Do-It-Yourself No Rinse Sanitizer

Ah, India! A beautiful country, full of wonder and charming people - a land where it's easier to buy automatic weapons than get a batch of StarSan through customs...sound familiar?

HOW TO MAKE NO RINSE SANITIZER FOR HOMEBREWING 
(Recipe credit goes to Charlie Talley - The inventor of StarSan!)

RECIPE:

  • 20L Water (Reverse Osmosis or Distilled ONLY)
  • 30ml Bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite @ 5.25% by volume)
  • 30ml Distilled Vinegar (5% Acetic acid)
*WARNING: Never add Bleach and vinegar together at the same time EVER!

METHOD
  1. Clean equipment properly and rinse well.
  2. Add bleach to sanitization bucket \ container \vessel.
  3. Add all the water to the bleach.
  4. Add the vinegar
  5. Stir well.
  6. Sanitize as required, allowing for a 30 second contact time.

THE DETAILS

Bleach Science:
Bleach is your primary sanitizing agent and you are aiming at a solution of 80ppm sodium hypochlorite to be an effective bacteria killer. The bleach you want to use must be unscented (unless you want potpourri flavoured beer) and must have at least 5% Sodium Hypochlorite. In this case, I would strongly recommend not using locally manufactured bleach and using imported Clorox bleach. Why? Simply because you know the constitution of Sodium Hypochlorite @ 5.25% and you know there is nothing else in there. You can find it online very easily or in Imported food stores like LeMarche.

Clorox Bleach

Water Science:
The water required is either distilled or reverse osmosis, either with a Ph of 7. The reason for this is that it avoids any complicated chemistry with high alkalinity water or other factors that might negatively influence the sanitization power of this formula. If you use any other water, you are going to need an accurate Ph meter - which brings me to my next point.


Vinegar Science:
The recipe requires distilled vinegar, because then we know the amount of acetic acid in it and we know there is nothing else in it but water and acetic acid (no sugar or preservatives). The amount of acetic acid is important as we need to balance the Ph of the bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite amount in the bleach is recommended at 5% as well)The reason we add vinegar is because when you add bleach to the water, it raises the Ph (makes it more alkaline) which negatively affects the sanitization power of sodium hypochlorite. By adding vinegar, you nullify the alkaline effect of the bleach without impeding the effective nature of the bleach, which makes the bleach far more effective in killing bacteria. You need the water to have a Ph of around 7 to 8, any more acidic and you could start inhaling chlorine gas....not recommended for the same reasons you don't directly add bleach to vinegar. If you are going to use groundwater or other water sources and happen to have a fancy Ph meter (like I do), make the formula above as stated, but then test the Ph. If its above 8 you need to add more vinegar in 15ml increments until the Ph is between 8 or 7. You can get distilled vinegar online or at imported food stores - I like Heinz Distilled White Vinegar personally.


TIPS
If you want to make extra sure your equipment is super clean before sanitizing them, do the following to make sure you never ever have an infected batch:

For tough hop residue and any other nasty sediment in your fermenters or bottles...
Use 1 scoop Clorox OxyMagic in 5 litres of water. Soak the problem utencil in this for an hour or two and rinse well. For stubborn grime, leave it in contact with the OxyMagic solution for 24 - 48 hours, but not longer than that (especially for plastics like PET or Polycarbonate or metals). You can find this stuff online at Amazon.in or at most department stores in India.

Clorox OxyMagic

For general pre-sanitization cleaning...
Wash everything in Dettol Anti-Bacterial Dishwashing Gel. This has phosphoric acid as it's main germ killer - which happens to be the same active ingredient in StarSan = 2x sanitization = bullet-proof brewing. This can be found almost anywhere in India.
FREQUENTLY ASKED (STUPID) QUESTIONS

Q: Isn't drinking bleach water bad for you?

Short answer: No.
Sodium Hypochlorite is widely used in the modern world to purify drinking water, as it breaks down into harmless substances. The amount of Sodium Hypochlorite used to purify drinking water is 80ppm (looks familiar doesn't it?).

Q: Won't I get off flavours?

Short answer: No
The solution of Sodium Hypochlorite is very weak and only a capillary residue will remain on the bottle / utensil / fermenter. To get off flavours from bleach in beer you are going to need a hell of a lot more than 80ppm.

Q: Why must I not mix the bleach and vinegar together before adding the water?

Short answer: You must be kidding me!!!
Because you will very soon be sitting in a cloud of Nazi chlorine gas, which would feel like the Russian soldiers did during world war 1....right before you pass out that is. 


THANKS FOR READING - HOPE THIS HELPS


15 comments:

  1. This is really good! Is it reusable though like StarSan?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No it isn't, as it isn't stabilised like StarSan. You got to make a new batch each time.

      Delete
  2. A cheap and strong alternative to Chlrox Oxi-Magic is Caustic Soda.
    I use it to clean the tough hop residue from my fermenters. Works like magic.
    But it is a very dangerous commercial chemical. It has to be used with proper precaution. It can cause serious injuries if not handled correctly.

    Oxi-magic has the advantage of being much safer to use.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used caustic soda with excellent results. I wore protective surgical gloves on both hands while handling it.

      Delete
  3. great article... once made, how long can it be stored for without it losing its power?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have to make fresh sanitizer solution every time you brew.
      See author's comments above.
      The ingredients above are for making 20L of sanitizer. But you can easily scale it down to make 2 liters of sanitizer solution.
      A good time to do it would be when you are waiting for the boil to finish.

      Delete
  4. Will it last for a few days? Or the length of a fermentation cycle? (15 days)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This has to be made fresh every time.
      I don't think anyone has tested the stability of the solution.

      Delete
  5. Hello all, need a quick advice as I'm brewing tomorrow (first time) and didn't buy a special sanitizer as a friend suggested to use vodka..Will vodka be effective??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vodka should work fine. But a very expensive proposition.
      Use bleach instead.

      Delete
  6. This is nice. Thanks for sharing with us. Good to know

    Office Cleaning Products in Chennai

    ReplyDelete
  7. Clorine produce offlavors in the beer, is it not a problem?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you use bleach, it is advisable to rinse with boiled and cooled water.
      That way no chlorine is left behind.

      Delete
  8. Another most simple form of sanitizer is steam.. Yes steam.. I have seen some times before on TV about sensitizing the bottles with a steam in a bottling plant.
    Things required at home are water and a pressure cooker without a whistle.. just fill one fourth of the cooker with clean water and put it on stove, boil untill the steam pressure comes out from the whistle nozzle.. now just place or hold the container over the nozzle for few seconds. It will kill all the germs and sanitize it. Use the containers instantly or use it when bottling or before putting the wort into the fermenter. I advise just normal wash the containers before this process.

    ReplyDelete

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