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Old 01-15-2013, 04:48 PM   #1
DonLiguori
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Jan 2009
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First, the question at hand: If you *accidentally* add StarSan sanitizer to your wort pre-boil, what will this do to the finished product?

To explain:
This is horribly embarrassing to even admit to as I've been homebrewing for years now, but I finally made a mistake that I just couldn't RDWHAHB to. I was draining off the wort from my mash tun into an Ale Pail (to roughly measure the volume) and transferring the wort from there into the brew kettle outside in the bitter cold. But after the first runnings, when I went to collect the first sparge, I grabbed the bucket I had brought up for sanitizing the post-boil equipment, which contained only the 1 oz. StarSan I had put in it. I realized after that it was the wrong bucket, mostly because there was a ridiculous amount of foam building up, and it was too high of a volume to just throw away without making the whole brew-day worthless. So I boiled it all and plowed ahead like nothing happened, all the while worrying that this batch was done for.

I know StarSan stops being an active sanitizer as pH gets more neutral, and since this was a fairly light blonde ale I'm hoping the pH got above the threshold to keep it from killing off pitched yeast. I was also hoping that the boil would provide enough energy to possibly break down the sanitizing chemical or cause it to react with the wort in such a way as to deactivate it's properties but not take a large crap on the flavor. I'm aware that StarSan becomes a yeast nutrient in the long run when it's just the foam in the bucket that gets left behind, I've just never heard of an entire ounce of it going into the fermenter.

Luckily, I pitched two packets of dry yeast in the first place (I keep meaning to finish the soldering on my stir-plate to do starters), so even if some of the yeast got offed the fermentation has seemed to be going okay. My only concern is the off-flavors that could be coming out of this, which would be detrimental to a lighter ale.

 
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:57 PM   #2
GrogNerd
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I don't know what will happen to your brew, but I'm subbed to find out others' opinions and how this turns out.

my guess is that it will have no effect on fermentation, but might effect flavor.

good luck!
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:34 PM   #3
zachattack
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Hmm this is a new one. So you added 1 oz of starsan concentrate to 5 gallons of beer?

I don't think this is dangerous, since it's the same concentration as properly diluted star san. But it might make for an interesting sour beer...

 
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:36 PM   #4
HawksBrewer
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I would be concerned about the toxicity even from just 1 oz in 5 gallons since you would actually be drinking it. That's just me though.

 
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:42 PM   #5
zachattack
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The amount of phosphoric acid present in properly diluted Star San is lower than in Coke.

 
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:45 PM   #6
runbad
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If it turns out well maybe you just found a new additive

 
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:49 PM   #7
zachattack
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Some people add phosphoric acid to their beers to sour them intentionally! I say give it a taste.

 
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:55 PM   #8
cpesko
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Isn't there a number on the starsan bottle? Also, I am pretty sure there is a warning on the back that says do not drink. If you drink call poison control. I dont know this guy apparently drank some in this thread.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/star...bottle-198854/


I personally would probably count it as a loose and brew a new batch. Is 30 bucks worth the risk?

 
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:56 PM   #9
DonLiguori
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I'm not concerned with the phosphoric acid at all, it's the surfactant/detergent chemical Dodecylbenzene sulfonic acid (Laurylbenzenesulfonic acid) that has me concerned. This may be the foamiest beer ever made, but if it didn't get broken down at all (or just enough) there's a chance it'll taste pretty bizarre and possibly be a stomach irritant. I'm looking into the toxicity of the chemical now to see if there's a health risk involved.

 
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:04 PM   #10
SpentGrains
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I'm no chemist or biologist but I think that the wort should not ferment properly unless the boil did somehow break down the starsan (don't know how that would happen). Water (pH around 7) with Starsan added brings the solution down to under 3.5 for an effective sanitizer. Beer is more acidic than water (less than 7) so the pH of the starsan wort should still be less than 3.5, making it too hostile of an environment for the yeast to thrive.

That is my hypothesis. Test the pH of the wort and get back to us OP.

 
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