Star San question

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Brewno

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I did a search here on the shelf life or Star San after you make a solution. The thread I found was one where the maker of Star San himself chimed in. He said that Star San should maintain a PH level of 3 to be working. He said that once the solution turns cloudy it isn't working anymore.

I have used Star San on my last 3 batches and I find it is cloudy as soon as I mix it and remains that way. As far as I'm concerned Star San is always cloudy... What's up with that??

good? bad?
 

Skins_Brew

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I think it may have something to do with your water. Mine does the same thing. If I use hose water it clouds up within 5 minutes. If I use tap water, it will last a little longer, but no longer then 3 or 4 days. I have starsan from my apartment that is still clear and its like 5 months old.
 

BuffaloSabresBrewer

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Ive had the same problem with my Star San. My next batch was going to be from be from spring water. I think the water around here just got harder recently.
 
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Brewno

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So cloudy = good or no good?

If it's cloudy from the moment you make the solution does that mean it's no good?
 

McKBrew

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I'd say cloudy is fine as long as PH is good. I use slightly cloudy star san and have no issues.
 
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Brewno

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I haven't had any issues thus far but now I am second guessing. I read that distilled water provides the longest shelf life (according to the manufacturer).

Actually I haven't had a problem yet and my current batch is fine after three weeks fermentation so I guess I got by ok once again. Now I am ready to bottle and happened to come across this new info and of course new concerns arise...as always:)
 

BuffaloSabresBrewer

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PH is really what its all about. Get some testing strips if you really want to be sure. Im gonna wait and get a digital pH meter. Because Im awesome like that.
 
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Brewno

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PH is really what its all about. Get some testing strips if you really want to be sure. Im gonna wait and get a digital pH meter. Because Im awesome like that.
This leads me to believe that Star San isn't necessarily ok to use with tap water. Buyer beware?
 

lapaglia

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I read somewhere, isn't that helpful, that its best to use distiled water. The solution will last longer with distiled water.
 

mrfocus

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If you use distilled water, the solution can last 3 to 4 weeks (from the maker of Star San on Basic Brewing Radio).

As others have said it's all about the pH being lower than 3. The minerals and such in tap water react with the ingredients and make it last a lot less longer.
 

Joe Camel

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Star San is a phosphoric acid solution. The phosphates will react with the ions in your water, which turn it cloudy. Magnesium and Calcium both form phosphate salts that are very insoluble in water. If your water report lists very high numbers for these, you are better served using distilled water from a store.

Alternatively you could probably bump up the amount of StarSan stock solution to account for the loss by salt formation.

Cheers
 
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Brewno

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I bought some distilled water today (I was bottling) and my solution was as clear as plain water. Thanks
 

Dagatris

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For those of you that store starsan solution for a long time, what do you store it in? I would think it doesn't need to be food grade plastic, and could just be whatever the cheapest 5 gallon bucket from home depot is.

I bought a 5 oz bottle of starsan at my LHBS for $6.50 this weekend. Assuming I brew once every 2 weeks, that would last me for 5 brewing days if I make a fresh batch each time and just use tap water. That's about $1.30 per 5 gallons.

If it will keep for 4 weeks using distilled water, that means I could get 3 uses out of each batch, so 15 batches total. But I'll also have to buy 5 gallons of distilled water for each batch at about $0.75 per gallon. So $3.75 x 5 = 18.75 + 6.50 = $25.25 for 15 batches. That's about $1.68 per 5 gallons.

Or am I nitpicking over small costs that could end up ruining a batch of beer?
 

Chriso

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Just buy the 32 oz Bulk bottle online instead, it's like $12. :p

Sometimes I store my StarSan, sometimes I don't. When I do store it, usually I keep it in an empty corny keg (because I would've been sanitizing the keg anyways!).

I don't usually reuse for more than 2 purposes. That is to say, if I spend Friday cleaning and sanitizing kegs, I'll dump the same StarSan from keg 1 to keg 2 to keg 3 etc etc. Once I hit the end of the line, if I don't need the keg immediately, I leave it in there for the next brew day (say Sat or Sun.). Use it on brew day, then pitch it out.

I don't keep a seperate wash basin around on brew day, so I'm using it as a cleanser and as a sanitizer. I realize it's not meant as such - I'm just lazy. So whenever I use StarSan on brew day, I make myself do "the right thing" and pitch it out, even if it's fresh.

