Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sanitation Iodophor vs. Star-San

A question we get a lot in the store is why to use a no rinse sanitizer, and whether or not the One Step or PBW is a sanitizer at all. So, I thought I would cover those very common questions.

Unlike other posts, I will be slanting this towards the products we sell in the store and giving my opinion based on what I have use, seen, and read about. It seems there are neverending threads on forums on whether or not Bicarbonate cleansers such as PBW, One-Step, and B-Brite work as a sanitizer, but for the purposes of this post, I will just say they are NOT sanitizers. Yes, it used to be. Yes, it kills microbes. Yes, people use it as a sanitizer successfully. But it is not classified as a sanitizer any longer because it doesn’t kill enough microbes. They also leave a film and granules behind that I wouldn’t really want in my beer or wine, which means you need to rinse it… and if you are rinsing you are reintroducing microbes.

So, we recommend treating your equipment like a commercial kitchen treats their dishing and cookware. Clean (with cleanser), Rinse (with water), Sanitize (no rinse sanitizer).

Since One-Step, PBW, and B-Brite are virtually the same thing and are all really good at removing organic material, you could go with whatever one you would like with similar results, but there are a couple popular no rinse sanitizers that are fairly different, so here is an over vew of Both:

This is an iodine based sanitizer that is great for home brewers. There is no real Iodine smell, and if diluted properly, should not affect the taste of your beer either, but if you have a severe iodine allergy, I would probably stay away from it. The main benefit of this product is price. It is a bit cheaper than Star-Stan.
Dilution: 1oz to 5 gallons
Contact Time: 1 minute
Dry Time: None
Min Cost/Oz: $.66

Built specifically for the home brewer, this product is acid-based and uses a low PH to kill microbes. The diluted solution will quickly degrade in the presence of beer (wort) and break down into yeast nutrient. It is a bit more expensive, but you can keep the diluted solution around for several weeks (as long as the PH says below a 3) and reuse it, which makes up for the added cost. This product also produces a lot of foam, which turns some people off, but in my experience has never caused any off flavors or issues with fermentation.
Dilution: 1oz to 5 gallons
Contact Time: 30 Seconds
Dry Time: None
Min Cost/Oz: $.70

We suggest trying both products to see which one works best for you, but because of the longevity we give the edge to Star-San.

In full disclosure there are other products, such as Caustic soda, sodium hydroxide and lye which are a VERY effective cleaners for organic solids but rather dangerous to use without protection and not very friendly to the environment.

No comments:

Post a Comment