Looking for the best sanitizer for home brewing isn’t the easiest thing in the world due to a variety of options available. You always wonder what’s the best sanitizer to use and it’s time to get some much-needed answers. In this post you’re going to learn more about sanitizing, cleaning, but also about products that you should consider. We’ve researched and discovered seven top-rated best sanitizers for home brewing as well as the worst product that you need to avoid.
Reviews of the 7 Best Sanitizers for Home Brewing, Plus the Worst One to Avoid
1. Star San 32 Oz Review
Star San is, by far, the most popular sanitizer among home brewers and it also happens to be the best sanitizer for homebrewing of 2019 you can find on the market today. This acid-based no-rinse sanitizer was made from food-grade phosphoric acid which is safe for both you and the environment.
What makes it one of the tops, is the self-foaming effect which allows Star San to easily penetrate into all services, cracks, and other hard-to-reach places. Star San has no odor and flavor meaning it doesn’t compromise the quality of your beer (or wine). It’s easy to use this sanitizer; you can either spray it on objects or soak them into the solution.
Probably the best thing about Star San solution is its reusability as it remains effective for three to four weeks in a sealed container. Star San is effective as long as pH value is 3 or lower. It’s also useful to mention that Star San has very short contact time (30 to 60 seconds).
2. Northern Brewer Deluxe Home Brewing Equipment Starter Kit Review
Getting started is the most difficult part of home brewing. At the very beginning you’re trying to figure things out and make perfect first batch, but in most cases that doesn’t happen which leads to discouragement. In order to help brewers avoid this scenario, Northern Brewer released their Deluxe Home Brewing Equipment Starter Kit, which should be considered if you are looking for the best brewing sanitizer.
The kit contains basically everything you need to make your first batch and learn how things work immediately, thanks to foolproof instructions. This beer brewing starter kit features curated ingredients for five gallons of beer or 50 twelve-ounce bottles. To kick-start home brewing experience the kit also comes with two large glass bottles or carboys for two-stage fermentation.
The recipe kit comes with expert-selected yeast, flavorful and aromatic hops, and premium grains and malt. It’s useful to mention the kit contains a no-rinse cleanser in small packaging, but it’s a great thing to buy if you’re just about to start with home brewing.
3. Star Sans Sanitizer Review
Star Sans is the rock star among sanitizers for home brewing, and this particular one is often considered the best home brewing sanitizer by many people. This sanitizer is fast, effective, and easy to use. No muss, no fuss! Star Sans sanitizer is acid-based, and you can easily find it in shops, online stores, you name it.
The truth is that Star Sans is a bit more expensive compared to other sanitizers for home brewing, but it’s definitely worth it. Why? The sanitizer is reusable, and you don’t need a large quantity to get the job done.
Only one ounce of sanitizer is needed for five gallons of water. Plus, you don’t need to rinse afterward. Star Sans is manufactured in the United States, and it works perfectly on different surfaces meaning you can easily clean bottles and other pieces of equipment to ensure they’re spotless, squeaky clean, and free of microorganisms, pathogens, and whatnot.
4. One Step Cleanser Review
Don’t let the title One Step Cleanser fool you, and many brewers use it for sanitizing purposes as well. In fact, many would consider this one to be the best sanitizer for homebrewing, which means you should take a look at this one if you are looking for a top-quality option.
This is an environmentally sound product that requires no rinsing which is the main difference between this and other cleansers on the market. One Step Cleanser uses active oxygen to clean home brewing equipment. Oxygen is entrained within a mineral crystal that dissolves when combined with water.
As a result, it releases the oxygen to form hydrogen peroxide, a compound with impressive disinfectant and sanitizing effects. One Step Cleanser is practical from an economic aspect as well. Only one tablespoon per gallon is needed to make a solution which easily drains away without leaving too much solid material behind. The product does not contain chlorine which is known for its tendency to leave a film on glassware. Only two minutes of contact time is needed to sanitize your bottles and brewing equipment.
Northern Brewer is one of the most reputable retailers of all things necessary to make high-quality beer on your own. Every brewer, regardless of their level of expertise, can find what they need at Northern Brewer website.
This kit was made bearing beginners or rookies in mind. The kit was assembled in a manner to demonstrate how to brew beer on your own without too much hassle. Starter set relies on foolproof instructions that are incredibly easy to follow, which is exactly what people love the most about the product. The highest-rated starter kit from Northern Brewer yields five gallons of finished beer, i.e. 50 twelve-ounce bottles.
