Star San No Rinse Sanitizer Review
Star San is the star of sanitizers. It’s a fairly weak acid that sanitizes as long as the surface is wet. Only an ounce is needed for five gallons of sanitizer that can finish the whole process of bottling. There is quite a bit of foam involved but as always don’t fear the foam!
Star San works well sanitizing things where heat won’t work. Hoses, rubbers, and plastics should all be kept from heat. Of course, it’s also handy to avoid temperature shocks where off flavors can easily form. Plastics tend to feel a little slimy when coated in Star San but dry to a normal touch. Star San can sit in glass, metal and most plastics for a long time without issues. It can actually be reused as long as it is clear and stays under a PH of 3. Hard water causes it to cloud so I can really only go by the PH test thanks to my hard municipal water. It’s ok as I hear hard water is good for brewing! I’ve racked directly to several containers that sat for weeks with premade Star San with no infections.
According to the bottle, Star San consists primarily of dodecylbenzene sulfonic and phosphoric acids. The dodecylbenzene sulfonic acid is 15% of the mixture and Wikipedia lists it as an ingredient in laundry detergent. Phosphoric acid is 50% of the mixture and is most commonly in colas. The rest of the blend is inert ingredients. Acids don’t exactly inspire the feeling of safety but I drink tons of cola with no effects and I really think it’s better than drinking bleach residue.
Don’t fear the foam! Star San is pretty freaky to work with at first as it foams a lot even after draining most of the liquid. It’s a no-rinse sanitizer so leave the foam no matter how much you’re tempted to wash it. Odds are you will even have foam on top of whatever you rack into the fermenter. Make your Star San where spills aren’t an issue as the initial mixing of it will foam over quite a bit. The word is that it even serves as yeast nutrients so sanitize away!
A bottle will go a long way and it really isn’t all that expensive. Don’t deal with bleach or dishwasher sanitizing and just buy it! From beer to cider I’ve been infection free on every batch with my Star San and Oxiclean Free cleaning regiment.
Update: Star San is still my favorite sanitizer but as an added precaution I alternate with IO Star Sanitizer. Odds are Star San is working fine but the hope is that alternating sanitizers keeps bugs from becoming resistant.
- Safe on everything
- One bottle lasts a long time
- No rinsing required
- Makes plastic hoses slimy till dry