Author Topic: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...  (Read 6883 times)

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2010, 09:43:13 PM »
I'm a little disappointed in this thread and feel like some of this might be misinformation. I keep a keg full of starsan around, just like wayne, and have never had any problem with sterility. I also don't see how it's possible that a keg sanitized and full of starsan could 'become unsanitary', even if the starsan lost some of its sanitizing power over time. No air or anything else would be getting into the sealed keg, so it seems like the environment would have to remain sanitary. besides, starsan sanitizes based on its acidity correct? I'm not sure what would cause the ph of the solution to change...
Sorry for the misunderstanding.   :)  First, we were referring to empty kegs that had been sanitized becoming unsanitary, not kegs full of starsan.  Second, I am just reporting what someone from 5-star said in an interview.  It doesn't bother me if you don't believe it, and if it works for you then great.  The only evidence is what the manufacturer claims. <shrug>

Also, I have stored "empty" cleaned keg lines full of star san ever since I started kegging. Routine is, fill a keg with hot PBW solution, run it through the lines, let it sit a day, then run a fair amount of starsan through them to 'rinse' them out, then hang the lines full of starsan to dry. I've never noticed any 'gumminess' or off flavors with any of my kegged beer being run through these lines. could you please somehow substantiate the claim that starsan breaks down beer line? I'm using http://stores.kegconnection.com/Detail.bok?no=151 - pretty standard afaik.
As for starsan breaking down beer lines - really the easiest way to substantiate it is to throw a chunk of line in a bucket of starsan for a couple of weeks and see for yourself.  Maybe you haven't noticed it because it's not an issue with the small quantity that actually fills a line, as I suggested.  Or maybe because it is gummy on the inside, and you don't actually touch the inside of the line.  It's probably one or the other of those things, and seriously, I'm glad it's not a problem for you.  But a line in a bucket gets gummy, and that's been a problem for me in the past.
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Offline mindphlux

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2010, 10:03:02 PM »
Sorry for the misunderstanding.   :)  First, we were referring to empty kegs that had been sanitized becoming unsanitary, not kegs full of starsan.  Second, I am just reporting what someone from 5-star said in an interview.  It doesn't bother me if you don't believe it, and if it works for you then great.  The only evidence is what the manufacturer claims. <shrug>

I'm not trying to troll or anything, I'm just trying to think the claim through using the science/logic behind it all because it really doesn't make sense to me at first thought. And of course, given I do exactly that, I'd definitely want to change how I do things if it's indeed true that there's a problem. I've searched a little for the interview but no luck, you wouldn't happen to have a link would you?

Quote
As for starsan breaking down beer lines - really the easiest way to substantiate it is to throw a chunk of line in a bucket of starsan for a couple of weeks and see for yourself.  Maybe you haven't noticed it because it's not an issue with the small quantity that actually fills a line, as I suggested.  Or maybe because it is gummy on the inside, and you don't actually touch the inside of the line.  It's probably one or the other of those things, and seriously, I'm glad it's not a problem for you.  But a line in a bucket gets gummy, and that's been a problem for me in the past.

I've noticed this with thin PVC tubing I use for racking and stuff. after a few weeks sitting in a bucket of starsan (don't ask) my tubing has gone a bit milky and sort of feels a little gummy, but I'm not really sure of the science of it all, or what's happening. Anyone smarter than me care to explain? In any case, with the beer line I use, I don't notice any of the milkiness or anything, everything stays crystal clear (and also sits for months at a time), so I'm assuming it's not doing the same strange gummy thing - but you're right, I'm not opening up my tubes or touching the inside. again, hoping someone smarter than me can explain potential problems - but as far as I can tell it sort of seems ok?

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2010, 10:36:56 PM »
I'm not trying to troll or anything, I'm just trying to think the claim through using the science/logic behind it all because it really doesn't make sense to me at first thought. And of course, given I do exactly that, I'd definitely want to change how I do things if it's indeed true that there's a problem. I've searched a little for the interview but no luck, you wouldn't happen to have a link would you?
As far as I know, it was this interview, although I could be wrong.

http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=basic-brewing-radio-2007
March 29, 2007 - Sanitizing with Bleach and Star San
Charlie Talley from Five Star Chemicals tells us best practices in using household bleach and Star San in sanitizing equipment.

My speculation is that once you remove the starsan there is an opportunity for things to grow.  This makes sense from a strictly "what is possible" point of view, but from a "what is likely" point of view it is probably not anything to worry about.  A lot of people do what you're doing without any contamination problems.

