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StarSan cloudy after 1 day in bottled water

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IEpicDestiny

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Hey there,

I have bought a large 5 litre shop bought bottle of water and I heard that this should keep my StarSan(ChemSan) from going cloudy for a while after using it.

I mixed 10ml of StarSan into the 5 litres of water (as instructed on the bottle and from videos on youtube) I then used my Starsan to clean a fermenter vessel (which was already clean anyway) and poured it back into the bottle.

After a day my StarSan in the bottle has already gone completely cloudy and I am very confused as to why since I've done exactly what others have done and there's apparently stays clear for a much longer while.

I know a PH meter would help test it but they're about £20 and it shouldn't be cloudy so quickly anyway..

Thanks for the help!
 

k-os

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Was the water you bought distilled/RO water? If not, it is probably some kind of spring water and will have minerals in it that can cause the cloudiness.
 

Robert65

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Was the water distilled, or spring water?
Cloudiness results from reactions between the phosphoric acid and minerals in the water precipitating phosphate salts, which would occur in spring water but not distilled or deionized. Even if cloudy, the Star San is still effective as long as the pH is still in range.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Ugh yeah it says mineral water on the bottle -.- Thanks for clearing this up. Do you think it would still be alright to reuse at least once more? Or do the minerals really mess up the StarSan? I have heard that tap water stored StarSan can still stay clear for a short while
 

IslandLizard

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Cloudy Starsan works a well as clear. As long as the pH remains under 3.0 (I think the original specs said <3.3, can't find it now).

To test, use cheap, multi-range pH paper that comes on a roll. Tear or snip 1/4" off and dip it in your Starsan bucket (I use tweezers). When the indicator shows the pH being 3 it's fine for use.

I keep a bucket of Starsan around for weeks, months even. I dump it when it gets grimey, grayish or gets a weird slick feeling on vinyl hoses left in there for a few days, which doesn't occur until its really old, over 1 or 2 months, generally.

I use plain tap water, but my water is fairly soft. It still gets cloudy within a day. No problem.

I have never, ever, had the pH go above 3 using the paper indicator (yeah, yeah it has limitations) or when measured with a pH meter. When fresh it reads 2.7 and remains under 3.0 after weeks or months of use. Just keep it clean and don't contaminate it, such as pouring wort or (alkaline) cleaner into it. Clean, then rinse everything off first, before dunking in (or mopping or spraying with) Starsan.
 
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IEpicDestiny

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Cloudy Starsan works a well as clear. As long as the pH remains under 3.0 (I think the original specs said <3.3, can't find it now).

To test, use cheap, multi-range pH paper that comes on a roll. Tear or snip 1/4" off and dip it in your Starsan bucket (I use tweezers). When the indicator shows the pH being 3 it's fine for use.

I keep a bucket of Starsan around for weeks, months even. I dump it when it gets grimey, grayish or gets a weird slick feeling on vinyl hoses left in there for a few days, which doesn't occur until its really old, over 1 or 2 months, generally.

I use plain tap water, but my water is fairly soft. It still gets cloudy within a day. No problem.

I have never, ever, had the pH go above 3 using the paper indicator (yeah, yeah it has limitations) or when measured with a pH meter. When fresh it reads 2.7 and remains under 3.0 after weeks or months of use. Just keep it clean and don't contaminate it, such as pouring wort or (alkaline) cleaner into it. Clean, then rinse everything off first, before dunking in (or mopping or spraying with) Starsan.
Thanks very much for this! Just bought 80 strips of PH paper, hopefully it'll be easy enough to read, 3 and 4 look very similar.. What if it's 3.5 or something? How would I tell?
 

bleme

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To test, use cheap, multi-range pH paper that comes on a roll. Tear or snip 1/4" off and dip it in your Starsan bucket (I use tweezers). When the indicator shows the pH being 3 it's fine for use.
I've only seen test strips before and wasn't aware of these rolls, which seem a lot more cost effective! However, one of the listings said that the paper expires April 2020! How long are they good for?
 

IslandLizard

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I've only seen test strips before and wasn't aware of these rolls, which seem a lot more cost effective! However, one of the listings said that the paper expires April 2020! How long are they good for?
I wonder if they truly expire... as so many other things don't.
If stored dry they should last pretty much forever, me thinks.

I got mine in a school auction 25 years ago. Seem to work fine for that purpose, a fairly broad indicator.
It's a lot quicker to dip in a small snippet than using the pH meter. Although the pH meter is a excellent reference and checking the actual patches for accuracy and at which pH values the color change starts.
 

