How sterilized does it need to be?

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chungking

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So whether you soak your equipment in bleach, c-brite, whatever, when you rinse away the chemicals with regular tap water, is it still considered sterilized? Cause I'm sure the tap water from the faucet/tub has some kind of nasties in it.

That said, do they make some kind of cleanser that you can soak everything in and then doesn't require a rinse? I guess I'm looking for optimal sterilization for the average brewer.
 

ajf

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I am not aware of any cleaners that do not require rinsing, but cleaning is not a replacement for sanitation.
There are two commonly available (in the USA) no rinse sanitizers - Starsan and Iodophor. These should not be used until the item to be sanitized is completely cleaned, but after soaking in the sanitizer for a few minutes, the sanitized items do not require rinsing.
Sterilization is not required for home brewing.

-a.
 

GilaMinumBeer

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For sterilization you'd need an autoclave.

We sanitize at best. Star San is king. Requires the least amount of timed wet contact (meaning most of your item can simply be spritzed with a solution) and is a no-rinse sanitizer. Mixed to the proper solution in DO/RO water, and with frugal application, 5 gallons can last nearly a year.
 

Revvy

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Sterilized? We don't sterilize, we sanitize. It's nearly impossible outside of a lab or hospital setting to sterilize anything.

And like the Brit above said, cleaning and sanitization are two different things. First you clean, then you sanitize.

Typically we used some form of oxygen/hydrogen peroxide based cleanser to clean, such as Oxyclean Free, Pbr, stuff like that.

Then we rinse.

Then we use a sanitizer, and in modern times we tend to gravity to one of two NO RINSE/WET CONTACT sanitizers, Iodophor or Starsan.

Here's a couple threads to help you, our sticky; What Sanitisers and Cleaners are used.

I put a lot of good info and tips of effectively using sanitizers in here. Including a podcast by the creator of starsan, and one by a rep from iodophor talking about that and more-https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/sanitizer-question-54932/
 
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chungking

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So I meant sanitize, not sterilize! Any who, I'm guessing soaking your equipment in bleachy water for a day and then rinsing it out is not considered an acceptable sanitization? Post rinsing, it needs to be cleaned with either star San or iodophors?
 
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chungking

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Oh, and if you bake your bottles prior to filling, isnt that considered sterile? Or as close as you can get?
 

Revvy

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The problem with using bleach on a regular basis, to sanitize OR clean, while at the same time using municipal water, certain minerals in whatever water you use and certain plastics, is that you could build up chlorophenols in your brewing systems, which could contribute to off flavors in your beer.

In some situations they work cumulatively by having little bits of chlorine in different parts of the brewing process that your beer may come in contact with, and it builds up and bammo plastic band aid flavor.

It's best to avoid chlorine as much as possible, and in the case of sanitizing ONLY in the most dire situations, like where you know for sure you have an infection.....we call it slash and burning.

I try to limit the amount of contact my gear comes to chlorine and chlorine products.

chlorophenols are funny that way, some folks aren't affected, and in other situations the right combination causes issues.

And unfortunately my understanding is that folks have little control over is their setups can handle it. I've heard of folks being successful for years with it, then they replace one piece of gear like their autosiphon, or move and change water sources, or have new plumbing put in, and suddenly they have them now.
 

Yooper

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So I meant sanitize, not sterilize! Any who, I'm guessing soaking your equipment in bleachy water for a day and then rinsing it out is not considered an acceptable sanitization? Post rinsing, it needs to be cleaned with either star San or iodophors?
No, you clean separately from sanitizing. Clean first, and then sanitize. I wouldn't soak any equipment (especially plastic) in bleach, as it can leave a flavor (called "chlorophenols") behind if the equipment is soaked and absorbs some of the bleach.

To clean, use some cleanser like oxyclean or other cleaner. When the equipment is cleaned, it can be sanitized just before use. To sanitize, use a bleach/water mix and rinse well, or use a no-rinse sanitizer like Iodophor or star-san.

