Author Topic: Cloudy Star San pH  (Read 3368 times)

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Cloudy Star San pH
« on: October 04, 2014, 04:17:27 PM »
I know that this topic has been covered before, but, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.


Offline denny

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2014, 05:34:42 PM »
If you're reporting that StarSan under pH 3 can be cloudy, I have found the same thing.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2014, 05:46:40 PM »
I've had starsan go cloudy within hours. Isn't it mostly due to mineral content of the water? I now make mine with RO exclusively.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2014, 05:55:52 PM »
That's my understanding. I use RO or distilled and it stays clear until the bucket runs out. I've checked pH with strips and it stays well under 3.0 .
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2014, 07:21:31 PM »

I know that this topic has been covered before, but, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.



Over time the salts and star san will react and rise the pH. If you want to store your star san ready (like in spray bottle) use RO or Destilled water (as mentioned before).

Good luck.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2014, 07:25:00 PM »
+1 to star san made with distilled water.  Lasts a very long time in a sealed bucket.  I usually only dump it and start over when there are too many weird things floating around in there....  :P

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2014, 07:41:06 PM »
I've had starsan go cloudy within hours. Isn't it mostly due to mineral content of the water? I now make mine with RO exclusively.

I believe that it's due to one of the compounds in Star San sequestering the metal ions in the water.  Star San-based sanitizing solution used to stay fairly clear when I made it with untreated tap water from my well.  I was amazed at how cloudy it would get when I made it with tap water after installing an acid neutralizing (calcite) filter (my water is fairly soft with a low pH straight out of my well).  In both cases, the pH remained below 3, making the cloudy equals bad argument fly out the window.  I like brewing with neutralized water because I get a better hot break.  Almost all of the hardness is temporary hardness.

With that said, I am thinking about going back to dilute bleach as my sanitizing agent.  I am not sold on Star San, even when used with distilled water.  My experience with both sanitizing agents tells me that bleach is a much more effective sanitizing agent.  Plus, I kind of miss having bleach spots and holes in my brewing shirts. :) 


Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2014, 07:53:58 PM »
I like the clean hospital smell of iodophor but I only use it on stuff that has touched sour beer. I'm still a starsan-mostly guy.

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2014, 08:18:11 PM »
I like the clean hospital smell of iodophor but I only use it on stuff that has touched sour beer. I'm still a starsan-mostly guy.

Have you ever been in a milking barn?  It's weird mixture of the fragrance of nature combined with the scent of iodophor.

Offline niels

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2014, 08:48:58 PM »
We have very hard water and when using tap water my Star San solution goes cloudy instantly. It also not possible to keep it long. Since I switched to demi water I have a clear solution that stays good for weeks.
I like the clean hospital smell of iodophor but I only use it on stuff that has touched sour beer. I'm still a starsan-mostly guy.
I would love to have some iodophor as an alternative sanitiser, but it seems impossible to find in Belgium.

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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2014, 12:05:24 AM »
I believe that it's due to one of the compounds in Star San sequestering the metal ions in the water.  Star San-based sanitizing solution used to stay fairly clear when I made it with untreated tap water from my well.  I was amazed at how cloudy it would get when I made it with tap water after installing an acid neutralizing (calcite) filter (my water is fairly soft with a low pH straight out of my well).  In both cases, the pH remained below 3, making the cloudy equals bad argument fly out the window.  I like brewing with neutralized water because I get a better hot break.  Almost all of the hardness is temporary hardness.


You nailed it! Calcium complexes with the phosphoric acid in the starsan and that causes the cloudiness. That cloudiness is not necessarily negating the effectiveness of the sanitizing action of a very fresh solution. But over time, the calcium precipitate coats the surfaces and can render the action less effective. Leaving a piece of equipment in cloudy starsan will leave the equipment 'slimy'. I only use RO or distilled water to make up my starsan solutions and I can leave it out in an open bucket for over a month with no loss of effectiveness or loss of clarity. It is great stuff. I love 5Star Chemical...now I just wish they would get that 5.2 crap off the market!

With the ability to really screw up a beer with only a few ppb of chlorophenol, I wouldn't EVER consider using any sort of dilute bleach solution in the brewery. There are too many equally effective sanitizers without that ill-effect.
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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2014, 05:10:36 AM »
I am no stranger to chlorophenols.  I brewed my early beers with unfiltered chlorinated public water.  I remember the first time that I filtered my brewing water with a simple carbon block filter.  That experience etched the flavor of chlorophenols in the back of my mind.

I used bleach for the better part of a decade before switching to iodophor then Star San.   I never had a problem with chlorophenols that could be traced back to using bleach as a sanitizing agent.  Brewers tend to use far too much bleach when using it as a sanitizer.  The commonly accepted ratio for using bleach as a sanitizer is one tablespoon per gallon. However, I have found that using bleach at a ratio of as low as one tablespoon per five gallons of water makes for an effective sanitizer (two tablespoons is a nice safety blanket).  Granted, the contact time is longer than that of Star San. However, bleach has a major advantage over Star San in that it is an oxidizing agent, which means Bleach will oxidize any organic matter that remains after cleaning.

Offline dcb

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2014, 03:06:25 PM »
The commonly accepted ratio for using bleach as a sanitizer is one tablespoon per gallon. However, I have found that using bleach at a ratio of as low as one tablespoon per five gallons of water makes for an effective sanitizer (two tablespoons is a nice safety blanket).

At that concentration, do you still rinse?   I like the idea of using bleach but worry about having to boil a bunch of water to rinse with. 

My homebrewing efforts in the 80's were downright comedic.   I feel like the availability of no-rinse sanitizers (combined with me simply being more meticulous and disciplined) for my own ability to make what I consider to be better beer than much of what is for sale.   I used bleach in the 80's but as you've suggested, I used far too much of it and rinsed.  I also rinsed with tap water, an idea that troubled me at the time, but I didn't really know what else to try.

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2014, 05:00:57 PM »
There is plenty of oxidizing sanitizer on the market. I do not like them and I am not planning on using them. I am using Starsan for "hand" sanitizing and SaniClean for sanitizing with pump.
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Offline narcout

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Re: Cloudy Star San pH
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2014, 06:42:32 PM »
I like the clean hospital smell of iodophor

Me too.  It reminds me of an Outward Bound trip I took where we drank nothing but stream water sanitized with iodine drops for three weeks.
It's too close to home
And it's too near the bone