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Star San foaming

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by tngolfer, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. tngolfer

    tngolfer Aficionado (225) Tennessee Feb 16, 2012

    I received a beer kit for Christmas and it came with some sanitizer. I don't remember the name but it was a powder. That sanitizer has since run out and I bought some Star San at my local brew shop. I don't know if it is because it is a liquid but I'm having issues with it foaming pretty badly.

    I added it to both my glass carboy and my large cooler (for sanitizing bottles) before adding the hot water. Is it better fill with water first and then add the sanitizer?
  2. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Advocate (535) Minnesota May 11, 2007

    StarSan foams, and a wise man once said "don't fear the foam"

    The foam actually has added benefits for the yeast, as far as I have heard.
    leedorham likes this.
  3. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (820) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    That's what I do. It's true that the foam isn't harmful, but I still like to minimize it.
  4. Yes, adding the Star San to the water cuts down on the foam significantly. I just stir it in gently. if you're careful while you're spreading the liquid around and pouring it out you can keep the foam to a minimum...but again "don't fear the foam!"

    Also, I don't recall what the star san directions say, but I'd be careful about adding hot water to a sanitizer, you tend let off some of the sanitizer in the steam, which with some sanitizers (maybe not star san, idk) can be bad for eyes, lungs, skin, etc. I just stick to slightly warm water and things are good!
  5. Foam is fine when it comes to Star San. Stuff does wonders.
  6. Soonami

    Soonami Savant (455) Pennsylvania Jul 16, 2008

    Star San steam is fine, it's just a mixture of different acids, the main one being phosphoric acid, but when diluted the concentrations are low enough not to cause any kind of inhalation risk.

    The foam is fine and in fact the foam itself is sanitizing.
  7. coronajm

    coronajm Savant (250) Ohio Jan 4, 2010

  8. Yeah, so just to be clear, when you hear "don't fear the foam" it means you can rack your beer right onto the foam without any harm or taste impact to your beer. Foam management, however, can be an issue. For instance, if you're racking into a carboy and have a ton of foam left over, that foam will be pushed out the top of the carboy as the beer level rises and can cause a little bit of a mess. I usually sanitize my fermenter early in my brew day and keep pouring off foam a bit by bit until racking time.
  9. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (800) Texas May 21, 2010

    I have just been doing the whole process over a couple of towels and not worrying about making a bit of a mess. Good enough, it has worked like a charm so far. I let the bottles just barely overflow when bottling, which pushes out the foam when bottling. When I pull out the bottling wand, it leaves just the right amount of head space. When racking to bottling bucket I haven't had a whole lot of foam overflow, so it's not an issue that I'm worried about.
  10. My brew partner and I always argue about the Star-San foam - he instinctively thinks we need to rinse it out, I tell him that there's no need. Every. Single. Brewday.
  11. tngolfer

    tngolfer Aficionado (225) Tennessee Feb 16, 2012

    Thanks. It's just reacted so differently from my previous sanitizer that I wanted to make sure all was good.
  12. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Savant (420) Virginia Nov 10, 2010

    There is one thing to fear about using StarSan.
    Getting the undiluted solution on a laminated counter-top.

    Like bleach on a T-shirt.
    Like battery acid on jeans.
    Like white on rice.
  13. Blanco

    Blanco Advocate (510) Pennsylvania Oct 11, 2008

    I never get anything like this from my star san. The most I ever get is what looks like soapy water but that's it. Is mine broken?
  14. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (820) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    My guess would be that you have hard water and the minerals are inhibiting the foaming action.
  15. Blanco

    Blanco Advocate (510) Pennsylvania Oct 11, 2008

    The first time I made a solution it was with my tap water, which you are correct is very hard. It made it cloudy right off the bat, so the next time I used distilled water.
  16. markmiller

    markmiller Savant (275) New York Dec 28, 2010

    You can also try Saniclean (another Five Star product). Supposed to be less foamy and work just as great.
  17. Spider889

    Spider889 Advocate (695) Ohio Mar 24, 2010

    The foam isn't harmful when used in moderation/suggested amounts. If you have too much residue or if it is overly concentrated it may affect things like head retention. But you'd likely need to leave 25oz of foam/solution in the carboy before this would be of any real concern.
  18. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Savant (475) Utah May 2, 2006

    I use Starsan with distilled water, but do not get all that much foaming. I do use exactly the prescribed amount with mixing with water. Perhaps excessive foaming comes from mixing using a higher-than-recommended concentration of Starsan?
  19. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (820) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    I'd say excessive foaming usually comes from agitation, like when dumping the solution out of a keg or carboy and it goes 'glug, glug.' You can end up with practically the whole vessel filled with foam, even though there was little/no foam before dumping.
  20. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Champion (800) Texas May 21, 2010

    When bottling I've wound up with a lot of foam in the carboy before I transfer from primary to bottling carboy (I've been fermenting in a 6.5 gallon bucket and bottling from the carboy). The foam has tended to float on top and doesn't seem to have created any off flavors, at least not that I can detect so far (caveat, new homebrewer, small sample size).
  21. cmlindsay

    cmlindsay Disciple (50) New York Apr 1, 2011

    Everyone seems to be ignoring the "allow to air dry" comment in the instructions. Is that not important?
  22. bwiechmann

    bwiechmann Savant (310) Minnesota Nov 30, 2009

    I sanitize pretty much exclusively with a hand-pumped garden sprayer. 1 gallon of starsan lasts 2-3 brew days (with bottling). Below isn't my video but is basically the same system I use (I go a bit further than this guy though and stick the nozzle all the way in the bottle). If you tighten the sprayer head pretty tight it shoots a fine mist at a near 90 degree angle and is perfect for hitting the sides of the glass carboy without wasting 5 gallons worth of sanitizer. This method practically eliminates all foaming.

  23. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (820) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    It's not really important with Starsan. A little foam and/or residual wetness is no problem.