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Charlie Talley (Five-Star Chemicals) Notes from Brewcasts

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WortMonger

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Notes from the Charlie Talley on brewingnetwork.com’s Podcast on the Sunday Session.
Podcast

Ok, so I took some notes during the podcast so I could remember this stuff and thought I’d write them into a nice little overview of what I heard. They are my notes remember, so there is more information for what I use for my cleaning procedures. Charlie sure seems like a nice guy and smart when it comes to the best no-rinse sanitizer out there in my opinion.


First, we have Star-San. Star-San was Five-Star’s answer to Iodiphor. Star-San is an “acid rinse” when measured at 1oz. per 5 gallons of water. Its chemical composition is a typical soap, like that found in tooth paste called DDBSA (dodecylbenzyl sulfonic acid) + food grade phosphoric acid. It stops working when the pH gets above 3.5 and so if diluted in wort acts as a yeast nutrient/food. Star-San will “last forever” if RO or distilled water is used to mix it and it stays enclosed like in a spray bottle, but it lasts a long time anyway and can be used multiple times or up to about 3 months. The product will turn opaque in iron or manganese rich water. Star-San has a contact time of 3 minutes (EPA) or 30 seconds per Charlie. If plastic soaked in Star-San becomes cloudy, soak in PBW to turn the plated soap (film on the plastic) back into the detergent it is supposed to be. The remaining foam after use is ok and has no detrimental effects on your beer, such as head retention. Charlie recommends 30 seconds to 1 minute soak for copper and aluminum, and says they should never be left to soak any longer than 3-4 hours. In other words don’t soak overnight, it only hurts not helps. Star-San is different as a sanitizer than Iodine and bleach, because both of those contain halogens which are called “blind sanitizers.” These halogens will not kill in the presence of sugar and actually attack the sugar first before going after any bacteria. On an end note for this wonderful sanitizer, it will clear up toe-jam.


Next, is Sani-Clean. Sani-Clean is not an EPA recognized sanitizer due to tougher laws that dictate labeling it as such, but it is basically just Star-San without the foam. The other difference is that it is weaker so you have to use more, 1oz. per 3 gallons of water. There really isn’t much more to say about this product other than, if you don’t like the foam use this.


Last, he has PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash). This is a non-caustic cleaner that basically oxygenates proteins and then breaks them apart with meta-silicates, among other things. DO NOT CLEAN TEFLON COATED ITEMS!!!! PBW will get right underneath the Teflon coating and lift the coating right off a pan/whatever. Rubbers and plastics like Buna and Viton are fine but others will get destroyed over time. Charlie recommends 1-2oz. per 5 gallons of water for multiple cleaning uses, mostly relying on 1oz. per 5 gallons though. Great for cleaning carbon off cookware (grill, casserole dish, etc.).


Very interesting podcast I recommend everyone hear to get the whole story. I focused my attention on the Star-San and PBW. Hope you guys find it informative.

Here's another podcast about Charlie Talley. This one starts downloading to play immediately so you have to wait a minute after clicking the link.
 

Beerrific

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Yeah, those are both great interviews. I basically went out and replaced my iodophor with Star San after hearing it and haven't looked back. I also have been using the same bottle (concentrate) for 9 months, and I am probably only half way done with it. You really can't beat it.

Does someone who is more wiki-savvy want to add WortMonger's notes to the Wiki (I say this without even looking to see if anything is there;) )?
 

Wayne1

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WortMonger said:
Last, he has PBW (Professional Brewery Wash). This is a non-caustic cleaner that basically oxygenates proteins and then breaks them apart with meta-silicates, amongst other things. DO NOT CLEAN TEFLON!!!! PBW will lift the Teflon coating right off a pan. Rubbers and plastics like Buna and Viton are fine but others will get destroyed over time. Charlie recommends 1-2oz. per 5 gallons of water for multiple cleaning uses, mostly relying on 1oz. per 5 gallons though. Great for cleaning carbon off cookware (grill, casserole dish, etc.).
I worked with Charlie at Five Star for a few years. I have also been using PBW ever since it has been released.

There is one MAJOR omittance in the statement above. It should read "DO NOT CLEAN TEFLON COATED ITEMS"

PBW does NOT harm pure Teflon. IT does dissolve the bonding agent that holds the Teflon or Silverstone or any non-stick coating to a pot.

PBW works just fine for cleaning Teflon gaskets. It is a very safe alkaline cleaner. It does not need much in the way of mechanical agitation to clean. You can fill a carboy with a warm (100-120F) water and a low concentration PBW solution and it will be completely clean the following day.

StarSan is a great sanitizer. I always kept a spray bottle filled with it to sanitize sample cocks, valves and gaskets.
 

Wayne1

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Not to sound TOO much like a shill ;) but PBW is a great all around cleaner to use in a brewery.

