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sanitizing solution?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:30 am
by thebuddrik
I chalked up my problems on my last batch to not rinsing enough. I have since then bought the rinse free stuff from Marcello’s. It says that it kills with oxygen. Is this the same as oxyclean? I was told that it kills on contact. Does that mean that I don’t have to let it soak? Is this the stuff that I have seen on videos where people just use a spray bottle, spray it on something and then use it?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:05 am
by yeastmeister
Ok, soapbox time. You've inadvertently hit my hot button. Sanitization.

While lots of people say that One-Step is a sanitizer, you won't find anywhere on it that it claims to be one. Its an awesome cleaner. Theory is that its something like sodium percarbonate and sodium silicate mixed up. The sodium percarbonate should become basically hydrogen peroxide when its mixed with water, and the sodium silicate should bascially make the water more alkaline. Those 2 things probably make it a weak sanitizer, but the manufacturer has not chosen to get it approved for that use. (I'll put in the disclaimer that this is the situation as I understand it at this time, it could change in the future) I believe the FDA can approve that designation (not confirmed). So, while its believed by many to be a sanitizer, I don't think its nearly as good as a dedicated sanitizer like Iodophor or StarSan. Never take sanitization lightly. Lack of it is the number one reason for bad beer.

I personally, pick up tubs of Oxyclean free for my cleaning, I clean the stuff with oxyclean, rinse it well, then sanitize it with StarSan. One-Step and StarSan would be equivalent. One note with StarSan, its no rinse, don't fear the foam, just pour out whatever you can, then put your beer/starter/etc right onto the foam. I use StarSan in my spray bottles.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:31 am
by redtail28
Oxyclean is a cleaner only not a sanitizer. It's like PBW. Use warm water
And follow the directions and let it soak. But you must rinse.
If you buy Oxyclean get it Unscented Now starsan is a no rinse sanitizer. Again follow the direction And soak you equipment. Contact times is like 30 Seconds. One note this stuff works great but it does foam alot. They
Say don’t fear the foam.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:57 pm
by Imakewort
+1 on the oxyclean free and starsan, I make 5 gallons of starsan at a time and its good till the water clouds up, by using RODI water it will last weeks. I routinely get 3 days on my wort stability tests using this method. And like yeastmiester sanitation is my #1 priority.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:11 pm
by redtail28
When I mix up a batch of starsan it's cloudy right off
Any idear why?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:18 pm
by yeastmeister
Yep, its the water. If you make it up with distilled water, then it will be crystal clear. I make mine from my RO/DI systems water, and it stays clear. Anything made with lafayette tap water is cloudy instantly. Shouldn't have any effect on the sanitization, but it makes it difficult to tell when to change it.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:36 pm
by aleguy
I change mine when I either develop an oily slick on top or when it stops foaming significantly. I would also like to point out that I used one-step as a sanitizer for a long time and never had any problems. In fact, my stepfather just drank a beer that I used only one-step on, and bottled more than fourteen months ago. he said it was still very good.
Basically I think sanitation is a little over-rated until you start having problems, and then it's more likely inadequate cleaning of things like pumps lines and ball valves than poor sanitation.
If you just brew beer above 20% ABV you are very unlikely to have any significant spoilage problems unless you leave it exposed to the open air for long periods. five gallons of malt vinegar ought to last a long time even if you eat fish and chips every day.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:45 pm
by yeastmeister
aleguy wrote:
Basically I think sanitation is a little over-rated until you start having problems


PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:59 am
by Imakewort
I would like to see you try a wort stabilization check and see how long you can go before Bactria shows up. Certain types of bacteria can grow in your beer causing all type of problems. Sanitation should always be at the top of your list.

PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:13 am
by aleguy
It seems to me that a wort stability test would tell very little about sanitzation, since the wort has just been boiled and is therefore at least as sanitary as anything else in the brewery. Anyway, I once left the wort I pulled for a hydrometer reading in an open measuring cup on my kitchen counter for a week and so no sign of activity. Granted that was most likely a fluke, though at the high levels of hops I usually use, maybe not so much.
anyway, my point was that if a kit beer, made and bottled using only one-step, is still good more than fourteen months after bottling, then it is probably a good enough sanitizer as long as everything is kept clean.
Also, if you brew a beer to 20% ABV, the osmotic pressure in the unfermented wort would be so high that very few, if any, wild bugs could survive in it. And once it has been fermented, the high levels of alcohol would kill any spoilage organisms, perhaps including acetobacter.
don't get me wrong, I sanitize everything using star-san now, and I try to keep everything scrupulously clean. Even to the point of disassembling ball valves between brews.
By the way, I heard that Trappist style ales will immunize you against the Zombie blood virus.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:26 pm
by yeastmeister
Wort stability tests effectively test the sanitization of your transfer and chilling procedures. Thats probably where most of the infections come from anyway. Its possible also that extract is more sanitary than grain, grain is filthy.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:24 pm
by thebuddrik
alright, I know that I am a complete NOOB but in my mind it shouldn't matter if you use extract or grain. The boil should kill anything that shouldn't be there, right? I have never even seen, much less done a full grain batch but I would think the hard part the general cleanliness of the whole rig.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:34 pm
by yeastmeister
Not necessarily, don't feel bad about being a noob, I already had to correct a professional LUS water chemist at one of our meetings. Boiling is not sterilization, its sanitization. Forgive me if you already know this, its posted here for others as well. Sterilization basically indicates 100% killed (I know, not possible actually), while Sanitization means much less (sorry, don't know the exact numbers here). The clinical definition of sterilization is 20 minutes at 15 PSI (wet sterilization, as in a pressure cooker or autoclave), or 1 hour at 350 degrees F (as in an oven). Even after a boil (212F at sea level), there are things that can survive. My thought process is that the way extract is produced (usually under a vacuum), that the process is more prone to kill the nasties by pressure or heat. Its a common misconseption that boiling = sterilization. Lots of things survive above 212F.

The point of a wort stability test isn't really to test what survives the boil, because something always does. If you can get 3+ days with a wort stability test without obvious signs of fermentation, then your procedures are good enough. If you get 24 hours or less, than you have a problem with sanitization. Anything in between means you have room for improvement. Grain is full of bacteria in a dormant state. Boiling simply kills off those that are weakest in their dormant state.

Keep up the questions, we are here to help. We all started off as noobs at some point in time.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:20 pm
by aleguy
I have always used both grain and extract in my brewing. Even the kits had grain for steeping. With my caveman setup, the only things that are cold-sanitized are the fermenter, carboy (secondary,) and airlocks/bungs. My airlocks are filled with a 50/50 mix of tap water and Everclear.