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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: mugwort on January 03, 2013, 10:29:12 PM

Title: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: mugwort on January 03, 2013, 10:29:12 PM
I just unsealed a new 32oz bottle of Star San to replace the 32oz bottle I've used for about a year and a half. Something I noticed immediately is that solutions made from this bottle of Star San cloud over much more rapidly than those made from the previous.

From my previous bottle I was getting shelf life of about a week with a covered, mixed-up batch of SS (1oz to 5 gal water). But solutions made from this latest bottle cloud over within a day (even when in a covered container or spray bottle).

Since Star San's pH (and therefore microbe-killing power) can be roughly judged by the clarity of the solution, I'm forced to consider changing my sanitizer habits to include discarding fresh but hazy solution and mixing batches more frequently.

BTW, the labels look legit and product was purchased from a reputable retailer.

Anybody else out there seeing a change in recent batches of Star San?  I'm pretty sure that my water didn't change that much over the course of a few weeks.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: morticaixavier on January 03, 2013, 10:31:09 PM
I have heard recently, I think from Denny, that the cloudiness = higher pH is not really all that accurate. If you have the ability to test pH that is your best bet for figuring out if the star san is still good.

I mix mine with tap water so it clouds over almost immediatly but still seems to work (fingers crossed, no infections yet)
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: alcaponejunior on January 03, 2013, 10:45:26 PM
I have heard recently, I think from Denny, that the cloudiness = higher pH is not really all that accurate. If you have the ability to test pH that is your best bet for figuring out if the star san is still good.

I mix mine with tap water so it clouds over almost immediatly but still seems to work (fingers crossed, no infections yet)
I also mix with tap water, instant cloudiness.  No issues so far.  I haven't tested the pH but perhaps I will pick up some strips and check it out.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: hubie on January 03, 2013, 10:45:37 PM
This is very interesting because I am in exactly the same boat as you.  I suddenly noticed that my buckets cloud over very quickly, like within an hour or two, whereas before it would go for several days before clouding up.  I also switched to a new 32 oz bottle.  I didn't think to associate it with the StarSan.  I had assumed that the mineral content of my water had changed going from winter into spring, or whatever the seasons were at the time.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: brewlikeamonkey on January 03, 2013, 11:43:13 PM
I have a friend who checks the Ph on his and he says that storing it covered, it lasts for month.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: breslinp on January 03, 2013, 11:54:59 PM
Have you tried making it with distilled water? Mine clouds with tap water but lasts months with distilled water.

I just unsealed a new 32oz bottle of Star San to replace the 32oz bottle I've used for about a year and a half. Something I noticed immediately is that solutions made from this bottle of Star San cloud over much more rapidly than those made from the previous.

From my previous bottle I was getting shelf life of about a week with a covered, mixed-up batch of SS (1oz to 5 gal water). But solutions made from this latest bottle cloud over within a day (even when in a covered container or spray bottle).

Since Star San's pH (and therefore microbe-killing power) can be roughly judged by the clarity of the solution, I'm forced to consider changing my sanitizer habits to include discarding fresh but hazy solution and mixing batches more frequently.

BTW, the labels look legit and product was purchased from a reputable retailer.

Anybody else out there seeing a change in recent batches of Star San?  I'm pretty sure that my water didn't change that much over the course of a few weeks.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on January 03, 2013, 11:57:17 PM
Have you tried making it with distilled water? Mine clouds with tap water but lasts months with distilled water.

I just unsealed a new 32oz bottle of Star San to replace the 32oz bottle I've used for about a year and a half. Something I noticed immediately is that solutions made from this bottle of Star San cloud over much more rapidly than those made from the previous.

From my previous bottle I was getting shelf life of about a week with a covered, mixed-up batch of SS (1oz to 5 gal water). But solutions made from this latest bottle cloud over within a day (even when in a covered container or spray bottle).

Since Star San's pH (and therefore microbe-killing power) can be roughly judged by the clarity of the solution, I'm forced to consider changing my sanitizer habits to include discarding fresh but hazy solution and mixing batches more frequently.

BTW, the labels look legit and product was purchased from a reputable retailer.

Anybody else out there seeing a change in recent batches of Star San?  I'm pretty sure that my water didn't change that much over the course of a few weeks.
It also lasts a long time with RO water.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: narvin on January 04, 2013, 01:01:55 AM
Could be your water changing due to seasonal differences, also.