The last pub I worked at had all the lines from the serving tanks to the faucets run with Teflon hoses. I cleaned those lines once a week with PBW. No problems with them to this day.

I used PBW to clean the heat exchanger every brew. You knew everything was done by the big color change as the PBW removed the last of the wort from the plates.

The nitric acid blend Charlie talks about in the interview is called ACID 5. It is used a lot to remove beer stone from brew kettles.

RockYard Brewery in Castle Rock, CO has some of what Charlie calls JC water, hard enough to walk on. :) The brew kettle is a 15 bbl, direct fired gas, rather than steam. The cleaning regimen was a bit longer than most. I hosed out the big stuff first. Then I ran ACID 5, rinsed, then PBW, rinse and THEN finished it off with some bleach and rinsed.

The high mineral content of the water coupled to the direct fire would create such a build up that the normal cleaning cycle of detergent followed by acid didn't remove everything. The running of acid first and using the sodium hypochlorite at the end ensured everything was removed by the CIP system
 
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WortMonger

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Thank you Wayne1, this is great info and I am sure everyone would love to keep hearing more tid-bits.

The brewery I worked at was 15 bbl direct fired gas. PNW system I thing, and man would the bottom of the kettle get nasty. We didn't have as hard a water as I do now here where I moved, but beer stone was ever present and constantly cleaned out of the kettle/jacketed fermenters/serving tanks.

I personally, use both PBW and Oxy-clean rinsing thoroughly afterwords and soaking again in either Star-San or homemade no-rinse sanitizer (Charlie's recipe- 1oz. vinegar/5 gallons water/then 1oz. bleach). I am so happy now, knowing that the same amount of Star-San can be used for months. Before I knew this, it used to be my major drawback for not using it. I "thought" it was expensive, but man with my setup I can purge from keg to keg sanitizing the whole way and still "save it all" in a spare 15.5 gallon Sanke. Wow, it is just way easier than before.

As for the PBW vs. Oxy-clean debate, I like both (depending). However, from my experiences on my system at home, PBW is far superior especially when time is a concern. I like to clean my brewery with PBW now, and my kegs and things (when not scheduled the same time as brewery cleaning) with Oxy-Clean where they can soak a couple of hours.

The PBW always cleans perfectly in an hour for my tuns and kettle. The first rinse is always a much less filmy surface than with Oxy-clean (not that this is a problem due to the next step). You can also still see more activity within the PBW when it is moved from one tun to the next. I always rinse first just with regular temperature tap water (hotter would be better), followed by a full soak in 1 cup white vinegar per full tun/keg (15 gallon). Afterwords, is another rinse with regular temperature tap water. They stay this way until brew day and then get sanitized right before use so I can hit my grant/pump/wort chiller at the same time.

This is where it comes into being so cool on my system. I just empty the Star-San keg into the mash tun, wait 3 minutes, empty into my kettle, start recirculating through my grant/pump/chiller and back into the kettle until a couple of minutes have passed, and then the pump moves it back into the storage keg for next use. I lose a little bit in the chiller and the lines, as well as the dead space in the bottom of the kettle. I simply soak up the kettle sanitizer with a rag I plan on using to wipe my hands while brewing, so nothing really goes to waste.

I really would love to hear more from you Wayne1, very informative so far.:rockin:

Edit: Oh, I changed the warning about Teflon. Hope your happy now Wayne :p , lol. Thank you for that, as it is a way more logical statement. I bet cleaning Teflon hoses is a dream compared to other types of plastic/rubber. As for the Wiki, I really wish I was better at that. Maybe someone could compile a bunch of information and people like Wayne could give everything they know for the thing, but I really do not know how to do the Wiki. Maybe, Orfy/Kaiser/Yuri or one of these other accomplished wikipedians could give me some pointers :).
 

Wayne1

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WortMonger,

StarSan CAN be used and re-used for quite some time. I really wouldn't keep it in a diluted state for months. A few weeks would be pushing it, IMHO.

I do think you might be over sanitizing. There is no need to sanitize your kettle. Everything is going to be boiled for at least 60 minutes and that SHOULD kill most nasties that I know of. Even your mash tun doesn't need to be super sanitized. A quick spritz of StarSan from a spray bottle before you mash in is plenty. Again, everything from the tun will be boiled.

If you are brewing in stainless, it is best to leave your gear in an acid state between use. Go ahead and clean everything, rinse with potable water and then wipe all the stainless down with an acid. A nitric/phosphoric blend would be best, but this is VERY nasty stuff. I mean rubber boots, gloves, eye protection, eye wash station near-by , etc. Not something you should really use at home unless you are familiar with Haz-mat handling.

A citric or phosphoric acid rinse would be fine and much safer. Right before you brew again, rinse the surfaces. If it is a fermenter, sanitize with StarSan, and just leave it in contact with the container right up until you transfer wort into it.