Robert65

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I wonder if they truly expire... as so many other things don't.
If stored dry they should last pretty much forever, me thinks.
I did have a roll go bad after a few years. But it wasn't stored sealed up or anything, and I suspect you're right about storing dry, and the atmospheric humidity eventually got to it.

Thanks very much for this! Just bought 80 strips of PH paper, hopefully it'll be easy enough to read, 3 and 4 look very similar.. What if it's 3.5 or something? How would I tell?
There are also narrow range pH strips, which would be easier to read accurately if this is the only thing you'll use them for.
 

Nate R

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Hey there,

I have bought a large 5 litre shop bought bottle of water and I heard that this should keep my StarSan(ChemSan) from going cloudy for a while after using it.

I mixed 10ml of StarSan into the 5 litres of water (as instructed on the bottle and from videos on youtube) I then used my Starsan to clean a fermenter vessel (which was already clean anyway) and poured it back into the bottle.

After a day my StarSan in the bottle has already gone completely cloudy and I am very confused as to why since I've done exactly what others have done and there's apparently stays clear for a much longer while.

I know a PH meter would help test it but they're about £20 and it shouldn't be cloudy so quickly anyway..

Thanks for the help!
Fwiw... i buy 1 gallon (4L?) Jugs of distilled water. I use a 1/5 ounce star san for these jugs. I refill my spray bottles from these jugs. I use these spray bottles for anything that need spraying. These last a long time and i know they are always 100% fresh.

For kegs, brew day stuff, etc. I keep a 5 gallon paint bucket with star san. I change this out more often. It gets cloudy and yucky.
Best thing is to buy as large a container of star san as you can, then refill your little container. This way the cost per ounce goes down.
Starsan is expensive, but what one bad batch will you cost you more than makes up for a lifetime of good sanitizers (and PBW, too- but that is a another discussion left alone in it's own threads! ((Like LODO)).
 

IslandLizard

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3 and 4 look very similar.
The actual reference patches or on a screen?

Sadly, some are easier to read than others. It would certainly help if they are distinct enough. Mine is a deep brownish red at pH 3 becoming light orange at pH 4.

Make a small batch (say a gallon) of Starsan using RO or distilled water.*
Take a reading with a small piece of one of the test strips, you only need 1/4" snippet. That represents a pH of 2.7. Make a (mental) note of what it looks like and how it differs from the printed reference scale at pH 3.

To see the difference at pH 4, take an ounce or so out and add dropwise some dissolved baking soda to it to bring the pH up as you take new readings. Note the color changes until you get to the pH 4 patch.

* For that 1 gallon you need to fairly accurately measure out 6 ml of concentrate (1/5 of a fluid ounce). In a lieu of a graduated pipet, a small syringe or graduate will do if you have one. You can also "weigh" it, but you need a scale that can weigh small and precise enough. There are a few other ways to get fairly accurate.
 

ncbrewer

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For that 1 gallon you need to fairly accurately measure out 6 ml of concentrate (1/5 of a fluid ounce).
This was mentioned in a Brewing Network podcast (https://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/post1827/). It was stated that the concentration is really not critical - higher concentration is ok. But it was not quantified. So I called Five Star and asked. I was told that limitation is based on two things: 1) Very high concentration could be corrosive to bare hands, and 2) A high concentration would require a rinse to prevent off flavors. I now mix Star San at 1.2 times the indicated concentration to allow for dunking wet parts and for some measuring error. I haven't run into either of their potential problems.
 

IslandLizard

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I now mix Star San at 1.2 times the indicated concentration to allow for dunking wet parts and for some measuring error.
Although not a bad practice to prevent a concentration that's potentially too low, I'd still find a way to make sure the measurement itself is as accurate as possible.

I bought one of those small $12 Skyroku mini scales that weigh in 0.01 grams up to 100g. Comes with a 100g calibration weight and tweezers. I can recommend it.
You could measure out 1 (or 2) oz rather accurately (syringe or graduate). After taring the container, weigh it, and divide the weight of the content by 5 (or 10) to arrive at your gallon dosage rate by weight.

You can calibrate your graduates too, using water:
1 ml = 1g (@4°C)​
Small deviations due to small temperature differences, e.g., 4°C vs. 20°C, may be acceptable.

Common kitchen measuring spoons can be a help too. A standard tsp measure is 5 ml, but accuracy of the spoons themselves vary widely. Calibrate once and go from there. There's nothing magical about making a gallon either. One could make 3, 3.3, 3.5, 3.7 quarts... to fit your teaspoon measure.
 
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