And, as it has been covered already, cloudy Star San is not necessarily ineffective.  Check the pH to make sure.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: tygo on January 04, 2013, 01:35:15 AM
I haven't noticed a change and I just got a new bottle recently.  But as others have said above, with tap water mine clouds up almost instantly.  I'll use cloudy starsan solution for an entire brewday but I'll discard after that.  I have tested the pH and it stays below 3 as long as I'm using it for so I'm not worried about it.

For the solution I store in a keg and keep long term I use distilled.  I also keep a gallon jug of distilled water solution around for general tasks between brews and it stays crystal clear for months.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: Slowbrew on January 04, 2013, 12:50:10 PM
If you are in the midwest your water is changing quickly this year.  The rivers are down to very low levels and in many places more ground water from deeper wells is being used.  Our mineral contents is going up quite a bit right now.  Hopefully the drought (going on 8-10 years now) will end, or at least abate, soon and we can get some water back in the rivers.

Paul
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: mabrungard on January 04, 2013, 01:50:50 PM
If you are in the midwest your water is changing quickly this year.  The rivers are down to very low levels and in many places more ground water from deeper wells is being used.  Our mineral contents is going up quite a bit right now.  Hopefully the drought (going on 8-10 years now) will end, or at least abate, soon and we can get some water back in the rivers.

Paul

Exactly.  Clouding of StarSan solution is due to hardness in the water.  Using distilled, RO, or even ion-exchange softened water will solve the clouding 'problem'.  Its not really a problem.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: brewmichigan on January 04, 2013, 03:42:15 PM
My issue with storing it for longer periods of time is it develops a film. The bucket and anything sitting in it over night or for 12 hours will develop this film that is very slippery. It probably doesn't hurt anything but it discolors my tubing if I forget and leave it in the solution.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: hubie on January 04, 2013, 03:44:40 PM
When I make it with distilled water it stays cloud-free as you'd expect.  It just struck me interesting that when I make it with tap water it clouds up much much quicker than before, and just like mugwort this seemed to have happened coincidentally after using a new 32oz bottle.

Does StarSan lose its acidity over time in storage and perhaps the stuff in my old bottle was "old"?  It takes me a very long time to go through a 32oz bottle.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: beersk on January 04, 2013, 05:19:35 PM
I notice little fiber-like particles floating in my starsan once in a while. I kinda wonder if that's a bad thing...
I also use RO and don't get cloudiness often. I mix it pretty strong in a clear growler.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: tomsawyer on January 04, 2013, 08:26:58 PM
I notice little fiber-like particles floating in my starsan once in a while. I kinda wonder if that's a bad thing...
I also use RO and don't get cloudiness often. I mix it pretty strong in a clear growler.
Don't worry, the fibers are just asbestos.  Its the secret ingredient, they skewer the bacteria and the few that survive get asbestosis.
Title: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: ajk on January 05, 2013, 12:08:56 AM
This thread (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/clear-star-san-good-enough-130372/) has a quote from a StarSan employee stating the solution must have a pH below 3.5 AND be clear.  Cloudiness indicates the surfactant has reacted with minerals in the water and become ineffective.  The surfactant renders more permeable the cell walls of the unwanted flora, and the low pH then kills them.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: mugwort on January 06, 2013, 01:46:09 AM
Thanks everyone for the input, especially ajk for that link to the thread with the additional Star San info.

In this case of an immediate, drastic change in the time-to-clouding observed from one bottle of SS to the next, all I can suppose there is some appreciable difference between the two batches of Star San that I own.  How and why they came to be different is unknown.

What I do know now is that I need to change my usage practices.  I'll immediately start with the suggestion of using distilled water to mix up solutions that go into my spray bottles or in any situation in which I wish to keep the mix beyond a day.

Cheers and happy sanitizing!
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: narvin on January 06, 2013, 01:53:35 AM
This thread (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/clear-star-san-good-enough-130372/) has a quote from a StarSan employee stating the solution must have a pH below 3.5 AND be clear.  Cloudiness indicates the surfactant has reacted with minerals in the water and become ineffective.  The surfactant renders more permeable the cell walls of the unwanted flora, and the low pH then kills them.

If that's true, I might consider switching back to Iodophor for everything.  I sanitize my kegs with star san and push it out with CO2 to purge all the oxygen, and by the second keg it's already cloudy.  I have relatively soft water (Ca 28, HCO3 59), and I'm not going to buy 5 gallons of distilled water just for sanitizing.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: tygo on January 06, 2013, 01:08:10 PM
This thread (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/clear-star-san-good-enough-130372/) has a quote from a StarSan employee stating the solution must have a pH below 3.5 AND be clear.  Cloudiness indicates the surfactant has reacted with minerals in the water and become ineffective.  The surfactant renders more permeable the cell walls of the unwanted flora, and the low pH then kills them.

