Originally Posted by BrewinBigD
any input on this method of sanitizing?
You may want to use a lower concentration of bleach. I think the recommended amount is 1 oz per 5 gallons, so if you have a 6.5 gal primary fermenter, add a little more to compensate.
I used bleach for several years before switching to iodophor. Bleach didn't cause me any problems, but some claim that it needs to be rinsed thoroughly from your equipment before using it or you could have some "band-aid" flavor from it. However, if you rinse the bleach off, you could end up adding undesired micro-organisms (bacteria, yeasts, etc.) to your equipment surface.
The commercial no-rinse sanitizers don't have the problems I mentioned above. I chose iodophor because it's cheap, quick (2 minutes contact time), and effective, and it's a no-rinse sanitizer at a concentration of 12 ppm (the directions iwll tell you how much to use). I bought a gallon of it several years ago for less than $40 and it will last me many years. It was packaged as a dairy equipment sanitizer but was the same thing as BTF iodophor, which costs more. Even the BTF brand is fairly inexpensive compared to Star San and some other commercial products.
I think it's Star San that foams and claims to be able to penetrate into cracks and crevices in your equipment. I don't personally think that the foaming would be any better than a water-iodophor liquid penetrating into those places, but there may be something to that.
One thing that is a big negative about iodophor--it stains!!! It can stain your equipment if it's plastic. The stain will not affect your brewing process one bit, but it may put you off visually. And, if you're not a careful person, it can stain clothing, floors, concrete, and other things. Some of these stains will come out with an oxygen or chlorine bleach if you need to remove them.
Products like Star San don't stain, and for that reason many choose to use it instead of the less expensive but still effective iodophor.
Chlorine (before it's diluted) can bleach out clothing pretty quickly, as you probably are aware, so it has some of the concerns that iodophor does. Chlorine bleach also can corrode stainless steel, so you don't want to leave it in any SS container very long. Iodophor, in the recommended concentration, doesn't exhibit this problem. Be sure to buy a bleach with no scent in it or you will be sorry!!! :-)
That said, many brewers have used chlorine without any issues at all and have never switched to another sanitizer. The idea someone mentioned about using vinegar with chlorine to make a no-rinse sanitizer is probably a good idea, because the chlorine works better at a lower pH (in an acid environment), if I remember correctly, and vinegar would drop the pH of a solution since it's 5% (normally) acetic acid.
Here's a link:
1 oz (white, not apple cider type) vinegar in 5 gal of water, mix, then add 1 oz chlorine bleach. (adjust for a larger volume)
The information didn't say how long to leave your equipment soak in it. I would think that at least 5 minutes would be needed but perhaps someone on this forum knows more about this.