Beer stone is the participate of the minerals in your brewing water. It really can't be easily removed with alkaline detergents. You need to use an acid to easily remove it. Nitric blend is fast and dangerous. Phosphoric is safer but slower. Safe is a relative term when talking about acid. DO NOT HANDLE ANY ACID WITH BARE HANDS!! This includes Star-san in it's concentrated form. If you should by chance spill any concentrated Star-San on your skin RINSE IT RIGHT AWAY. If left alone it WILL rip a few layers of skin away.

I have always insisted on Teflon lined brewery hose. For a brew pub, it is an expensive up front cost, a hundred feet of 1 1/2" ID GoodYear hose IS NOT cheap. The big benefit is it will NEVER have to be replaced. It will not collapse with heat or pressure. It is also really easy to keep clean. It is not always fun to use inside a cooler. It does get stiff below 45 F. I have lots of memories of "wrestling with an anaconda" ;)
 
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WortMonger

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LOL, I know I am over sanitizing. Also, on a home brew scale, I am not really going to worry about anything like an acid state in between. The sanitizer in my tun and kettle are only a precaution as well as a gravity storage place on the sanitizer's way through all the cold side stuff I will be using in my brewery. Then it gets pumped back into the sanitizer storage keg.

Great advice about the concentrated Star-San. Charlie mentions that it has a buffer in it, just in case you get it on your skin you have time to wash it off. He mentioned having a hole in his calf from a splash-out of high acid from another product once.

On the multiple use issue or storing that long, if you are using it regularly then yes I would say you need to change it out more frequently. I don't use mine sometimes for a couple of weeks after the mix and first use, so I usually use it once more for the system and a couple of kegs and then dump. My problem is usually loss. I lose enough to not fill my Sankes and then it is time to make more. I do mix with RO water though. If I'm sanitizing for the day in a bucket, it is tap water mixed in.

Oh, on a funny note, my brewers taught me you can never over-clean, you can never over-sanitize. You can be over-confident that you did both. If this happens enough, then the only cleaning you have to worry about is the brewery bathroom, as a janitor! LOL. You are right that I do over-do it though for all the newbs reading out there.
 

EdWort

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Starsan can etch windows too if they have any type of energy efficient coating on them. You need to rinse it off ASAP if you splash any on them. Example is the kitchen window in front of the sink.
 
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LOL, that is really funny and good to know at the same time, lol. You pay all that money for something so expensive and a simple beer-maker's sanitizer etches your brand new Pella or Anderson windows.
 

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I need to find out if we're related. Maybe I'd get free Stan San for life. I only have about 2 or 3 ounces left.:D
 

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talleymonster said:
I need to find out if we're related. Maybe I'd get free Stan San for life. I only have about 2 or 3 ounces left.:D
LOL...when I first saw your name on the User Cp, I was expecting your to announce that you WERE chuck Talley...
 
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LOL, I'd opt for just 1% of his company and then try to sell everyone you meet on it for everything the produce, lol. He'd be like, "Cousins?????"
 

Dark_Ale

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I kept a keg of star san for cleaning, but dont leave your carboy brush in the mixture by accident for say......A week, It will eat up the flexible metal that the brushes are made of.....oooops, not that I have ever done it......:)
 

EdWort

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talleymonster said:
I need to find out if we're related. Maybe I'd get free Stan San for life. I only have about 2 or 3 ounces left.:D
Squatter's Brewery in SLC has a Jenny Talley who has loads of gold medals from GABF on her German style beers. Her Kolsch & Swartzbier are the two I could see from my seat at the bar.

Any relation?
 

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Wayne1 said:
WortMonger,

StarSan CAN be used and re-used for quite some time. I really wouldn't keep it in a diluted state for months. A few weeks would be pushing it, IMHO.
I agree with this statement "if" you aren't using pH papers to test your solutions. I mix my Star San with distilled or Reverse Osmosis water in 5 Gallon batches. Everytime I open the solution bottle (plastic carboy) I first shake it up and then pour some off to test.

For coming on 9 months now, I have had a 5 gallon mix of Star San that has yet to change pH from 3. It will store in solution much longer than you'd expect and you can use much less than you'd think prudent. A spray bottle to coat surfaces is really all you need.
 

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Agreed -- time should not be used to judge whether your Star San has lost its effectiveness or not. The clarity and pH of the solution are the only truly reliable indicators. If made from mineral-free water and stored in a non-reactive vessel, Star San will potentially keep for months (I have kept it in a glass carboy for 5 months, no problem).
 

RoseburgBrewer

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So...If its not good to soak for more than 3 hours with star san, where do you store your batch of star san when your done with it?
 
