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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: rylo1984 on August 11, 2010, 08:33:31 PM

Title: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: rylo1984 on August 11, 2010, 08:33:31 PM
Hello everyone,

I have just recently converted to Starsan for my sanitizing needs and was wondering if this strategy would work to conserve Starsan:

1.  Mix up 5 gallons of Starsan solution and use to sanitize equipment, utensils, and primary fermenter (6.5 gal. carboy) on brew day.

2.  Pour the 5 gallons of Starsan solution out of the primary fermenter and into the secondary fermenter (5 gal. carboy) and seal secondary fermenter with plug.

3.  When it's time to rack the beer to the secondary, pour the Starsan solution into the keg... let sit for several minutes and then push the solution through the beer line to sanitize the line.

4.  Rack beer into keg, pressurize, etc.

My question is if the Starsan will stay effective through this entire process or if will go bad after a certain amount of time.  I read somewhere that if Starsan is sealed off from the air it will remain effective, so I was hoping that if I stored it in the sealed secondary fermenter it would be OK.

I appreciate your input.

/RyLO
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: dbeechum on August 11, 2010, 08:41:48 PM
Star San's effectiveness is based off of pH. They always say as long as it's clear, you're good.

Here's the real trick to conserving star san. Mix it up with distilled water. If you do that, you can store the stuff in a bucket/keg for months and constantly re-use.
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: bluesman on August 11, 2010, 08:43:22 PM
I make Starsan solution in 2 gallon batches and store it in a plastic container.  I use spray bottles to wet down any and all surfaces that will come into contact with wort or beer during the brewing process.  Starsan will store for months at a time and as long as the pH remains at 3 or less will be effective.  If the solution becomes cloudy it's an indication that it is time to dispose of it.  Here's some info.

http://www.fivestarchemicals.com/tech/starsan.pdf

..and never fear the foam.   8)
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 11, 2010, 08:45:01 PM
That is how I do it.
Use distilled water and use it over and over.

If you are concerned if it is still effective measure pH.
It should be below 3.
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: richardt on August 12, 2010, 12:18:22 AM
Clean everything first.  "You can't sanitize dirt."  Rinse off all the detergent and cleaning solutions with regular water.
Make the starsan solution with distilled water.  It keeps the pH below 3 and the solution remains clear.
If you have alkaline water (like I do), the pH will quickly get above 3 and the solution will become cloudy (and lose effectiveness).
Since I've gone to distilled water--my StarSan solution works better and lasts a lot longer (practically forever).
I also use the thick blue "chemical safe" gloves that go up to mid forearm (I got them at HD--I can't remember if they're PVC, or Nitrile, or what) to prevent skin exposure during the equipment dunking and transfer process.
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: beerocd on August 12, 2010, 01:36:01 AM
I also use the thick blue "chemical safe" gloves that go up to mid forearm (I got them at HD--I can't remember if they're PVC, or Nitrile, or what) to prevent skin exposure during the equipment dunking and transfer process.

You really think the stuff (at proper ratio) is that bad? I can see with iodophor (fake tan /jk) but I'm surprised with starsan. I figure if I dip a finger in the wort or starter then it's no biggie - I've been sanitized.
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: richardt on August 12, 2010, 01:55:43 AM
I'm not too worried about "infecting the beer" if I don't use the gloves--I've sanitized bottles and gear w/o gloves on several times w/o ruining the batch.

It is the toll it takes on my hands and skin--my skin gets rather dry and itchy for the next 24-48 hours if they've spent considerable time in StarSan solution (pH<3).  Sanitizing 50-60 bottles for a 5 gallon batch really takes a toll.

I'll pre-empt:  I've since gone to kegging with just the occasional bottling for comps or sharing.

Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: euge on August 12, 2010, 02:25:42 AM
I use RO water and it lasts for months. Usually, I just do one gallon at a time. Had dead bugs and stuff floating in it before and it still worksed extremely well. I can't say the same for Iodophor. I just use that for bottling. 
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: ajk on August 12, 2010, 02:49:36 PM
I also use the thick blue "chemical safe" gloves that go up to mid forearm (I got them at HD--I can't remember if they're PVC, or Nitrile, or what) to prevent skin exposure during the equipment dunking and transfer process.

You really think the stuff (at proper ratio) is that bad? I can see with iodophor (fake tan /jk) but I'm surprised with starsan. I figure if I dip a finger in the wort or starter then it's no biggie - I've been sanitized.

I sanitize my hands with the stuff all the time when working on the cold side.  No ill effects yet.  And without any brain damage-amage-amage-amage-amage ...
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: saintpierre on August 12, 2010, 03:07:49 PM
Star San's effectiveness is based off of pH. They always say as long as it's clear, you're good.

Here's the real trick to conserving star san. Mix it up with distilled water. If you do that, you can store the stuff in a bucket/keg for months and constantly re-use.

+1 Couldn't have said it any better.
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: wingnut on August 12, 2010, 03:11:52 PM
I also use the thick blue "chemical safe" gloves that go up to mid forearm (I got them at HD--I can't remember if they're PVC, or Nitrile, or what) to prevent skin exposure during the equipment dunking and transfer process.

You really think the stuff (at proper ratio) is that bad? I can see with iodophor (fake tan /jk) but I'm surprised with starsan. I figure if I dip a finger in the wort or starter then it's no biggie - I've been sanitized.

Basically, it is an acid and will give your hands a nice "chemical peel" if you leave your hands in contact with it long enough.  On the bright side, once the skin is done peeling, you are left with younger more youthful looking hands... :D  If your wife is into that sort of thing, you may be able to save some $$$. 

