brewery bacteria/yeast, then apply the sanitizer and sit back and let 'em go. The other untouched sample is kept as a control.

I'm not sure of the best ways to do inoculation or application, suggestions welcome. I saw a thread describing someone's test of starsan vs iodophor (I think), that used paper circles soaked in the sanitizer, but they seemed to have some trouble with evaporation. It could be a spritz, but I'm worried that this wouldn't be a good test of surface sanitization since the agar medium isn't really a hard, sanitizable surface.

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Old 11-02-2012, 05:26 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeg View Post
Ok, I can see I'm going to have to follow through on the crazy idea I had in the shower last week. I'm going to get some Petri dishes and some agar and run some tests. It shouldn't be too hard to get results conclusive enough to use in homebrewing contexts, I don't think.

Plan would be something like:
- 2 month-old (maybe older) starsan (hard water, distilled water)
- 2 fresh starsan (hard, distilled)
- 2 no starsan (hard, distilled)
- 2 no application at all

Somehow, inoculate all of these (except for one of the no application) with kitchen / brewery bacteria/yeast, then apply the sanitizer and sit back and let 'em go. The other untouched sample is kept as a control.

I'm not sure of the best ways to do inoculation or application, suggestions welcome. I saw a thread describing someone's test of starsan vs iodophor (I think), that used paper circles soaked in the sanitizer, but they seemed to have some trouble with evaporation. It could be a spritz, but I'm worried that this wouldn't be a good test of surface sanitization since the agar medium isn't really a hard, sanitizable surface.
Love this idea, I've also been kicking it around in my head for a while. For inoculating the samples, how about just rubbing them on the kitchen counter, or even better, a used dish washing sponge.

As for the agar, that stuff has the consistency of jello, right? I agree that a spray might not be the most effective on that type of surface. I wonder if you could just immerse the samples in starsan, or if they would dissolve.
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:55 PM   #43
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OK - so how long is the Starsan concentrate good for?
I'm wondering this also. I just inherited an almost full bottle but I noticed tha manufacture date was 2009.
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:11 PM   #44
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Nice test, I saw a 6 week test on youtube with a number of different test batches but that test was just measuring PH and in all the samples the PH stayed close to 3 for the entire time.
I like the idea of actually testing effectiveness.

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Old 11-02-2012, 06:12 PM   #45
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I bought an 8oz bottle of starsan early last year,like February. I only used about 1/2" out of the bottle,& it's still good. As long as you keep it sealed,it should last a really long time. I use the measure built into the bottle to measure up 3/4's of the way to the quarter ounce mark for 1 gallon of water. Works great & lasts a long time. I'm using 2 .5G vodka jugs (usually for blow offs) with a funnel & coffee filters to filter it out. Keeps the pet dander & grainy srtuff out,& it's a tiny hair less cloudy.
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:56 PM   #46
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Yeah, I don't think arguments based on pH are fully convincing. At least, they rely on the assumption that some target pH value guarantees efficacy. I'm not a biologist, so I don't know one way or the other, but I think the direct test would eliminate any doubt. That is, assuming it doesn't give equivocal results.

I've been thinking a bit more about inoculation and sanitizer application. Perhaps the best way to do it would be to start with something glass, plastic, or metal---relatively non-porous and similar to the materials we actually use for brewing. Somehow apply bacteria to this, and then sanitize it with a spritzer and let it sit for the recommended contact time (30 or 60 seconds or whatever it is for Star-San). Finally, smear this on the surface of the agar and seal.

I think this would work better than trying to sanitize the inoculated agar, and it fairly well simulates the kind of contact infection we're trying to prevent through sanitization.

I'm thinking a plastic spoon would be a good infection device. I suppose just licking it would probably give a pretty good lacto infection!

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Old 11-02-2012, 08:05 PM   #47
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Yeah, I don't think arguments based on pH are fully convincing. At least, they rely on the assumption that some target pH value guarantees efficacy. I'm not a biologist, so I don't know one way or the other, but I think the direct test would eliminate any doubt. That is, assuming it doesn't give equivocal results.

I've been thinking a bit more about inoculation and sanitizer application. Perhaps the best way to do it would be to start with something glass, plastic, or metal---relatively non-porous and similar to the materials we actually use for brewing. Somehow apply bacteria to this, and then sanitize it with a spritzer and let it sit for the recommended contact time (30 or 60 seconds or whatever it is for Star-San). Finally, smear this on the surface of the agar and seal.

I think this would work better than trying to sanitize the inoculated agar, and it fairly well simulates the kind of contact infection we're trying to prevent through sanitization.

I'm thinking a plastic spoon would be a good infection device. I suppose just licking it would probably give a pretty good lacto infection!
If you are going to lick it as a control I suggest you mix small batches of sanitizer at different intervals, also tap water vs distilled and do your licking all at the same time as your bacterial count in your mouth can vary from day to day.
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:38 PM   #48
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Is it Starsan or iphodor? If its iphodor it's one time use if its Starsan it is good until the Ph level drops to a certain level, I don't remember it at the moment. I switched to Starsan and I keep it in a 5 gallon bucket and switch it every few months. There is a YouTube video that Immolatious did over a several month period showing how long it can keep. Check out this video on YouTube:<br/><br/>http://youtu.be/_niSffyAXO0.
Really appreciated the time and effort you put into this. You answered some important questions for me.
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:47 PM   #49
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Default Farm Supply Iodine

Thought I would offer my 2cents worth. I picked up a gallon of Iodine Wound Spray at the farm supply several years ago for $ 11.00 I think. Bought a 1oz ketchup pump and found several used 1 oz pill cups, free frosting buckets from Publics. On brew day I mix 1/4 oz iodine and 2 1/2 gal in the bucket. That lasts through the brew week, sanitizing all the hoses, carboys, and corni kegs, etc. Lets see 1 gal=128 oz x 4= 400 to 500 brew days. Come to think about that, at my age I might want to bequeath whats left to one of my Brew Buddys

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Old 11-02-2012, 09:01 PM   #50
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Yeah, I don't think arguments based on pH are fully convincing.
I'd like to query your rational for that part of your comment if I may. The reason I ask is that lots of cheese making instructions and guides recommend sanitising work surfaces and utensils solely with vinegar. I've always worked on the basis of if its good enough for cheese making then a low ph (I.e acid) will be perfectly suitable to sanitise for beer too. I may be wrong and you might know something I don't so just curious why you are unconvinced by ph arguments?
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