Author Topic: How come Starsan turns cloudy?  (Read 2198 times)

Offline Pi

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How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« on: February 21, 2016, 03:56:43 PM »
I usually fill a corney with 5 gallons cold filtered water and 1oz Starsan acid. sometimes turns the water a milky white. Is it the SS keg? Is it nothing to worry about? And how long will it remain effective in a keg?
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Offline yso191

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2016, 04:05:13 PM »
It is because of minerals in your water.  If you use 100% RO or distilled water it will remain clear.  I don't think it will degrade its effectiveness in the short term.
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Offline tommymorris

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2016, 04:19:33 PM »
Hard water.  I think Calcium is the main culprit. You water source may vary through out the year which may be why sometimes the solution goes cloudy and sometimes not.

Silver lining: calcium helps clear your beer by encouraging yeast to floc.

Offline Philbrew

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2016, 05:23:04 PM »
It is because of minerals in your water.  If you use 100% RO or distilled water it will remain clear.  I don't think it will degrade its effectiveness in the short term.
Yes to RO water for StarSan.  I make up a batch and store in glass jugs.  It keeps its effectiveness for months.  But if it's cloudy, I would bet the PH is up and it is not as effective.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2016, 05:24:41 PM »
The one time I buy distilled is for Starsan. Stays clear for a year.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2016, 05:29:14 PM »
I've seen it go cloudy near instantly, so cloudiness isn't the best indicator that it is off.

Offline kramerog

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2016, 12:10:27 AM »
Generally, milkiness is calcium phosphate.  The formation of calcium phosphate generates some acidity so milkiness is not a particularly indicative that the StarSan solution.  Nor is the lack of milkiness conclusive that the StarSan is not spent because soft water will not cause precipitation but can lower pH.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2016, 12:25:27 AM »
FWIW I realize that clarity alone isn't the sole indicator of effectiveness. I test pH now and then to verify it's @ 3 or under. Just that since I started using distilled, I haven't measured it over 3 yet.
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Offline wingnut

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2016, 12:11:18 PM »
FWIW I realize that clarity alone isn't the sole indicator of effectiveness. I test pH now and then to verify it's @ 3 or under. Just that since I started using distilled, I haven't measured it over 3 yet.

That was the key inidicator from a 5-star (makers of Star San) interview I heard many years ago on the Brewing Network.  (PH Below 3)

The cloudyness you see is the surficants coming out of solution (The soapish part that lets it get into crevices and causes the wonderful foaming).   If you leave your siphon hose in there a while, it will get cloudy too... even in RO based StarSan.   (Just rinse the stuff off and the hose is fine)

As long as the PH is ok, StarSan supposedly is OK, and I have used cloudy Star San enough times, I would expect that I would have had a major issue by now if it was not OK. 

If the cloudy bother you, then RO/Distilled water is the way to go. 

Good luck!
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Offline duboman

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2016, 01:26:52 PM »
I mix using regular tap water and generally it lasts about 3-4 months before the pH gets out of whack, being cloudy hasn't been a problem with it still being effective

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Offline mabrungard

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2016, 04:35:33 PM »
Using the softest water possible is important for the longevity of StarSan solution. As mentioned, the cloudiness is caused by the complexing of the active ingredients with the calcium in the water. While the cloudiness does not indicate the solution is ineffective, the cloudiness is a precipitate and it does coat all of your equipment soaking in the solution with a slimey layer. In my opinion, that is more than enough reason to insist on using completely softened water. Distilled, RO, or ion-exchange softened waters are OK for making up StarSan solutions. Be aware that you may need to add more concentrate when using a softened water since there is probably a good bit of alkalinity in that water that neutralizes some of the acid.
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Offline chumley

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2016, 08:37:31 PM »
I'm glad I read this thread, as yesterday when I made up a batch of star san solution and it looked like skim milk, I knew the reason why.  Generally, my brewing water is very soft, coming from the Continental Divide.  The local WTP, however, is getting an upgrade, however, and I am stuck with disgusting Missouri River water until April.  The stuff tastes like moss.

http://helenair.com/business/helena-supply-change-may-tarnish-taste-of-tap-water-but/article_a618fecf-28ce-5a34-85ad-61e20844dda6.html

Offline JT

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2016, 08:51:58 PM »
Yeah, star-san + my tap water = solution that's slicker than snot on a doorknob.  I remember it took me a few brews to figure out why my carboy bung was always coming out.  If I'm storing star-san solution, it's always made with distilled.  Otherwise it's a 1 time use for me. 

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2016, 08:56:18 PM »
+1 to distilled. Mine stays clear and pH good for a year-ish.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2016, 11:16:34 PM »
+1 to distilled. Mine stays clear and pH good for a year-ish.

Yep.  That's the only way I will mix it up. I only have to change mine out after I get weird s**t floating around in it.