To get around this - I usually mix only 2-2.5 gallons, not a full bucket. After all, it's a surface sanitizer, it only needs to touch the surface for 30 seconds. So instead of using up 1 oz sanitizer each brew day, I only use 0.5 oz.

Now....... if you're keeping a spray bottle or a garden sprayer sitting around, for use whenever you need it - Distilled is the way to go!
 

rico567

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I use the .33 per gallon machine water from the grocery store. This machine involves carbon filtration and reverse osmosis. Star San solution stays nice and clear, an repeatedly passes a pH test. See the sticky at the beginning of this topic area for the Star San instructions. According to the inventor, it must be at pH 3.5 or below (use cheap pH test strips to check this each time you use a batch) AND not cloudy. Our tap water (a well) will result in an instantly cloudy Star San solution = not serviceable.

I'm not clear why some posters are making such huge quantities of Star San. I make two 5-gallon batches a month, and a gallon of Star San solution works through all my brewing operations during that period. Remember, you can SPRAY or SPONGE Star San on, and it has great coating qualities, i.e., if your carboy is clean, all you have to do is swish the Star San around inside to coat, pour it out, and in a minute you're good to go. And don't fear the foam!
 
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Brewno

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Our tap water (a well) will result in an instantly cloudy Star San solution = not serviceable.
This is what's scary....I never knew this and have been brewing with my cloudy solution since day one. No infections thus far so I guess I've been lucky. I too have well water and my Star San solution always mixed up cloudy immediately.

I think I will start using bottled water even for brewing!
 

Chriso

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This is what's scary....I never knew this and have been brewing with my cloudy solution since day one. No infections thus far so I guess I've been lucky. I too have well water and my Star San solution always mixed up cloudy immediately.

I think I will start using bottled water even for brewing!
I call minor amounts of B.S. I recognize that, yes, the 5 Star dude said that if it was cloudy, it's no longer effective. But mine, too, is cloudy upon mixing, and I've never had a problem!!! Are you saying I've just "been lucky" 23 times in a row? Unlikely.

I can't hardly believe that a sanitizer like this would be immediately rendered ineffective the second it was mixed with hard water. I'm NOT saying it would store well .... but immediately, instantly useless? C'mon...
 
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Brewno

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I call minor amounts of B.S. I recognize that, yes, the 5 Star dude said that if it was cloudy, it's no longer effective. But mine, too, is cloudy upon mixing, and I've never had a problem!!! Are you saying I've just "been lucky" 23 times in a row? Unlikely.

I can't hardly believe that a sanitizer like this would be immediately rendered ineffective the second it was mixed with hard water. I'm NOT saying it would store well .... but immediately, instantly useless? C'mon...
Makes a lot of sense....I kind of wondered about this myself. It's a good excuse for me to stop using my tap water though. My tap water sucks...I don't even drink it. I only use it to cook and clean; I drink bottled. I think it may be my water softner, the water tastes a bit salty and ...well...like crap!
 

TeleTwanger

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Anybody else get a Star san halo? It's the weirdest thing my carboy right now filled with water and star san is totally clear except about around the middle there is a cloudy halo about 3 inches wide with fairly distinct borders. My water is pretty soft and the SS/water stays clear.
 

G-E-R-M-A-N

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Anybody else get a Star san halo? It's the weirdest thing my carboy right now filled with water and star san is totally clear except about around the middle there is a cloudy halo about 3 inches wide with fairly distinct borders. My water is pretty soft and the SS/water stays clear.
I have star san in my carboy. It is weird because it divides into a clear, and cloudy layer. So I guess you can say I have the halo.
 

cprincipe

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Oh man I just had a forehead-smacking noob moment.

YOU CAN KEEP SANITIZING SOLUTION? :mad:
 

Dagatris

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Several people have posted that they keep starsan solution for weeks (?) at a time and it still works. I'm just not sure how you can be positive that it's gonna be effective.

I've got a spray bottle full from when I brewed the other day. When I go to use my wine thief next week, I'd like to just use the spray bottle. I don't want to have to mix up another 5 gallons of starsan. But what if the stuff in the bottle has ceased to work? Then I've just ruined my batch.

It would be nice if there were some sort of cheap testing strip that I could spray. If it changed colors, then you know the solution is still good. If it doesn't change, you'd better mix up some new stuff.
 

conpewter

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There are some cheap testing strips, just get some PH strips and spray your star-san on it (or better dip it..) then if it is below 3 you are fine.

