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Old 08-19-2011, 01:12 PM   #1
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Default StarSan Question

So I'm in the middle of my first batch, and I'm still learning as I go. Through my travels here I've noticed that it seems many of you are using StarSan for sanitizing your equipment, and it seems many are using a batch 'long term', rather than mixing a batch each time you need it. So my question is how long do you typically keep a batch of StarSan before disposing of it? How do you know when it's time to make a fresh batch? And how/where are you storing it when it's not being used? It seems like a great idea to keep some on hand. I'd hate to have to make a fresh batch everytime I want to use my thief to take a sample.

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Old 08-19-2011, 01:18 PM   #2
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If you make it with distilled or deionized water, it will last a while. You can usually tell when it is time to make a new batch when the solution turns cloudy. There may be a few more answers, but that is what I do.

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Old 08-19-2011, 01:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by malc View Post
If you make it with distilled or deionized water, it will last a while. You can usually tell when it is time to make a new batch when the solution turns cloudy. There may be a few more answers, but that is what I do.
Be careful about this whole "starsan is bad when it's cloudy" business.

The opacity of Star-San is very much dependent on water chemistry. The Starsan stuff I make is cloudy, and I haven't had an infection in 50+ gallons.

The best way to test if a star-san solution is still viable is to test it's pH. If the pH is lower than 3.5, it is still viable.


But yes, used distilled or de-ionized water to make star san solution and leave it in a sealed container-- it'll last for half a year or more. Always test the pH of your solution, though.
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:41 PM   #4
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I typically use a batch a few times before I discard it. I'll mix up a 5 gallon batch when I need it and store it in a 5gal bucket with a lid. I also mix up a 1gal batch in a gallon of distilled water (6ml of starsan concentrate) to fill up my spray bottle when it needs topped off. When mixed with RO or Distilled water StarSan will keep almost indefinitely.

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Old 08-19-2011, 02:01 PM   #5
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Grab some PH test strips next time you are at your LHBS or making a purchase online, it will put your mind at ease. Test each time before you use it.

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Old 08-19-2011, 02:01 PM   #6
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I make a gallon with distilled water to put in my spray bottle. On brew day, I'll mix up a gallon or so with my normal tap water to use for brewing. You don't need to fill everything to the top with Star San. I usually add about a quart or two to the fermentor and shake it around.

If the surface gets wet, it will sanitize it.

I keep the spray bottle handy to do those things that only need a surface coating.

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Old 08-19-2011, 02:22 PM   #7
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when sanatizing bottles or kegs do you do this as well? I could see this being useful for buckets, lids, less so for strainers and sieves, and borderline useless for carboys. Are my fears unfounded and can I actually do this or does it just still mean that I need to soak everything.

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Old 08-19-2011, 02:28 PM   #8
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Yes. I keg and occassionally bottle. So I put a small amount in the keg, cover it and shake it. Then I push that small amount out with co2. The lid I soak, and I spray the disconnects with my star san spray bottle.

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Old 08-19-2011, 02:33 PM   #9
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I mix 5 gallons when ever I brew, or need a vessel sanitized. I refill a squirt bottle with fresh Starsan from that batch. This way I'm replacing that squirt bottle every 2 weeks or so just to be sure it's effective.

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Old 08-19-2011, 02:36 PM   #10
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I don't really pay attention to how long I keep it, but I do test the pH regularly. I find the test strips made for wine are the best thing for testing StarSan, as they are much more sensitive than the wide-range pH strips, and have a lower range than the ones made for testing mash pH.

I tend to spray a lot of things for "on the go" sanitizing like thermometer probes, but most other things like hoses, airlocks, etc. get a soak in the bucket. For buckets and carboys I usually pour about 2 gallons into them and shake it to make the foam rise, and then dump the StarSan back into my bucket for reuse.

Whenever I'm concerned that my StarSan is no more good as a sanitizer, I pour it off into another bucket and make a fresh solution of 3-4 gallons. The old solution gets used to soak Stone and other painted bottles in. Bottle paint will come off very easily after a week's soak in StarSan.

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