Seriously, however, I do not think a few minutes here or there is an issue, but when bottling 50 to 100 bottles, and pulling each one out of a bucket of starsan over the course of 2 to 3 hours... that will cause your skin to peel a few days later! 

So like everything in life, just do it in moderation... ;)
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: tschmidlin on August 12, 2010, 10:08:06 PM
I've heard one of the 5-star people has drunk a glass starsan to demonstrate how safe it is.  I don't worry about the starsan on my hands so much as the pbw, my skin doesn't like that stuff.
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: ajk on August 13, 2010, 12:18:21 AM
I've heard one of the 5-star people has drunk a glass starsan to demonstrate how safe it is.  I don't worry about the starsan on my hands so much as the pbw, my skin doesn't like that stuff.

I accidentally swallowed a mouthful of StarSan once.  Forgot I'd stored the draft line full of it.
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: beerocd on August 13, 2010, 12:40:42 AM
OK, no joke - been using Starsan all over the place lately and coincidentally have skin issues with my hands being super dry and peeling. DUH!  Never really connected it until this thread.  ::)
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: euge on August 13, 2010, 01:12:03 AM
Use some lotion and it'll be ok. Really.
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: tschmidlin on August 13, 2010, 02:06:47 AM
I've heard one of the 5-star people has drunk a glass starsan to demonstrate how safe it is.  I don't worry about the starsan on my hands so much as the pbw, my skin doesn't like that stuff.

I accidentally swallowed a mouthful of StarSan once.  Forgot I'd stored the draft line full of it.
Drinking straight from the tap again? :)
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: ajk on August 13, 2010, 11:23:58 AM
I accidentally swallowed a mouthful of StarSan once.  Forgot I'd stored the draft line full of it.
Drinking straight from the tap again? :)
Whenever possible. :-)

It was funny because I didn't realize it wasn't beer at first.  The beer in the keg was a Saison that was still pretty young.  I snapped on a cobra tap line, pulled a sample, and took a sniff and a sip without observing the appearance.  It was extremely citrusy, watery,  mineraly, and, as you can imagine, very astringent.  I thought, "Wtf happened to this beer?!"
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: richardt on August 13, 2010, 01:41:12 PM
I've heard one of the 5-star people has drunk a glass starsan to demonstrate how safe it is.  I don't worry about the starsan on my hands so much as the pbw, my skin doesn't like that stuff.

Don't be too impressed.  That'd be like watching him drink a Coke.

Phosphoric acid is used in Coca-cola (pH = 2.5).  Phosphoric acid is also one of the key ingredients in StarSan:  50% phosphoric acid and 15% dodecylbenzene sulfonic acid.  I'd actually be more worried about what dodecylbenzene sulfonic acid does once it gets into your body.  I can't find much info about it online beyond the usual safety guidelines. http://www.inchem.org/documents/icsc/icsc/eics1189.htm (http://www.inchem.org/documents/icsc/icsc/eics1189.htm)

Your stomach secretes hydrochloric acid and pepsin to break down food.  The pH of your stomach environment ranges from 1.5 to 3.5. The only reason the stomach doesn't "digest itself" is because the lining of your stomach secretes a lot of mucous to coat itself and the epithelial lining is constantly replacing itself (500,000 cells slough off every minute and the entire lining replaces itself within 3 days).  Contrast that with the skin of your hands:  No mucous protection, and it takes 28 days to replace itself. 

I wear gloves if I'm working a long time with the solution--just to avoid the "dermatitis."  Euge is right that hand lotion will help speed the recovery, but, if you wear gloves, no recovery is needed.  ;)  I'm not worried about the scant amount of StarSan that remains behind in the fermenter after sanitizing (i.e., the foam)--it is not the same thing as drinking a whole glass of it.
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: tschmidlin on August 13, 2010, 04:04:44 PM
I've heard one of the 5-star people has drunk a glass starsan to demonstrate how safe it is.  I don't worry about the starsan on my hands so much as the pbw, my skin doesn't like that stuff.
Don't be too impressed.  That'd be like watching him drink a Coke.
That's sort of the point - except I'll bet it doesn't taste as good, whether you like Coke or not.
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: rylo1984 on August 13, 2010, 05:22:54 PM
Thanks everyone for the responses -- I will be using distilled water to mix up my StarSan next weekend!

One more question -- several people have commented that they store cleaning or sanitizing solutions in their beer lines and then flush them with hot water.... this might be obvious, but how do you keep the line filled such that the liquid just doesn't fall back into the keg?

Must you raise your keg up higher than the faucet so that gravity doesn't drive the liquid back down into the keg?

Thanks!!

/RyLO
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on August 13, 2010, 08:44:48 PM
I also use the thick blue "chemical safe" gloves that go up to mid forearm (I got them at HD--I can't remember if they're PVC, or Nitrile, or what) to prevent skin exposure during the equipment dunking and transfer process.

You really think the stuff (at proper ratio) is that bad? I can see with iodophor (fake tan /jk) but I'm surprised with starsan. I figure if I dip a finger in the wort or starter then it's no biggie - I've been sanitized.
Once I mixed it too strong and I had a "fuzzy" hands for a few days.
If I would be dipping my hands in StarSan for extended period of time I would also use gloves.
Different people might react differently to it.
Title: Re: Conserving/Storing Starsan
Post by: beerocd on August 13, 2010, 08:53:25 PM
Once I mixed it too strong and I had a "fuzzy" hands for a few days.
No, that's from something else entirely.  ;D