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Star San Suckback

I recently cold-crashed an English Bitter in a Big Mouth Bubbler using the included airlock cap thing. The one that snaps on and you fill the lid with sanitizer. I hadn’t previously used this device, and it sucked probably a cup of Star-San back into the beer. I’m not going to use this airlock again, but I’d like suggestions for fixing the beer.

It’s sitting on top in a discrete layer, so I think I can rack the beer out from under it. However, I did detect a noticeable tang when I tasted the beer below the layer. The overall flavor is excellent other than that, so I’d like to try to save the batch if possible.

I’m wondering if it would be worth it to try to raise the pH by adding minerals. Anyone have opinions for or against? If so, what type?

Anyone?

It’s probably fine. I’d just try to rack from underneath it. If your star-san was properly diluted, a cup in a 5 gallon batch isn’t a whole lot.

Rack from under it, and check the pH if you can.

So, I don’t have a pH meter, but I used some pH strips to determine the pH is less than 4.5. Doesn’t prove anything, but it at least confirms what my taste buds told me.

Next I enlisted SWMBO* for an experiment. She doesn’t particularly like Bitter, but she agreed to help for science. I dissolved 1 TBSP of pickling lime in 1/2 cup of water and set up a blind taste test. I added added 1-4 drops of the solution to four 1oz samples of the beer, a control using no solution, and a 1oz sample with 10 drops of solution.

In a blind test, SWMBO rated the samples with 3 and 4 drops of pickling lime the best. The 10-drop sample was terrible, and she described the unmodified sample as “sour.” I gave myself the same test and thought the 3-drop sample was best.

Using a conservative ratio of 2.5 drops/oz, I decided to add 75 mL of the pickling lime solution to the beer. I’m going to let that settle for a day or so, then bottle. Results to follow!

*She is aware of this acronym, and wants it noted for the record that she objects to it in the strongest possible terms, because EW. And she had been very patient with all the “beering.”

Sounds like a solid plan. You definitely carried that out the correct way.

I advised to check pH, just to confirm your suspicion. A lot of times people will “taste what they want to taste”, so checking pH would have eased stress IF it was normal.

Good luck! Hope it turns out good. star san is just phosphoric acid, so not great to injest, but not horrible… If it was properly diluted + in a 5 gallon batch you should be fine.

A cup of StarSan isn’t going to move the pH of the beer and 3pH StarSan isn’t sour, it’s just kind of tart. If your beer is <4.5pH and tastes sour I would think it’s as a result of the yeast not the sanitizer.

I guess you should do what she says

Always do. Adding the pickling lime took care of the sour/tart taste. The proof will come when it’s carbed and ready to drink, but things are looking good.

So of course you can’t tell how it tastes from a picture, but here’s one anyway. Everyone likes a picture. The beer is actually a bit lighter than it appears in the picture, and very clear.

Modifying the pH after fermentation actually worked very well. The tartness/sourness I detected before is toned way down, and all kinds of excellent biscuity/doughy flavors from the beer are coming through clearly. The hop flavors and bitterness come through very nicely and show off the EKG hops to good effect.

I’m going to drink the heck out of this, and because it’s only 4.2% ABV, I’ll still be able to do triathlon training!

I will say that this adventure prompted me to invest in a pH meter. I now think the Star-San that got into the fermenter was a minor footnote, and the real culprit was me adding too much acid after misreading Bru’nwater. Live and learn and all that.

[quote=“Flashman137”]

So of course you can’t tell how it tastes from a picture, but here’s one anyway. Everyone likes a picture. The beer is actually a bit lighter than it appears in the picture, and very clear.

Modifying the pH after fermentation actually worked very well. The tartness/sourness I detected before is toned way down, and all kinds of excellent biscuity/doughy flavors from the beer are coming through clearly. The hop flavors and bitterness come through very nicely and show off the EKG hops to good effect.

I’m going to drink the heck out of this, and because it’s only 4.2% ABV, I’ll still be able to do triathlon training!

I will say that this adventure prompted me to invest in a pH meter. I now think the Star-San that got into the fermenter was a minor footnote, and the real culprit was me adding too much acid after misreading Bru’nwater. Live and learn and all that.[/quote]
That makes more sense. Can’t imagine that much star san would have a flavor impact on 5 gals of beer unless the pH was border line low to start with.

I’m about to do a similar pH adjustment in the fermenter prior to DHing my IPA. Can’t find pickling lime locally so I’ll have to order some. I’m thinking of using baking soda in the meantime.

I bought my pickling lime at walmart.

Yep, I got mine at Ace Hardware, although I think Amazon has it available on Prime.

Nice looking beer.

Can you post photo of SWMBO ? :lol:

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