I keep star-san for months and it is still clear and works. I have it in a spray bottle and sealed 1 gallon glass jars, as well as a corny now and then.
 

T-Hops

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As someone posted earlier you get some PH strips. Spray one of your strips and if your PH is below 3.5 it is still effective. I never dump out my spray bottle of sanitizer I just keep adding new to it when I make a new batch. I have not mix a 5 gallon batch of sanitizer in years. I make 2.5 gallon because I am lazy and the bottle already has the measurements for 2.5 gallon batches.
 

eriktlupus

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i buy 1 gal bottles of water in a #1recyclable bottle and mix SS in it, it will usually keep for 3 mo before i'm out or need to make more
 

bull8042

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I don't want to beat a dead horse here, but..... If you are trying to store a little mixed StarSan for convenience like the wine thief scenario, then that makes sense. But financially speaking, it doesn't make much sense. $16.99 for 32oz (AHB) equates to $0.53 per oz which makes 5 gallons of solution. Use it then dump it out. Why spend $5.00 for distilled water plus $0.53 for StarSan, store it..... hopefully in the proper conditions to preserve its effectiveness and risk pissing away $30 or $40 plus a whole brew day because you infected your brew?
Then again, that is just my opinion.....
 

JesseRC

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Just a noob putting in my new 2 cents: Buying 5 gallons of distilled water at walmart at 60 cents a gallon is worth it if your gonna save it. I've had mine for 2 weeks stored in a corny and have used it for 2 brews and transfering to kegs. Before this i had mixed results with it being immediately cloudy when mixing. What I found is that you should not use hot or warm water from TAP, since the water heater is going to give concentrated levels of minerals and hard water and will contribute to your cloudy star san. When I used cold water, the star san mixture came out pretty clear, but if you want a sure thing use distilled water. Another reason to use distilled water is if your gone mix up some star san to use in a spray bottle for like sanitising the corny post and connections, for this scenario you really want star san to remain as clear and viable as possible.
 

conpewter

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I have a water softener and when I mix star-san it never gets cloudy, so if you have hard water you may be able to bum some water off a neighbor that has a water softener and that way it is more convenient and cheaper
 

Dagatris

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I made 2.5 gallons with distilled water a few weeks ago. Picked up some PH testing strips (like $2 for a pack of 100) and will just check the solution in the future.

I was so happy to already have some Starsan mixed up when I started a batch of Apfelwein last week.
 

pinkfloyd4ever

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does anyone know what kind of shelf life straight, unmixed/undiluted Star San has? I'm about to place an order with AHS. I'm sure 8 oz would last me awhile, but when an 8 oz bottle is $10 and a 32oz bottle (4x bigger for those mathematically impaired) is $17....

However, I don't have time to brew nearly as often as I'd like, so will straight Star San last a couple years?
 

reddskinnfan

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I did a search here on the shelf life or Star San after you make a solution. The thread I found was one where the maker of Star San himself chimed in. He said that Star San should maintain a PH level of 3 to be working. He said that once the solution turns cloudy it isn't working anymore.

I have used Star San on my last 3 batches and I find it is cloudy as soon as I mix it and remains that way. As far as I'm concerned Star San is always cloudy... What's up with that??

good? bad?
Just use distilled water. Your chlorine level may be high.

That may be good for your beers, but not your sanitizer!
 

pinkfloyd4ever

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oh cool thanks for answering his 1.5 year old question that already has 4 pages of answers...

does anyone know what kind of shelf life straight, unmixed/undiluted Star San has? I'm about to place an order with AHS. I'm sure 8 oz would last me awhile, but when an 8 oz bottle is $10 and a 32oz bottle (4x bigger for those mathematically impaired) is $17....

I don't have time to brew nearly as often as I'd like, so will straight Star San last a couple years?
....anyone?
 

mordantly

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does anyone know what kind of shelf life straight, unmixed/undiluted Star San has? I'm about to place an order with AHS. I'm sure 8 oz would last me awhile, but when an 8 oz bottle is $10 and a 32oz bottle (4x bigger for those mathematically impaired) is $17....

However, I don't have time to brew nearly as often as I'd like, so will straight Star San last a couple years?
why wouldn't it? most chemicals last indefinitely.
 

pinkfloyd4ever

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really? Why do medications all have expiration dates then? And why does the octane in gasoline break down after a few months?
 
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