I've noticed this with thin PVC tubing I use for racking and stuff. after a few weeks sitting in a bucket of starsan (don't ask) my tubing has gone a bit milky and sort of feels a little gummy, but I'm not really sure of the science of it all, or what's happening. Anyone smarter than me care to explain? In any case, with the beer line I use, I don't notice any of the milkiness or anything, everything stays crystal clear (and also sits for months at a time), so I'm assuming it's not doing the same strange gummy thing - but you're right, I'm not opening up my tubes or touching the inside. again, hoping someone smarter than me can explain potential problems - but as far as I can tell it sort of seems ok?
The starsan is acidic enough to slowly dissolve the tube.  The beer line that I use is 3/16" pvc from morebeer (http://morebeer.com/view_product/16367//Beer_Tubing_3_16%22_ID_Roll_of_100)  Maybe the line you get isn't pvc, the website doesn't say.  Either way, if it isn't a problem for you don't worry about it.  :)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2010, 11:47:04 PM »
My speculation is that once you remove the starsan there is an opportunity for things to grow.  This makes sense from a strictly "what is possible" point of view, but from a "what is likely" point of view it is probably not anything to worry about.  A lot of people do what you're doing without any contamination problems.
Just for clarity I should also point out that I am sure that when he said that he meant that is the case with any product you might use, and not something peculiar to starsan.  Sorry if it seemed like I was saying something different.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bluesman

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2010, 03:48:06 AM »
Here's my SOP upon kicking a keg:

1. rinse keg clean of debris using tap water.
2. fill keg and dip tube with hot PBW solution and let sit overnight then rinse.
3. pour about a quart of starsan solution in the keg (secure lid) and shake well
4. purge and pressurize keg to 30psi with CO2.
5. store keg until next use.
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Offline wingnut

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2010, 05:51:00 AM »

I've noticed this with thin PVC tubing I use for racking and stuff. after a few weeks sitting in a bucket of starsan (don't ask) my tubing has gone a bit milky and sort of feels a little gummy, but I'm not really sure of the science of it all, or what's happening. Anyone smarter than me care to explain? In any case, with the beer line I use, I don't notice any of the milkiness or anything, everything stays crystal clear (and also sits for months at a time), so I'm assuming it's not doing the same strange gummy thing - but you're right, I'm not opening up my tubes or touching the inside. again, hoping someone smarter than me can explain potential problems - but as far as I can tell it sort of seems ok?

Contrary to other posts, after reading through the chemistry of Star San, and an experiment I tried (left plastic parts in the Star San for a couple months) I beleive the milky coating is actually the surfacants in the Starsan being pulled out by the slighty charged plastic parts.  I have placed hoses in the stuff for months, and the diamters of the hoses have not changed.  The white goo had a distinctly metalic smell to it, but if you rinse off the stuff and let air dry, all of my clear plastic parts have returned to "clear" after a few days of air drying. 

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2010, 10:08:47 AM »
Contrary to other posts, after reading through the chemistry of Star San, and an experiment I tried (left plastic parts in the Star San for a couple months) I beleive the milky coating is actually the surfacants in the Starsan being pulled out by the slighty charged plastic parts.  I have placed hoses in the stuff for months, and the diamters of the hoses have not changed.  The white goo had a distinctly metalic smell to it, but if you rinse off the stuff and let air dry, all of my clear plastic parts have returned to "clear" after a few days of air drying. 
Interesting, but that doesn't explain why my starsan gets cloudy at the same time the hose gets gummy.  Maybe it's just a coincidence though, I don't know.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2010, 10:49:35 AM »
Here's my SOP upon kicking a keg:

1. rinse keg clean of debris using tap water.
2. fill keg and dip tube with hot PBW solution and let sit overnight then rinse.
3. pour about a quart of starsan solution in the keg (secure lid) and shake well
4. purge and pressurize keg to 30psi with CO2.
5. store keg until next use.

Ditto, except I use a gallon of starsan for storage & when I think about it I'll give the kegs a good shake while they're awaiting their next call to duty...
If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2010, 12:29:50 PM »
Here's my SOP upon kicking a keg:

1. rinse keg clean of debris using tap water.
2. fill keg and dip tube with hot PBW solution and let sit overnight then rinse.
3. pour about a quart of starsan solution in the keg (secure lid) and shake well
4. purge and pressurize keg to 30psi with CO2.
5. store keg until next use.
I put my kegs to one side when they kick, then clean them all in one day with my keg washer.  Then I store them open until I need them, sanitize with starsan, and fill.  Whatever works for you though, I'm sure either way is fine.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline jbutterw

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2010, 01:37:30 PM »
Y'all are freakin' out over nothing. RDWHAHB.

...

  If storing a hose in star-san causes you concern then the simplest solution (pun intended) is not to do it. CLEAN it with running water after use and hang it up to dry. Run some star-san through it before the next use and you're set. Same with a keg or any other equipment.

 Youngun's these days...<sigh>

  Tubercle is only here to help.
 

Ha! Thanks Tubercle! That made me laugh.

I don't think any of us were freaking out though; we were just trying to learn the best practice from our wise elders!

