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Nothing to foam over

December 23, 2010 By: mike Category: Beer learnin', Homebrew

Foamy carboy

Star San foam escapes from the top of a carboy as we dry-hop an IPA.

You’d think a bunch of bubbles in your carboy would ruin the taste of your home-brewed beer.

But if you’re using a self-foaming acid rinse like Star San to santitize your beer gear, all is well, according to John Palmer, author of How to Brew, whose excellent book I’m reading right now.

Unlike other no-rinse sanitizers, Star San will not contribute off-flavors at higher than recommended concentrations,” Palmer writes. “… Also, the surfactant used in Star San will not affect the head retention of beer like those used in detergents.”

Sanitizing your equipment is one of the most important things you can do to brew good beer. The last thing you want is for bacteria to get into your bottles and spoil your ales and lagers.

The three of us at FuzzyBrew use Star San for sanitizing all our beer gear — carboys, bottles, tubing, airlocks, stoppers — anything that touches the wort after it’s boiled. For carboys, we try to get out as many of the bubbles as we can, but it’s impossible to get all the foam out.

To sanitize, we just add one fluid-ounce per 5 gallons of warm water and let it sit in a bucket. Sanitizing takes just 30 seconds, and you’re good to go.