In addition to Block Party Amber Ale recipe, the kit also contains fermentor with lid and bubbler airlock, bottling bucket, brew kettle, stainless spoon and so much more. Of course, cleanser/sanitizer is also part of the kit. Not only does the kit show how to brew your own beer, but it also gives you instructions on how to clean and sanitize bottles and equipment properly.
6. One Step No Rinse Cleanser Sanitizer for Homebrewing Beer And Wine Review
One Step No Rinse Cleanser Sanitizer is a product that can be, basically, used for both purposes. The product is made by a brand Logic Inc. founded in 1992 by a college graduate and a budding chemist who was concerned about the suspicious quality of cleansers and sanitizers for home brewing at the time.
The goal of the newly-founded brand was to create a product that would both serve as a cleanser and sanitizer but to make sure it’s perfectly safe for the user and the planet itself. This product requires no rinsing, as already mentioned, meaning it speeds up cleaning and sanitizing processes while allowing you to enhance the quality of beer using bottles and equipment that are disinfected and clean entirely.
Unlike other products on the market, this product doesn’t contain acids, chlorine, and other potentially harsh ingredients. Two minutes contact time is all that it takes to get your equipment cleaned. One tablespoon is enough to make a solution.
7. PBW By Five Star Review
Five Star’s PBW cleaner is, basically, a buffered alkaline detergent that cleans beer bottles and other brewing equipment more effectively than caustic soda cleaners. PBW stands for Powder Brewery Wash, so the product is not in liquid form, so if you’re a fan of liquid sanitizers and cleansers, this may not be the most practical choice.
Thanks to the unique blend of mild alkalis and buffers the product is particularly effective in cleaning plastic, aluminum, and stainless steel. While some products aren’t overly great with plastic, this one is.
PBW cleaner uses active oxygen that penetrates protein or carbon soils effectively thus allowing brewers to use it with hard water as well. The cleaner leaves little to no residue and no traces of odor. That’s what every brewer wants.
Avoid – One Step No Rinse Cleaner Review
Now that you know more about seven amazing products to use in order to sanitize beer brewing equipment let’s also address some items that you need to avoid. One Step No Rinse Cleaner is one of the worst sanitizers for home brewing on the market simply because it is no longer classified as a sanitizer by FDA and due to the fact that it’s more of a strong cleanser than the actual sanitizer.
In addition, ordering from this specific link listed above sets you up for disappointment as the product arrives in a plain plastic bag without any instructions whatsoever. There is a lot of confusion regarding this product and many homebrewers avoid using it as a sanitizer, so it’s probably not the best idea to go for it. If you want an optimal homebrewing experience, you’re better off with a proper sanitizer.
2019 Buyers Guide to the Best Sanitizer for Home Brewing
Every brewer has an ideal homebrewing sanitizer that he (or she) swears by. Finding the perfect product is a result of experience and thorough consideration of different factors. One thing you shouldn’t do is to use the same products that also happen to be in your kitchen, particularly if they’re scented.
For many brewers, bleach is the simplest sanitizing agent to use at the very beginning, and later they progress to products that are specifically made for this purpose. Sanitizers don’t require rinsing meaning you can use the bottle right after soaking, and there is no need to rinse it with the “just in case” excuse. It’s useful to mention that some products aren’t labeled by the FDA as sanitizers, but they do serve this purposes, so it’s always useful to communicate with other brewers about this subject and the products they use when brewing beer.
3 Main Points to Consider
- Quality: The first and the most important factor to consider when buying a sanitizer is its quality. Although it seems simple, we tend to focus on many other things leaving quality behind. If a sanitizer just isn’t good enough, then your beer won’t be as well. That’s an important factor to bear in mind! When you start looking for a sanitizer, you’ll see tons of options around, but always make sure the product is made by a reputable brand in the homebrewing world. Sanitizer needs to be flavorless, odorless, but strong enough to destroy potential pathogens and microorganisms that invaded the bottle (and other instruments). You’ll probably kiss a few frogs during the process, but it’s all part of the process (unless you start with the best sanitizer right away).
