How to Use StarSan Properly and Key Sanitation Points

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hiphops

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What is the proper way to use StarSan?

I understand how to dilute it and all. My understanding is that the essential point is to ensure that the StarSan suds touch all surface areas for at least three seconds.

After that, are you supposed to rinse the thing out that has been touched by those suds?

I was once told that you shouldn't rinse it out. However, something seems to counterintuitive about, for instance, bottling beer when the bottle has suds in it, using a thermometer when it has suds on it or dipping in the wort chiller when it too has suds on it.
 
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hiphops

hiphops

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Also, when are the times when you must pay particular attention to sanitation? It seems to me that it maybe too much to be worrying about sanitizing a stainless steel spoon when its dipped into the boiling wort. However, it seems to be that sanitation is particularly important when bottling or siphoning beer into the carboy.
 

MRT888

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Don't fear the foam! It is totally safe to bottle, etc with foam still there. It won't hurt the beer or make any difference to the taste, etc.

Rinsing afterwards, besides being a pain, just reintroduces bacteria etc from your water. Don't rinse!

Also, I try to go longer than 3 secs, i think the package says 15 or 30 secs? most stuff is easy to throw in a starsan bucket then fish out, or spray from a bottle and let sit a lil.

Also the foam sanitizes as well as the liquid, , if you know what i mean
 

MRT888

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and you are correct about the times- After the boil is when you really want everything to be sanitized that will touch the beer.

Before the boil, and during, it just needs to be clean (no matter deposited on it, etc) although sanitizing isnt that hard so I do it anyway
 

stevo155

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As said before, Don't Fear the Foam. Any residual Star San will be broken down and used as a nutrient for the yeast.
 

hereforbeer

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Don't rinse it.I read somewhere that wort turns it cloudy (actually anything with a PH higher than 3) and it becomes yeast nutrient.You can actually drink starsan(diluted) and it's both harmless and tasteless,so don't worry about your bottles.Finally,contact time recommended is 30 seconds.
 

kpr121

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If starsan is harmless, could one theoretically use a diluted starsan mixture as his/her top off water for partial boil extract kits. I understand that this may kill some of the yeast, but if it's diluted enough I would think it would become ineffective shortly after mixin it with the wort. I hate having to bring a pot of water to boil, put it in the fridge or ice bucket to cool down, just to add it back in to the wort later. This last batch I did I didn't even boil it, I just added it straight from the tap (I was in a rush plus curious to see if I got any off flavors). If I could use the starsan at a light dilution,that would give me some peace of mind.
 

ChshreCat

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+1 on the spray bottle. No need to fill a fermenter with starsan. The only starsan that's doing anything is what's actually touching the surface. So if you use a spray bottle, you can coat the whole thing down and you've used a few tablespoons of starsan instead of 5 gallons of it. And don't rinse it. If you do, you've just contaminated whatever it was you just sanitized.
 

cactusgarrett

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Two things to mind: The water you're using sometimes makes a difference. If it's too hard, the pH of the final solution could be too high, and thus, won't be as effective as a sanitizer. Also, once prepared, if you retain it (like i do) for future uses, make sure that it isn't cloudy or white colored.

To counter both these issues i always prepare my star san solution with DI water.
 

Walker

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You can actually drink starsan(diluted) and it's both harmless and tasteless
I'll agree that it's harmless, but it is not tasteless. It's acidic and it has a slightly sour taste. I sprayed it in my mouth the first time I mixed some up because I wanted to know it's flavor just in case all that foam (which originally scared the **** out of me, too) left a flavor in the finished product.

I'll chime in here with a "Don't Fear The Foam" comment.

(They really need to start selling t-shirts with that printed on it.)
 

samc

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Harmless in small diluted quantities. Using it as top off water would be nutty. Why would you want to drink it?

STAR SAN is a blend of phosphoric acid and dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid.
Corrosive to skin and eye, contains Phosphoric Acid. Harmful if swallowed.
 
