Originally Posted by OKCAg2002
A quarter? It's more like several dollars per batch if you don't reuse it. 5 gallons on bottling day and 5 gallons on brew day. It adds up. Maybe I'm just cheap.
Well, you don't need to make 5 gallons and fill the bucket all the way up. One gallon will do if you are careful to have the liquid and bubbles make contact with every surface of the bucket a few times.
If you're buying your Star San from the local shop, you may be getting gouged. A 32oz bottle is about $23 from Amazon, and should provide enough sanitizer for at least 60 or so batches.
After twenty or so batches, I had an IPA unexpectedly turn out with a very sour finish. I closely examined my process and determined that I had become complacent in several key areas of cleanliness and sanitation - namely my plastic tubing, auto-siphon, and bottling bucket spigot.
When bottling, my usual process had been to simply pump a little Star San solution through my tubing using my auto-siphon. After bottling, I ran a little more Star San through both items and called it a day. Unfortunately, Star San is a great sanitizer, but does not clean very well at all. My tubing and auto-siphon would dry out leaving behind a very faint, sugary film upon which all kinds of nasty things probably took root. Since switching to a careful rinse, clean with Straight A, rinse, sanitize with Star San process, I have not had any more noticeable bacterial contaminations (noticeable by my palate, at least).
Additionally, I discovered that my bottling bucket spigot was harboring some black sludge-like material in hard-to-reach corners. I had been rinsing it off with Star San after every use, but clearly that wasn't doing the trick. I am very careful now to disassemble it after every use and thoroughly clean it before putting it away.