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sanitizing before adding stuff to secondary?

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autonomist3k

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I always hear people talking about soaking their additives like orange peel, oak, chocolate nibs, blueberries, etc. in vodka or other hard liquors to sanitize before adding to secondary, why not just use a couple ounces of starsan solution?
I get that using burbon could be on purpose for flavor, but fail to see a reason to use vodka over starsan.
wouldn't the vodka up the ABV a little and possibly change the flavor?

it just seems weird to me to add liquor to a beer that you're making.

:rockin:
 

Brulosopher

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I still don't understand why folks are using secondaries for additions like this...
 
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autonomist3k

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Secondary is really just to clear your beer, and when you rack to secondary it's a convenient time to add stuff to it.

But that's completely off topic.......

Pretend that I didn't even mention the word secondary if it helps...
 

Calder

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Because if you throw additives in the primary, there is a better than even chance that whatever flavor you're trying to get will likely be eaten by the yeast.
I never heard of this before. Please provide some supporting evidence. The yeast on the bottom are done, dormant, and have no further part in the process. With respect to extracting and retaining flavor, it makes no difference whether you transfer to secondary or not.

...... Personally, I move most of my beers to secondary. Usually to do with harvesting clean healthy yeast rather than anything else.
 

Newsman

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I never heard of this before. Please provide some supporting evidence. The yeast on the bottom are done, dormant, and have no further part in the process. With respect to extracting and retaining flavor, it makes no difference whether you transfer to secondary or not.
Just repeating what I've heard more experienced brewers on this site say, although I believe they meant that during fermentation the flavors could be eaten up. I have no clue myself, as I said, I'm just going by what the experienced voices on these fora have said.

Another reason to soak things like vanilla beans, etc in liquor is to better extract the flavors. Think about it... if you're soaking your vanilla beans while the wort is fermenting, you can have a little bit of liquor with a very strong dose of vanilla ready when you're done fermenting. Now, if you just want to toss that in the primary and let it sit for a few days, that would work too.
 

doctormiah

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Well I don't think anyone has addressed the OPs question....
I was hoping someone with more knowledge of starsan's chemical function would chime in but I think it works best on smooth clean surfaces and would not be as effective on anything porous.
That's my impression and why I soak vanilla beans and cocoa nibs in alcohol for a couple days.
 

Newsman

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Well I don't think anyone has addressed the OPs question....
I was hoping someone with more knowledge of starsan's chemical function would chime in but I think it works best on smooth clean surfaces and would not be as effective on anything porous.
That's my impression and why I soak vanilla beans and cocoa nibs in alcohol for a couple days.
I believe you are correct -- StarSan works best on hard, non-porous surfaces, such as carboy walls, etc
 

Brulosopher

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Newsman said:
Because if you throw additives in the primary, there is a better than even chance that whatever flavor you're trying to get will likely be eaten by the yeast.
Yet another myth. I only add things to primary and get every bit of flavor/aroma I used to when racking to secondary. I've done side by sides, no one can tell the difference.
 

Brulosopher

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autonomist3k said:
Secondary is really just to clear your beer, and when you rack to secondary it's a convenient time to add stuff to it. But that's completely off topic....... Pretend that I didn't even mention the word secondary if it helps...
Beer clears the same, if not better, in primary. It was previously recommended to rack to secondary to get the beer off the old dead yeast they used to sell to homebrewers. Nowadays, the yeast is healthy and the beer actually benefits from staying in contact with it for a bit.
 

Brulosopher

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Calder said:
I never heard of this before. Please provide some supporting evidence. The yeast on the bottom are done, dormant, and have no further part in the process. With respect to extracting and retaining flavor, it makes no difference whether you transfer to secondary or not. ...... Personally, I move most of my beers to secondary. Usually to do with harvesting clean healthy yeast rather than anything else.
Have you considered harvesting from starters? If not, see my signature ;)
 

Calder

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Have you considered harvesting from starters? If not, see my signature ;)
I've been doing that for years to preserve the strain. I've just woken up a sample of WLP550 taken from a starter 30 months ago.

I find it a lot easier to take a pint of slurry and pitch it in the next batch than growing up another starter.
 

fearwig

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I always hear people talking about soaking their additives like orange peel, oak, chocolate nibs, blueberries, etc. in vodka or other hard liquors to sanitize before adding to secondary, why not just use a couple ounces of starsan solution?
I get that using burbon could be on purpose for flavor, but fail to see a reason to use vodka over starsan.
wouldn't the vodka up the ABV a little and possibly change the flavor?

it just seems weird to me to add liquor to a beer that you're making.

:rockin:
It's way, way weirder to add an acidic chemical sanitizer. Vodka, diluted to trace amounts in your final beer, is neutral (in something that already contains ethanol anyway). Starsan is safe to consume in these quantities (you're straining it off...right?), but it's not itself meant for consumption, like spirits. If you soak a pound of raisins or whatever you are adding a ton more starsan to your beer than you get from the fermenter surface, and at pH 3 starsan will do more to affect flavor than a neutral spirit. Probably neither will be noticed in these amounts, but why chance that?

My order of preference:
1) heat (160f for a few minutes if you don't want to boil, otherwise boil for just a few seconds to be sure it heats through.)
2) alcohol (neutral and strong, or complimentary flavors)
3-99) something else
100) starsan (for equipment, not ingredients. Gross.)

A little heat goes a long way, anyway, you're mostly just worried about heating the surface. Sanitary not sterile.

Porosity is not the main factor really, any chemical sanitizer is a little less effective on porous surfaces but that's just about it getting into the nooks and crannies so it can work on them (which heat doesn't have to do). Alcohol is less viscous than water, starsan is more viscous, so I guess that's another point to alcohol too--but not really key for this IMO.
 

fearwig

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BY THE WAY: this thead is what happens if you say the word "secondary" in any sort of post. *headdesk*
 
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autonomist3k

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Thanks for all the good info, makes sense now.
And yea, holy crap I should have never said "secondary" lol
 
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