- Budget: Besides quality, another thing to bear in mind when buying the sanitizer for home brewing is the budget, i.e. how much money you are willing to spend on one such product. Having a specific budget in mind allows you to narrow down your choice and buy the sanitizer that will fit your needs and preferences. Some sanitizers are relatively cheaper than others. Your goal is to get the best value for your money. Therefore, always try to look for the best sanitizers that fit into the budget you’ve specified for this purpose. That way, you’ll get desired quality, but also within the costs you planned.
- Iodine vs Acid-Based: Not all sanitizers are created equal. Some are acid-based while others are iodine- or chlorine-based, you name it. In addition to price and quality, you also need to take the very nature of the sanitizer into consideration. For example, iodine-based sanitizers are more broad-spectrum, and their effectiveness can be gauged by their color. On the flip side, acid-based sanitizers work well on all types of surfaces and are odorless and flavorless at the same time. It’s also important to mention that iodine-based sanitizers can only be stored in an open container for a few hours to a day. Acid-based sanitizers have limited yeast and mold-killing ability so if you live in rural or semi-rural areas where crops that harbor wild yeasts are grown these products may not be an ideal solution.
How do you sanitize beer bottles?
Homebrewing is a demanding, but incredibly rewarding and interesting task. A major part of this process is sanitization of beer bottles. All bottles need to be clean and sanitized before use, particularly if you’re looking to make beer brewing your hobby or even a business. Without sanitizing your beer would spoil, which is the last thing you want.
While it’s easy to assume that all you need is a sanitizer and nothing else the reality is much different. Before you start sanitizing beer bottles, it’s necessary to clean them first. The two go hand in hand. So, the first thing you need to do is to get a good cleaning agent and clean the bottles thoroughly.
Once bottles are clean, proceed to sanitize them. Many brewers go by the rule that you should clean beer bottles after use and sanitize them before use to remove all deposits and potential impurities that would jeopardize the quality of your beer. Soak bottles in sanitizing solution, or you can opt for a dishwasher with the heat cycle on.
Bear in mind that if you use a bleach solution to sanitize beer bottles you need to allow them to drain upside down on a rack or you can rinse them with boiled water. Avoid rinsing bottles with tap water unless it has been boiled first. Why? The reason is simple, and tap water can ruin your beer. Besides bottles, you need to clean and sanitize everything else you use to make your beer.
Is there a difference between cleaning and sanitizing?
As seen above, before sanitizing beer bottles you need to clean them first. This is where most people get confused because cleaning and sanitizing are terms that are used interchangeably. Cleaning and sanitizing are not two terms that indicate the same thing. They’re two separate processes which are equally important in homebrewing.
Cleaning is defined as the visible removal of foreign matter from a surface using a cleaning agent. The removal can be achieved in different ways such as washing and soaking. On the other hand, sanitizing is the removal of microorganisms and pathogens down to an allowable level for public safety.
So, the primary difference is that cleaning gets rid of visible impurities while sanitizing eliminates even the tiniest matters. Both cleaning and sanitizing are equally important, i.e. you can’t have one without the other. To sanitize the bottles you need to soak, dip, or spray them with a properly mixed sanitizing solution.
How often should you sanitize while homebrewing?
How often to sanitize while homebrewing is one of the most frequently asked questions that brewers ask. The truth is that it would be impossible to find a specific answer to this question. Without sanitizing, quality of your beer would decrease significantly, and that’s not the result you want to achieve.
Most brewers sanitize before every use, so the frequency depends on how much and how often you use the bottles. The general rule of thumb is to sanitize beer bottles about 30 minutes before you actually use them. Some brewers claim they sanitize beer bottles and store them for a few hours or until the next day, but that is not the most practical thing to do because during that time bottles may still get exposed to microorganisms and pathogens in the air.
Therefore, if you use bottles every day, then you need to sanitize them every day as well. If you use them once a week, then you need to sanitize them accordingly.
Learning to Homebrew Lesson 4: Sanitizing (Video):
Final Thoughts on Buying the Best Sanitizer for Home Brewing:
Now that you know more about the best sanitizer for home brewing you’re ready to start making your own beer or improve its flavor. As seen above, pathogens, microorganisms, and other impurities impact flavor of your beer meaning sanitation is a crucial process in home brewing. Make wise choices, research products thoroughly, and never underestimate the importance of cleaning and sanitizing in order to have an amazing home brewing experience.