Oh, and if you bake your bottles prior to filling, isnt that considered sterile? Or as close as you can get?
Yes, baking would be sterilizing if the temperature is hot enough.
 

stratslinger

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It's only truly sterile if you have your oven and your bottling bucket in a clean room, and you wear an environmental suit into said clean room, so that the environment itself is sterile, so that the bottles remain sterile. Yes, the bottles would be sterile inside your oven, but as soon as they come outside and come in contact with the outside world, airborn nasties can come in contact with them and ruin that sterility. This is why contact sanitizers like starsan and iodophor are really really useful, and why you really ought to read up on those links Revvy provided above!
 

billl

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" I guess I'm looking for optimal sterilization for the average brewer."

Optimal routine for an average brewer is:

A) Clean everything in advance
B) Rinse off all the cleaner
C) dunk or spritz with no-rinse sanitizer prior to use

A really easy way to do C) and not recontaminate any equipment is to just fill a brew bucket with sanitizer and let everything soak in it until you need it.
 

unionrdr

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We sanitize,not sterilize. You have made an error,nomad,you are imperfect! error? ERROR? must an-il-ize errrrrorrrrr...eeeerrrrorrrrr....eeerrorrrrrrr...:D
Clean with PBW,or scent free oxyclean & rinse Then get some starsan,it has a lil measuring cube thing on one side. Measure 3/4's of the way up to the 1/4oz mark,& pour into a gallon jug of disstilled water & you're good to go.
 

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When harvesting yeast, I often sterilize in a pressure cooker. Just put your glass items in a pressure cooker, with some water, of course and let it steam under pressure for a good 15 minutes. I cannot confirm that it kills all bacteria, but this is often referred to as sterilizing, not sanitizing.
 

unionrdr

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Steming under pressure,yeah. Otherwise it's just sanitizing. I don't think plastics & the like will take to steam pressure to well. I've never had PBW for cleaning,& starsan for sanitizing fail me yet. Not one bad batch. Just clean & sanitize every lil piece well that has anything at all to do with transfering,fermenting,bottling,etc of your beer.
 
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chungking

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So what is c-brite considered? Is it a sanitizer or a no-rinse cleanser
 

Slainte-brew

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It is NOT a sanitizer, its a cleaner. Iodophor, star San or bleach sanitize and bleach is tough to deal with because of off flavors. Bleach you have to rinse, the other two are no rinse.
 

Revvy

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C-brite fits into the same category as one-step, and cleanser with sanitizing properties, that when used in a certain way does meet the FDA's qualifications for what a sanitizer is. BUT the creators for whatever reason (probably financial) refuse to go through the process to meet those Federal and State certifications to actually be able to say so on their label. Which adds to the confusion, and probably results in people thinking their using it properly as a sanitizer, when they probably aren't.

Here's what Rebel Brewer has to say about it.

Product Description

Chlorine based no-rinse sanitizer. Yeah, I know, it says rinse well on the side, and you are welcomed to. But it boils down
to packaging laws at the state level. Without getting into it (call me if you really want to know) suffice to say, you can drain
and air dry....or rinse, it's entirely up to you. Use 2 oz. per 2.5 gallons water to sanitize all fermenters, tubing etc.
Me personally, if their not going to bother to get certified, then like onestep I'm not going to bother to spend money or recommend it to folks.

Besides, no product can be used in a way that's "entirely up to us." Products are usually only truly effective if used PROPERLY, not in what haphazard way we might think is right.....

Additionally as it shows above it's CHLORINE BASED, and I've already posted my thoughts on keeping Chlorine based products as much as possible away from my brewing gear.....

We have two great and low cost No-rinse/Wet Contact Sanitizers in Iodophor and Starsan. That we know is effective, and made for the purpose of sanitizing in the brewing and dairy industry. As I've mentioned all over here (like in the sanitization thread) you can even get Iodophor sanitizers dirt cheap at farm and feed stores like tractor suppply, some that even foam just like starsan.
 