If that's true, I might consider switching back to Iodophor for everything.  I sanitize my kegs with star san and push it out with CO2 to purge all the oxygen, and by the second keg it's already cloudy.  I have relatively soft water (Ca 28, HCO3 59), and I'm not going to buy 5 gallons of distilled water just for sanitizing.

That five gallons with distilled will last for a long time though if you keep it around.  I do the same thing and always have one keg filled with starsan.
Title: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: ajk on January 06, 2013, 01:16:55 PM
This thread (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/clear-star-san-good-enough-130372/) has a quote from a StarSan employee stating the solution must have a pH below 3.5 AND be clear.  Cloudiness indicates the surfactant has reacted with minerals in the water and become ineffective.  The surfactant renders more permeable the cell walls of the unwanted flora, and the low pH then kills them.

If that's true, I might consider switching back to Iodophor for everything.  I sanitize my kegs with star san and push it out with CO2 to purge all the oxygen, and by the second keg it's already cloudy.  I have relatively soft water (Ca 28, HCO3 59), and I'm not going to buy 5 gallons of distilled water just for sanitizing.

I use "softened" water (from my Culligan system).  I keep the mixed StarSan solution in a corny keg, and it lasts for anywhere from weeks to months.  A solution made with distilled water would surely last even longer.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: quattlebaum on January 06, 2013, 03:31:59 PM
This is my H2o profile in Idaho Falls. In the early days when i didnt pay attention to my H20 brews were just off. My starsan immediately clouded when poured into my tap water. Hell $2 for RO water has made a huge difference. It last 3 to 4 months for me and i brew often.
Calcium   66
Sulfate S04-s   12
Magnesium   20
Sodium   27
Chloride   18
Hardness   262
Alkalinity   224
Idaho Falls PH 8.1
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: Jimmy K on January 08, 2013, 04:38:18 PM
When I make it with distilled water it stays cloud-free as you'd expect.  It just struck me interesting that when I make it with tap water it clouds up much much quicker than before, and just like mugwort this seemed to have happened coincidentally after using a new 32oz bottle.

Does StarSan lose its acidity over time in storage and perhaps the stuff in my old bottle was "old"?  It takes me a very long time to go through a 32oz bottle.
I've never heard of an acid that looses it's acidity during storage.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: LWHOUSE on February 04, 2014, 05:51:06 PM
I know this is an old thread, but I have noticed the same thing.  My Star San solution with carbon filtered tap water  in forest, Virginia used to stay clear for months.  Starting in early 2013 I noticed it would be cloudy within days.  I measure the pH and I continued using the Star San solution as long as the pH did not go above pH 2.7.  I did shorten the time that I keep the solution, but I do not know if it was necessary.  I never had any problems with contamination.

My conclusion is something did change with so many from different areas reporting the same thing.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: denny on February 04, 2014, 06:14:26 PM
FWIW, mixed with distilled water, I haven't seen this.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: dkfick on February 04, 2014, 06:39:20 PM
With tap water my Star San will cloud up pretty much instantly... Within an hour for sure.  I use RO water (assuming I wasn't too lazy and have some made up...) It lasts for months with RO water.

I ran an experiment a while back with 2 mason jars of star san (made with RO water).  One covered and one uncovered. The pH of both remained about the same for quite awhile. Though as the uncovered one started to have water evaporate the pH dropped.  They both started at a pH of 2.14 and 5 months later the volume of the open jar reduced by about 7/8ths and had a pH of 1.87 and the sealed one had a pH of 2.24.

I have noticed on large batches I make the pH does rise and I believe this is due to the fact that you're sticking stuff in there all the time which is neutralizing some of the acid.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: Stevie on February 04, 2014, 06:56:30 PM
I use RO and keep it until the level drops below a usable amount or it gets dirty.
Title: Re: Change for the worse in Star San longevity? At least in my new bottle...
Post by: ynotbrusum on February 05, 2014, 01:57:46 AM
Softened water (ion exchange as noted by Martin) with Star San stays good for me quite a while, but I have gone to changing it out after a week or two, just to be safe.  I don't have any problem with that.  I occasionally go with distilled, and keep it around longer in smaller quantities like a gallon.