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Thread: Foamy Sanitizer?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Foamy Sanitizer?

    I have only 2 brews (15BBL) under my belt and I'm wondering what, if anything, people do to manage the residual foam from Star San. I sanitize my wort path and then pack the heat exchanger and drain the fermenter. I opened the manway just to see the status and there was a mountain of foam. Is this ok or am I using too much sanitizer (per mfg 1 oz/5gallon). Seems like that foam might affect taste or worse kill off yeast?

    Thanks for the advice in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Lawrence, KS

    foaming sanitizer

    Star San is designed to foam and is recommended for running in foamers. That can be problematic in enclosed CIP situations where a lot of foam can be hard to rinse. Most iodaphors pose a similar problem but, from my experience, to a somewhat lesser degree, and some are available in low foaming versions. Peroxyacetic acid type sanitizers are generally non foaming as are Chlorine Dioxides. Personally, I still like iodophors for their broad kill spectrum and versatility. On the downside, they tend to turn all your rubber and plastic parts yellow and I don't recommend for no-rinse.

    One other thing about star san - I used it for a while and found that it was very hard on soft rubbers like Buna. Especially when used for parts soak buckets, it caused all my gaskets to swell up to the point that they were unusable.

    Good luck,
    Steve Bradt
    Lawrence, KS

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    If running an automated CIP, I think its important to get the timing just right. I wait until the suction side just starts to pull air, then start a new cycle, otherwise you will get a "sump effect" and never really drain the foam pooling on the bottom of the tank.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Look for saniclean, it is the low foaming version of starsan.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Seattle, WA

    switch to PAA

    I had the same problems with star san. They say the residue is harmless. We switched to PAA for our CIP stuff. I use starsan in spray bottles around the brewery for small items as it it more stable. I am very happy with the PAA howerver.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Las Vegas
    I wont use star san for CIP for precisely that reason. I also noticed that when I used it as a final sani in Beer line cleaning that it would cloud the beer up more and for longer than other sani's. PAA or Chlorine Dioxide work very well with no foam. I do like Star san for soaking though. It seems to leave an almost soapy/greasy residue so I just would stay away from CIP with it. I didnt even like saniclean as it foamed for me to although not as much.
    Big Willey
    "You are what you is." FZ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Thumbs up Chlorine Dioxide

    I have used Starsan, and yes it foamed like crazy. I still use Iodaphor for soaking but have switched to Chlorine Dioxide for my final rinse in FV's and BBT's. Chlorine Dioxide does not foam at all, plus once it breaks down it goes inert and leaves no film or odor - Just don't mix it too strong or you will run yourself out of the brewery, phew!
    Jeff Byrne

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Green Bay, WI

    Thread Jack :D

    Ditto on most of the above comments. StarSan is great stuff but not for every application.

    I use PAA for a final rinse sanitizer but would prefer ClO2 for some of the reasons mentioned. It's expensive stuff, though! How are you guys able to make it competitive, cost-wise, with PAA?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Chemicals of all kinds are costly and create all sorts of problems downstream (pun intended), for every problem they solve they create 3 more. Why not pasteurize the tank just prior to using, say perhaps storing or tempering your sparge water in? Any temperature over 160 degrees will work and @ 186 you get an instant kill. Hypo-chlorites destroy stainless and even a small amount of iodine can reek havoc w/yeast, not to mention the composition of either and their chemical oxygen demand in a system, surface, muni or otherwise. Food for thought.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Walla Walla, WA
    I don't worry about a little (or a lot sometimes) of foam running star-san with the CIP. If you think about the dilution rate, and how much liquid is really caught up in all that foam, you are talking about a tiny amount of concentrated star-san in your tank.

  11. #11
    youngbuckbrewer Guest

    Star San Foaming

    In our brewery we use Starsan only for long term soaking of parts, clamps, etc. Chlorine Dioxide is best for tank sanitizing and you can run it cold with no foaming. When I have used Starsan for sanitizing tanks, you must allow ample time for the foam to dissipate and then dry. It is nice because you can also pump it into another vessel and reuse it.

    Michael Uhrich
    Carter's Brewing
    Billings, MT

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