EnjoyGoodBeer

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How about this, when we perchased our first kit it came with a cleanser. We used that for sanatizing (brfore we heard of starsan) and even bottled with this cleanser. My beer turned out good (a bit bitter) but it doesnt seem that it was infected I have been drinking it, but it is really bitter for a porter.

And with a cleanser it should go like this?
1. Clean
2. Cleanser
3. Sanatizer

Right? Because sense we been using star san We have not used cleanser. All our batches look and smell good. So is the cleanser really neccessary?
 

Revvy

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Right? Because sense we been using star san We have not used cleanser. All our batches look and smell good. So is the cleanser really neccessary?
You don't want to clean all the crap previous fermentations or brews before putting fresh wort in? Really?

Oy Vey....


Guys, the one thing you should never cut corners on is you sanitizing regime. And sanitizing something dirty, is really only going to mean that you're neutralizing the sanitizer's efficacy to PROTECT your beer.

Sanitizing is not hard, nor really is it rocket science. Just use common sense and use the right product the right way.

Wash
Rinse
Sanitize
Don't rinse or dry....

That's it.

I posted a thread on sanitizing tips in my first post on here. Read it.....Use it.
 

EnjoyGoodBeer

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Revvy said:
You don't want to clean all the crap previous fermentations or brews before putting fresh wort in? Really?

Oy Vey....

Guys, the one thing you should never cut corners on is you sanitizing regime. And sanitizing something dirty, is really only going to mean that you're neutralizing the sanitizer's efficacy to PROTECT your beer.

Sanitizing is not hard, nor really is it rocket science. Just use common sense and use the right product the right way.

Wash
Rinse
Sanitize
Don't rinse or dry....

That's it.

I posted a thread on sanitizing tips in my first post on here. Read it.....Use it.
No we havent cut corners on sanatizing. Its very sanatized I was just checking with this cleanser. I clean everything dawn soap, rinse, then sanatize. I sanatize anything even if its going iinto boiling wart. I dont want a infected batch of beer. ( plus I work in food service trust me my beer is way more clean that there).

And revvy I was talking about "cleanser" product, The white powdery stuff. Everything is cleaned well with soap and water and rinsed very good. Then rinsed on brew day then sanatized. I even sanatize my spoon again even stiring boiling wort, I know I dont need to I just feel better about it.
 

stratslinger

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Cleanser is used to clean. Cleanser = cleaner. So if you are cleaning your equipment, you are using some form of cleaner - in your example, Dawn soap is your cleanser.
 

EnjoyGoodBeer

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stratslinger said:
Cleanser is used to clean. Cleanser = cleaner. So if you are cleaning your equipment, you are using some form of cleaner - in your example, Dawn soap is your cleanser.
Okay so like i said before. Our first brew day we thought the cleanser was sanatizer. My first beer turned out pretty good robust porter but its pretty bittery. Im assuming thats because we couldt get a full boil on the stove and I think we kept the bittering hops in like 20 mins longer.

That wouldt be do to the no starsan right? Because I know the batch wasnt infected maybe got lucky? Like I siad tho I kmow the importance of sanatizing and keeping stuff clean. So everything was kept clean with cleanser even when we bottled.
 

Revvy

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Cleanser is used to clean. Cleanser = cleaner. So if you are cleaning your equipment, you are using some form of cleaner - in your example, Dawn soap is your cleanser.
BUT, we usually avoid using dishsoaps when cleaning. Just like you should never clean your beer glasses with soap because it can hurt head retention, we do the same thing with the rest of our gear. Soaps are made with fatty compounds found in nature, while the cleansers are and made with chemicals.