That said, I only stored star-san in my beer lines because it was easier than trying to get them empty and dry. I could be wrong, but at the moment I think I can only fully empty my beer lines by dissembling them which I'd rather not do as it is just one more task to do (and later undo)... Again, I can't be the first one with such a problem.

For the record, most of my beer lines consist of:
Picnic Tap (force fit)::::: tubing::::Ball-Lock disconnect (hose clamp, some needing a special tool that I don't have)

I suppose I just need to learn how to allow flow through the Ball-Lock disconnect when not attached to a keg post. One idea: a spare ball-lock keg post that is not attached to a keg.

Thanks.






Offline richardt

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #25 on: August 17, 2010, 01:42:52 PM »
Check the pH.

I have high bicarbonate water so the residual alkalinity is rather high.  I've noticed my starsan solution gets cloudy pretty quick if I use the tap water.  And the bottom and sides of the bucket get coated with a white residue or precipitate.  

So do hoses that get left in the bucket for awhile.  However, I've not noticed any permanent cloudiness of my better bottle plastic associated with storing cloudy starsan solution for weeks on end in it--it does get a residue coating that needs to be scrubbed off.  

Vinyl hoses might be a different story--it is a lot more porous and softer--probably why it is harder to clean.  

My suspicion is that the varied responses on this post have to do with 1.) the pH of the starsan solution, and 2.) the type of hose material  (i.e., vinyl or PVC or Tygon)

OTOH, if you use distilled water to make your 5 gallon starsan solution, it'll stay clear practically forever.  And I doubt you'll have any white residue build up on your tubing.

Which brings me back to my original point:  Check the pH.  The clarity of starsan solution is pH dependent (it must be < 3).

FWIW, I've not heard of acid "dissolving" vinyl tubing in any of the beer and dispensing literature I've read, so if anyone has a reference, please provide it.

Offline hamiltont

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2010, 02:11:46 PM »
I suppose I just need to learn how to allow flow through the Ball-Lock disconnect when not attached to a keg post. One idea: a spare ball-lock keg post that is not attached to a keg.

Thanks.
Just press in the pin inside the disconnect with your index finger & hold it above the tap to allow air in & fluid out.
If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2010, 03:11:26 PM »
That said, I only stored star-san in my beer lines because it was easier than trying to get them empty and dry. I could be wrong, but at the moment I think I can only fully empty my beer lines by dissembling them which I'd rather not do as it is just one more task to do (and later undo)... Again, I can't be the first one with such a problem.
Like I said, if it's working for you then don't worry about it.  But you could try something like LLC.  http://morebeer.com/view_product/8898//LLC_Liquid_Line_Cleaner_32_oz.  I assume it is safe to leave in lines, then you could just flush with saniclean when you are ready to serve.


I suppose I just need to learn how to allow flow through the Ball-Lock disconnect when not attached to a keg post. One idea: a spare ball-lock keg post that is not attached to a keg.
As richardt mentioned, you can press the pin in to let everything flow out, but that hurts my finger.  I prefer to take the disconnect apart with a screw driver, I can clean it more easily that way anyway.  There's a slot on the disconnect and giving it a twist and you're set - just don't lose any bits and make sure you remember how to put it back together.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2010, 03:17:35 PM »
FWIW, I've not heard of acid "dissolving" vinyl tubing in any of the beer and dispensing literature I've read, so if anyone has a reference, please provide it.
Like I said, I assumed it was dissolving it, but something is certainly happening.  We can speculate all day, but instead I sent an message to Five Star and asked.  I'll let you know what they say.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline wingnut

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Re: star san and the storage of kegs and beer lines...
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2010, 04:14:51 PM »
Contrary to other posts, after reading through the chemistry of Star San, and an experiment I tried (left plastic parts in the Star San for a couple months) I believe the milky coating is actually the surfactants in the Starsan being pulled out by the slightly charged plastic parts.  I have placed hoses in the stuff for months, and the diameters of the hoses have not changed.  The white goo had a distinctly metallic smell to it, but if you rinse off the stuff and let air dry, all of my clear plastic parts have returned to "clear" after a few days of air drying. 
Interesting, but that doesn't explain why my starsan gets cloudy at the same time the hose gets gummy.  Maybe it's just a coincidence though, I don't know.

Actually, that makes perfect sense... Essentially, the charge of the plastic slowly adds positive charge to the solution over time, until the PH is high enough that it can no longer keep the surfactant (detergent) dissolved.  If you were only getting the goo on your plastic parts and the water was NOT getting cloudy, then that would be an indication that the plastic is being eaten away. 

The effect is that the water can't hold the detergent any more so it get cloudy everywhere in the solution at the same time.  If it were eating your plastic away, it would be cloudy only near the hoses, since that is where the highest concentration of dissolved plastic would be.

Bottom line is, don't keep your plastic hoses in StarSan for weeks at a time, because you will get a sludge on them, and the StarSan will loose effectiveness...
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