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Old 11-02-2012, 08:24 PM   #51
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In general, I don't find them convincing because they make an assumption that I don't know the basis for. It may be that pH < 3 is a guarantee that is sanitizes adequately, but I don't know why, or how much greater than 3 is still low enough to be effective.

It's an indirect argument. It doesn't mean it's wrong, just that it relies on something not being tested. Since the question is something along the lines of, "Does Star-San in condition X kill enough bacteria to prevent infection," the closer you can get to testing whether the Star-San is killing bacteria, the better.

There is a specific statement that I think makes it important to do this test rather than pH. Earlier, the chemist behind Star-San was quoted as saying that the solution must both be at low-pH *and* not be cloudy. That suggests that if it's low-pH but is cloudy, then it won't sanitize. Just testing the pH doesn't address this specific point.

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Old 11-02-2012, 08:57 PM   #52
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Yeah I agree that actual testing would be great, I'm still skeptical that acidity alone isn't enough to sanitise based on cheese making experience as I mentioned. Ordinary white vinegar tends to be in the range of 2.5-3.5 ph and is adequate.

If I made a product that went cloudy over time and encouraged people to throw that product away when it went cloudy so that they would buy more of my product, then that would make good business sense to me. I'm not saying this is the case but I'm not ruling it out either. Especially when I know that under similar circumstances a substance with a ph in that range is satisfactory to sanitise a bacteria vulnerable process.

I wonder if there are any microbiology undergrads out there that need a project to get their teeth into?

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Old 11-02-2012, 10:08 PM   #53
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Someone with access to an actual bio lab would be in a better position to do this than me. I've figured out how to obtain sterile petri dishes and agar, but I'm not totally sure I'll both sink the money for it and be able to pull off sufficiently clean conditions to avoid total contamination. (Though I guess it'd only be a problem for the control; if everything else grows colonies, that'd answer a lot of questions...)

And, like I said, I just don't know enough about the biology to know whether pH is sufficient to sanitize. It could be that it is, it could be that it isn't, or it could be that it's ok for cheese but not beer, since cheese relies on bacteria rather than yeast, so it is conceivable that it's different opportunistic invaders that one has to worry about. I really don't know.

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Old 11-02-2012, 10:16 PM   #54
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All I know is,the under 3 PH factor makes my beer safely every time. I filtered my starsan this time right before using it to bottle my first pm pale ale. I'll report back how it turns out in my thread about it. That should help settle things.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:21 AM   #55
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We need passedpawn back on the forum he might be into conducting and experiment like this, and he definitely had both the equipment and brains.

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:47 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papadrone
Really appreciated the time and effort you put into this. You answered some important questions for me.
Your welcome
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:54 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icenine61 View Post
The point of this entire disagreement is that you are perpetuating and ultimately promoting untested and off label use of a product to a very new subset of impressionable young brewers. The posters in the beginners board are the ones that will likely have the most difficulty with sanitation issues anyway.
I disagree that using cloudy Star San is "untested and off label". It has been field tested by many on this forum using pH strips and pH meters to determine that although cloudy, the pH is still within the recommended pH guidelines. In addition, the label on my Star San says nothing about cloudy Star San. I do agree with other comments that Star San is relatively inexpensive; when in doubt, it's best to make a fresh batch.

I don't think it's disingenuous for people to mention there experiences. I'd recommend that any new brewers run their own pH test if they choose to reuse their Star San. Or, simply use a new solution each time they require sanitizer.

I know when I first started using Star San that I watched several youtube videos of people conducting pH tests on cloudy Star San. For example,
, I know there are others that better show the affects of longer term storage. Also, from HBT, http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/star-san-cloudiness-lab-report-103337/ (just one of several threads on this forum discussing pH tests of cloudy Star San).
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:32 AM   #58
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I made my choice based on the science and confirmed tests done by the factory. In my professional life policy, procedure, and accepted use as published by known reliable sources is the only option with no deviations being accepted. So forgive me if what I consider getting lucky a few times by painting even a little outside the lines is not acceptable.

For the record. The statements made by the chemists at the factory were designed as separate criteria. Somewhere in this thread that was lost. If you are following the efficacy testing procedure to the letter you would.

First, measure the PH a reading of <3.0 is within normal limits.

Second, subjectively measure the clarity of your solution. Clear being within normal limits.

If any of those tests produce results outside normal limits the solution would fail and should be discarded.


To ensure that I heard him correctly I listened to the podcasts again. Below are his statements with minimal paraphrasing.


Charley very clearly states several times that with deionized water the chemical will last for months with no issues. The minerals in the water react with the chemical and create a hard water soap. The hard water soap makes the product go cloudy and causes a film similar to that in your bathtub.

He further states that as long as the solution is within normal PH you will continue to sanitize but you will leave behind a film that is not present in clear solution.

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Old 11-05-2012, 04:42 AM   #59
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Ok, one more comment.
Again, my water turns Star-San cloudy immediately, I see nothing on the bottle saying Star San is only effective IF your water is not hard and contains no minerals.
In fact I doubt that the FDA would approve of it as a sanitizer used in restaurants and bars if it had that caveat.
Let the chemist say what he wants, I have to rely on the information printed right on the bottle. If Star San is not effective in hard water because it turns cloudy then that really should be printed on the label and not just mentioned in some obscure podcast.
PS: for the record, I only store small amounts of mixed Star San and only for very short amount of time ( a few days) when I have several samples to take over those days. aside from that I mix fresh for the most part and discard after use, but again, because of my water it turns cloudy right after mixing.

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Old 11-05-2012, 01:49 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icenine61 View Post
I made my choice based on the science and confirmed tests done by the factory. In my professional life policy, procedure, and accepted use as published by known reliable sources is the only option with no deviations being accepted. So forgive me if what I consider getting lucky a few times by painting even a little outside the lines is not acceptable.
Good for you.

In my professional life, sometimes the confirmed tests done by the factory are too conservative and don't adequately match the conditions under which the product will be used or the requirements it needs to meet. The factory does not have a monopoly as a reliable source, and most manufacturers and engineers I have worked with do their own testing, even if the specs guarantee it meets a requirement.

It's also worth noting, as others have, that the manufacturer's directions on the package do not make any reference to cloudiness, using distilled water, etc. So it's simply not true that using hard tap water is, "Off label use."

Finally, if you want to belittle the collective experience of the homebrewers here, that's fine. But it isn't going to make their beer suddenly start spoiling.
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