Before my twenty month homebrew hiatus, I was using peracetic acid to sterilise my kit prior to use. I was always a bit dubious about the no rise thing and not exactly enamoured at what the neat 5% solution could do to your health. So when I placed my last order with The Malt Miller, I took the plunge and bought some StarSan, as it seemed to have a good reputation amongst the homebrew community.
I was advised to get some reverse osmosis water, as it’s pretty much neutral, where as my tap water is very hard and alkaline. Evidently that’s bad for StarSan, which then goes opaque and needs replaced, although according to this forum post, this might not always be the case. I mixed some up when I started brewing on Saturday evening and when I got up early on Sunday to finish off, it had gone opaque, so I chucked it and made a fresh batch, which did exactly the same thing.
I thought it might be the fault of the plastic jug I was using, as it came out of my old darkroom equipment and I wondered if it had maybe become tainted by some of the photographic chemicals. So I made up another batch yesterday morning, but made it in a pyrex jug, it too had gone opaque by the time I got home from work, so at least I can rule out the plastic jug being the cause.
Now I need to find out if it’s the RO water reacting with the surfactant, which means it’s still OK to use when opaque, or if it’s the barrel that the RO water is sitting in that’s caused some sort of reaction. Either way I need to test the PH of the made up solution, if it’s still under PH 3, then it’s good to use, so until I get some sort of PH testing kit, StarSan is out.
So I took to Twitter last night to ask for advice and I’m very grateful to all the pro-brewers who replied with advice and suggestions:
@RecentlyDrunk honestly, that stuff is such a waste of money. Someone is selling pericetic acid for home brewers. Much better stuff.
— James Wilson (@Jimthebrewer) March 21, 2013
@RecentlyDrunk Starsan is an expensive single source rip off anyway. Peracetic rules.
— JamesB (@jamesbwxm) March 21, 2013
— Jeff Rosenmeier (@Lovibonds) March 21, 2013
— Gregg Irwin (@dredpenguin) March 21, 2013
So it looks like it’s time to dig out the safety goggles and rubber gloves and get re-acquainted with my bottle of peracetic acid…