Detergents (or surfactants) are synthetic compounds that have been created through a chemical process. The most widely-used detergent, sodium lauryl sulfate, is created by reacting sulfuric acid with dodecanol (a fatty alcohol) adding a few other chemicals, heating it up, adding more chemicals, and so forth. On average, there are about ten steps between the original raw materials and the final detergent. Soaps on the other hand, are created by mixing a fat (usually a vegetable oil) with caustic soda (like lye or potassium hydroxide). Soaps have been created like this for hundreds (maybe thousands) of years. Detergents, on the other hand, have only been around for a few decades.
Soaps tend to leave behind a residue that is nearly impossible to truly get rid of. That's why we prefer cleansers like OXYCLEAN, and PBW
 

stratslinger

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BUT, we usually avoid using dishsoaps when cleaning. Just like you should never clean your beer glasses with soap because it can hurt head retention, we do the same thing with the rest of our gear. Soaps are made with fatty compounds found in nature, while the cleansers are and made with chemicals.



Soaps tend to leave behind a residue that is nearly impossible to truly get rid of. That's why we prefer cleansers like OXYCLEAN, and PBW
Super good point there, thanks Revvy!
 

edgeoftheUS

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Some interesting information in this thread that I think should be explained, and some I've never heard...but am researching.

Worth repeating - You can't sanitize a dirty surface. An analogy for those who may not understand the difference. If hard mud is packed and dryed on your car, spraying a little bleach on the mud does not make it clean. Millions of microscopic pore spaces on the the surface of the mud will never be sanitized. The paint under the mud is also not clean and probably filled with microorganisms, organic material, and who knows what else. To clean the car you need to scrub the mud off, hose it down, and then you have a clean surface ready for sanitation. Substitute old brew for mud and a carboy for the car for brewing.


Federally Approved Sanitizers - I have never heard of this term before. But some definitions I found.

Per the EPA, a sanitizer must kill 99.9% of test bacteria on a hard surface within 5 minutes http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/dis_tss_docs/dis-10.htm. On a food contact surface like a carboy or stir paddle, it must kill the test bacteria within 30 seconds. http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/dis_tss_docs/dis-04.htm Sanitizers are considered to be wide spectrum eliminators of bacteria, viruses, mold, mildew and fungi.

The Code of Federal Regulations also has a section explaining what sanitizing solutions may be used on food manufacturing equipment and food contact surfaces http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=178.1010 This is not the same as an "approved" sanitizer, but defines what a sanitizer can be made from.

Sanitizers are also food additives under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as amended (21 U.S.C. 201) (<---law that US FDA derives it's authority from), and require establishment of a food additive tolerance.

A fairly decent pdf can be found at http://www.steptoe.com/assets/attachments/3208.pdf but I take exception to the "approval" section because the product isn't approved, the chemicals inside have been determined effective when used according to the prescrbed instructions. I'm in no way associated with the company on the pdf, it was found using a google search.

But as Revvy alluded to above, the cost to prove a chemical is "sanitizer", and thus labeled accordingly, is estimated around $1x10^6. Can't say I would trust my equipment to a company with a ground breaking product that can't generate the capital for the studies.


Bleach - I've never had problems with bleach, but I also keep the ppm < 200 to reduce the chance of biofilm formation on my equipment. The biofilm can make your surface uncleanable, and unsanitizable by proxy. If you want to use bleach, follow the instructions and don't use the chug-a-lug method of measuring. I prefer StarSan and would only use bleach if money was an issue.


And Revvy, a good tip for the thread at https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/what-sanitisers-cleaners-used-43688/, if using 70% (or 90%) isopropyl alocohol, the alchohol must air dry to be effective. Don't wipe it off. Same ingredient and process for all those hand sanitizer pumps at the checkout stands.
 

EnjoyGoodBeer

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Revvy said:
BUT, we usually avoid using dishsoaps when cleaning. Just like you should never clean your beer glasses with soap because it can hurt head retention, we do the same thing with the rest of our gear. Soaps are made with fatty compounds found in nature, while the cleansers are and made with chemicals.