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I store it in a stainless keg if I have one free. The "no longer than 3-4 hours rule" is for copper and aluminum. You can save it in glass or stainless until you need it.
 

jp1316

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I'm not sure if this was answered already, but would it be ok to keep it in a plastic bucket(primary that came with my kit) with a lid?
 

paul_h

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But there's no point keeping it when mixed with tap water, the minerals and chlorine will rise the pH and it will be useless. If you plan to store, you need to only mix with demineralised or RO water.
I keep a plastic trigger pack on hand with a starsan/demineralised mix to spray everything I come in contact with on brew and bottling days. I also take it to work and spray any air conditioners that have built up odours due to bacteria breeding in evaporators.
 

Revvy

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But there's no point keeping it when mixed with tap water, the minerals and chlorine will rise the pH and it will be useless. If you plan to store, you need to only mix with demineralised or RO water.
I keep a plastic trigger pack on hand with a starsan/demineralised mix to spray everything I come in contact with on brew and bottling days. I also take it to work and spray any air conditioners that have built up odours due to bacteria breeding in evaporators.
+1 on this...use distilled, or preboiled water, and it will last a long time.
 

Beerrific

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But there's no point keeping it when mixed with tap water, the minerals and chlorine will rise the pH and it will be useless. If you plan to store, you need to only mix with demineralised or RO water.
This is not necessarily true. It depends on your water. I used to always mix this with DI water, ran out, then started using carbon filtered tap water. I have mixed some and after 3 weeks the pH was still below 3.5.
 

brett

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I usually just use 2 gallons of starsan, and I mix it with distilled water, then store it in the same plastic jugs that the water came in. You really don't need a whole bunch of it, and I'm certainly going to start using the spray bottle trick.

Best sanitizer on the market IMO.
 

JoePerri

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That is a very good question! I use 1.5oz per gallon. You go through it FAST at that rate. If I can get just as good performance with 2oz in five gallons I'll be happy.
 

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Thought I'd mention that the newest episode of Brew Strong is available: The Brewing Network.com - :

They interview Jon Herskovits of Five Star Chemicals on the topic of Sanitization and discuss the use of Star San, Iodophor, Bleach and other ways to sanitize. A couple weeks prior you can get their interview with him on the subject of cleaning.
 

wendelgee2

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The directions on the PBW say 1-2 oz per gallon. So is 1 oz per 5 galls good enough?
I second this question. Anybody remember what they said on Brewstrong?


Also, if you're going from a PBW scrubdown straight to the Star San rinse is there any reaction? Or, does the PBW negate the Star San...PBW being an alkali (basic) cleaner, and Star San being an acid sanitizer??
 

berwick12

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F***ing hell. I wish I read this sticky before I used PBW yesterday on my non stick bread pan and skillet. My dumb ass roommate doesn't believe in using coking oil, of any sort. Let the skillet soak and bread pan, the pans sucked anyways, but the PBW lifted about a 1/4 of the non stick coating in the bread pan. LOL
 

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The directions on the PBW say 1-2 oz per gallon. So is 1 oz per 5 galls good enough?
I was very curious about this as well so I emailed Five Star and asked them. This is the response:
Five Star Chemicals said:
PBW is effective at dilutions ranging from 0.6 oz (by weight) per gallon, which is 2-oz per 5 gallons, up to 2 oz per gallons for heavy soil loads. For great water profiles and low soil loads dilutions of only 1 oz per 5 gallons will still outperform water alone but that seems a bit weak a solution for most applications, even for the home brewer.
So I think I will use about 2-3 oz. per 5 gallons.

Joe
 

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Do all you weigh your pbw or just use a table spoon measurement like I do? So am I correct with 1/2 oz = 1 tbsp?
 

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Resurrecting here but I think it was Jon who said when it comes to PBW, consider the four factors CTTA Concentration, Time, Temperature, Agitation. He said it rinses easily and works well enough in cold water. I am always trying to save energy so I go low on the temperature and concentration part but go long on the time and agitation part. Great product.
 

starsailor

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But there's no point keeping it when mixed with tap water, the minerals and chlorine will rise the pH and it will be useless. If you plan to store, you need to only mix with demineralised or RO water.
I keep a plastic trigger pack on hand with a starsan/demineralised mix to spray everything I come in contact with on brew and bottling days. I also take it to work and spray any air conditioners that have built up odours due to bacteria breeding in evaporators.
I know it been a while since this was posted, but I'm reading this whole thread through for the first time. Then, it occured to me several posts later that spraying StarSan on AC evaporators might not be a good idea. Almost all newer ones are aluminum and some old ones are copper. Isn't that a no-no unless it's rinsed off after a few minutes? Won't the acids just eat up the thin aluminum or copper?

On a related note, has anyone had an issue with rinsing copper brazed plate chillers with StarSan? Won't it just disolve the copper and separate the plates?
 
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