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hiphops

hiphops

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i am noticing a bit of a contradiction in the posts. on the one hand, there is the don't fear the foam message; that being that the foam is ok to leave in the bottles, as washing it would only contaminate the bottle and indeed provides an additional source of nutrition for the yeast. on the other hand, there is the message to (somewhat) fear the foam, as it has a sour taste to it. that being said, would leaving the foam in the bottle cause the beer to have a sour taste?
 

cactusgarrett

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The disclaimer "don't fear the foam" should probably be applied to the surfactant factor of the foam. Typically, degergents (characterized by foam) kill head retention in the final beer, so whenever someone sees foam, general fear is warranted. However, it should be clarified, "don't fear the foam, as it won't affect your head retention".
 

Walker

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I'm the one that said it had a sour taste (and it does), but it is a very slight, barely detectable sour taste. I'm also taking about me pumping a couple of BIG sprays of it into my mouth.... which would be much more starsan than what is contained in some bubbly foam in a bottle.

I cannot taste it in my finished beer at all because it is further diluted by a massive amount of beer.
 

ryan0914

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Two things to mind: The water you're using sometimes makes a difference. If it's too hard, the pH of the final solution could be too high, and thus, won't be as effective as a sanitizer. Also, once prepared, if you retain it (like i do) for future uses, make sure that it isn't cloudy or white colored.

To counter both these issues i always prepare my star san solution with DI water.
when i fill my carboy to sanitize i have been noticing it is instantly getting cloudy. at first i thought that it was from using the sprayer to fill the carboy. does this mean that it can no longer sanitize. i have also read that once it gets cloudy it no longer works. what does this mean.
 

matthewkbridges

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when i fill my carboy to sanitize i have been noticing it is instantly getting cloudy. at first i thought that it was from using the sprayer to fill the carboy. does this mean that it can no longer sanitize. i have also read that once it gets cloudy it no longer works. what does this mean.
There are two reasons it could be getting cloudy; the first is air bubbles from getting sprayed/dumped in. If the cloudiness dissipates (especially if it dissipates upwards) you don't have to worry. Pour it into your carboy an hour or two before you need it to test. It could also be turning cloudy from dirt/grime/etc. in the carboy. Give your carboy a good soak from PBW/Oxyclean and rinse very thoroughly with clean water. That should clear out any soil and allow the StarSan to work.
 

ChshreCat

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Or use the spray bottle method. Takes me about 5 to 10 sprays to coat the inside of a carboy with starsan and it's ready to go.
 

malkore

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Harmless in small diluted quantities. Using it as top off water would be nutty. Why would you want to drink it?

STAR SAN is a blend of phosphoric acid and dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid.
Corrosive to skin and eye, contains Phosphoric Acid. Harmful if swallowed.
Pish posh. I've drank star-san a couple of times. Its got very little flavor, more of a tart/acidic quality than flavor. Like, let a Coke get warm and flat, and take a sip. Let the cola flavor subside and that odd tartness is alot like star-san flavor...which I've never detected in any of my beers.

It didn't even give me gas, but I only had a sip.

Hard tap water will make it instantly cloudy, but if the pH is 3.0 its still working! It won't store as long though.
 

blitzgp

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i know the question is directed towards starsan specifically, but a brew site i was reading (ill find a link after i write this) did a study on iodophor, and even had a manufacturer interview included. But it basically came down to, if you let it drain properly, any residual wont affect the end product taste. Im pretty sure this would apply to star san, as it just uses phosphoric acid instead of iodine, but has the same pre use as drain thouroughly before use vice a rinse
 

JohnMc

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STAR SAN is a blend of phosphoric acid and dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid.
Corrosive to skin and eye, contains Phosphoric Acid. Harmful if swallowed.
I think the warning is mainly for the undiluted stuff. Anybody drunk that?

Somewhere I heard the detergent's solubility is pH dependent; when the pH goes up, it's not dissolved as much anymore, so the solution becomes cloudy. Beer's pH is too high for it, so the detergent lacks surfactant properties under beer conditions.
 

nostalgia

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Also when you bottle, the Star-San foam floats on top of the beer. So it gets pushed out the top as you fill it, as with my carboy here:



So the amount of Star-San actually left in the bottle will be pretty much negligible.

-Joe
 
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