Soaps tend to leave behind a residue that is nearly impossible to truly get rid of. That's why we prefer cleansers like OXYCLEAN, and PBW
So in that case even household items should be washed using oxyclean? I'll look into oxyclean for my supplies. Thanks Cheers
 

stratslinger

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Okay so like i said before. Our first brew day we thought the cleanser was sanatizer. My first beer turned out pretty good robust porter but its pretty bittery. Im assuming thats because we couldt get a full boil on the stove and I think we kept the bittering hops in like 20 mins longer.

That wouldt be do to the no starsan right? Because I know the batch wasnt infected maybe got lucky? Like I siad tho I kmow the importance of sanatizing and keeping stuff clean. So everything was kept clean with cleanser even when we bottled.
That could be due to starsan, yes.

But you're still missing a big point here when you say you know the importance of "sanatizing and keeping stuff clean". Sanitizing and keeping stuff clean are two different things, and that's the important takeaway here!

Your cleanser (or cleaner) keeps stuff clean. Yes, dawn soap will clean stuff in a pinch, but things like PBW or OxyClean Free are much better options for the reasons Revvy pointed out.

Your sanitizer kills off most microbiological nasties (bacteria and wild yeasts) and protects cleaned surfaces from those same nasties taking hold before your wort or beer come in contact with them.

Is it possible that a well cleaned, but not sanitized, surface might not harbor enough of those nasties to hurt your beer? Sure, it's possible. (Full disclosure: I forgot to sanitize the fermenter on my first batch of beer. It came out just fine.) Is it also possible, even likely, for those nasties to take over and make something really nasty happen? You betcha.

The easiest ways to make sure your equipment is both properly cleaned and properly sanitized is to do what everyone here keeps preaching: invest in a tub of PBW or OxyClean Free (the oxy is cheaper!) and a bottle of StarSan or Iodophor, and get familiar with how to use them.
 
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el_horno

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Before any equipment comes in contact with your beer or wort:

Clean
Rinse
Sanitize

When I am done using said equipment I follow the same process

Clean
Rinse
Sanitize
Store for next use.

Next time I need to use it, start the cycle over...
 

EnjoyGoodBeer

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stratslinger said:
That could be due to starsan, yes.

But you're still missing a big point here when you say you know the importance of "sanatizing and keeping stuff clean". Sanitizing and keeping stuff clean are two different things, and that's the important takeaway here!

Your cleanser (or cleaner) keeps stuff clean. Yes, dawn soap will clean stuff in a pinch, but things like PBW or OxyClean Free are much better options for the reasons Revvy pointed out.

Your sanitizer kills off most microbiological nasties (bacteria and wild yeasts) and protects cleaned surfaces from those same nasties taking hold before your wort or beer come in contact with them.

Is it possible that a well cleaned, but not sanitized, surface might not harbor enough of those nasties to hurt your beer? Sure, it's possible. (Full disclosure: I forgot to sanitize the fermenter on my first batch of beer. It came out just fine.) Is it also possible, even likely, for those nasties to take over and make something really nasty happen? You betcha.

The easiest ways to make sure your equipment is both properly cleaned and properly sanitized is to do what everyone here keeps preaching: invest in a tub of PBW or OxyClean Free (the oxy is cheaper!) and a bottle of StarSan or Iodophor, and get familiar with how to use them.
Yes i know cleaning and sanatizing is two different things. I clean before sanatizing. Imma invest in some oxyclean the clean all my stuff good.

And now from 2nd batch to the 6th we have now used starsan. Wich my 2nd batch oktoberfest that i taste tested after 1 week tasted amazing. Cant wait for the first of october. :)

Thanks for the input fellas.
 

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el_horno said:
Before any equipment comes in contact with your beer or wort:

Clean
Rinse
Sanitize

When I am done using said equipment I follow the same process

Clean
Rinse
Sanitize
Store for next use.

Next time I need to use it, start the cycle over...
Yes that is what I do to the T, but ill be investing in some oxyclean next batch.
 

Revvy

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Some interesting information in this thread that I think should be
This is a great post :mug:

But as Revvy alluded to above, the cost to prove a chemical is "sanitizer", and thus labeled accordingly, is estimated around $1x10^6. Can't say I would trust my equipment to a company with a ground breaking product that can't generate the capital for the studies.
This has been, if you've read the thread I linked and other comments I've made around here has been my biggest beef with C-brite, and especially One Step.

One step is the "exclusive" sanitizer found in just about every homebrew starter kit in at least America. Even usually the starter kits put together by homebrew shops (Mine didn't they put your choice of starsan or iodophors in their kits) It's what comes inside Mr Beer kits for instanc. MR beer kits whether we like them or not are probably the most sold homebrewing kits around (One figure I found says MR beer has a worldwide annual sales of $4.9 million).

Those starter kits that don't carry One Step usually carry C-brite.

SO tell me, don't you think the companies that makes them could manage to spend the money to get it approved?

Bleach - I've never had problems with bleach, but I also keep the ppm < 200 to reduce the chance of biofilm formation on my equipment. The biofilm can make your surface uncleanable, and unsanitizable by proxy. If you want to use bleach, follow the instructions and don't use the chug-a-lug method of measuring. I prefer StarSan and would only use bleach if money was an issue.
Like I said the biggest issue with Chlorine Bleach has to do with the potential for creating to the situation where you develop Chlorephenols. So I only recommend pulling it out for "slash and burn" sanitization when we have an infection, NOT regular santization of everythign the beer touches including bottles and such.

To me the risks don't outweigh the cost. I can get a gallon of an Iodophor dairy sanitizer from Tractor Supply for 12 bucks and that can last me years if not mixing 5 gallons at a time, and using a spray bottle for small amounts.
 

jerrodm

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Not sure if this is considered off topic or not, but do "no-rinse" sanitizers like Iodophor (12.5 ppm) or Star-san make anyone else nervous about off-flavors? I like to soak in Iodophor and then rinse in a closed container of pre-boiled water, or alternatively to rinse carboys and buckets with a little pre-boiled water to get rid of any possible flavor transfer. I've never had any contamination issues, although that doesn't mean there's no risk...does anyone else do this? Or is no-rinse really no-rinse?
 

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jerrodm said:
Not sure if this is considered off topic or not, but do "no-rinse" sanitizers like Iodophor (12.5 ppm) or Star-san make anyone else nervous about off-flavors? I like to soak in Iodophor and then rinse in a closed container of pre-boiled water, or alternatively to rinse carboys and buckets with a little pre-boiled water to get rid of any possible flavor transfer. I've never had any contamination issues, although that doesn't mean there's no risk...does anyone else do this? Or is no-rinse really no-rinse?
No rinse is no rinse, there are alot of sanatizers out there like it. For instance all food joints use a no rinse sanatizer.
 

Dan

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As far as StarSan. The maker intended it not to be rinsed. At it's proper pH level it is a cold blooded killer of bacteria, mold, and spores. Once the pH rises beyond it's gunslinger status, this killer becomes humble food for our yeast buddies.

If you didn't check out the link Revvy posted on the very first post here, you're missing out on some great information. In the podcast Revvy posted is Charlie Talley talking about cleaning and sanitizing. Go back and check it out. Great info there.

New Yourk Times Review "Charlie Talley provides a guiding light to a world muddled with germs. His podcast on cleaning and sanititation is as significant to successful homebrewing as yeast is to beer. This is a must must hear for homebrewers all around the world!"
 

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Sheffield
Starsan is the best sanitizer I've used. about 3/4's of the way up to the 1/4oz mark in 1 gallon of water is fine. I've never had an infection. I put my tubes,bottling wands & such under the faucet to blast out as much crud as I can. Then so9ak in a bucket of PBW for a few days,all air burped out of them. Then on the day of use,pour a goodly amount of starsan through them to sanitize. Even blow off hose rigs.
 
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