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I've used a no-rinse iodophor sanitizer both times I've brewed. Both times the beer seems to taste a bit like sanitizer. Is it possible I am using too much sanitizer? The last beer I brewed was an all-grain blonde ale, and I way overshot the OG and ended up with a 8.17 ABV. Could it be the abundance of alcohol that I am tasting instead?

I used a plastic food grade bucket as my secondary this time. Before I put the beer in the secondary, I let sanitizer sit in the bucket for about 2 weeks. The beer tastes a bit like a mixture of the sanitizer and that plastic. Maybe I should switch to two glass carboys for primary and secondary, and use less sanitizer? Is it a bad idea to let the sanitizer sit in the fermenters that long?

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I had this problem when I first started. I found I was adding too much iodophor. I was told to add until "it looks like apple juice". Turns out my mental picture of apple juice is much darker than the LHBS guy's.

To fix your problem:

  1. Either go with Brewchez's suggestion of half a box of baking soda and soak the bucket overnight, or fill it with HOT water (as hot as my tap provides, maybe 140-150F), and change it out daily for a week (then again, water is dirt cheep in NOVA). Either way most/all iodine molecules will get soaked out of the bucket.
  2. Measure your sanitizer. After noodling around the internet it was suggested to me to use 2 caps of iodophor for a 5 gallon bucket. I will pour into the cap, and keep pouring as I dump the cap and then refill the cap to acount that I'm using a 6.5 gallon carboy. I have found that the Iodophor still lasts a VERY long time using this method. I went through 1 bottle in about 3 batches, got this advice, and I'm somewhere around 8 batches on this current bottle and it's maybe 1/3 used.
  3. Quoth Charlie Papazian, "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew!" Iodine is ok to consume as long as you don't do it for extended periods (like use iodine as your water purifying method for all cooking/drinking for years on end).
  4. When you have the spare petty cash, PJ's suggestion of going all glass is spot-on. But make sure to get a good carrying mechanism (I prefer the Brew hauler) and a blow-off tube.
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5. use star-san. I love that stuff. –  hookedonwinter May 6 '10 at 14:51
    
Thanks for the answers. I think you are both right. I think I will just switch to using all glass fermentation to be on the safe side. Being able to check on the beer's fermentation and clearing visually is handy and fun too. –  bfrederi May 7 '10 at 15:51
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Yeah, heck, if you're doing all-grain, you're committed, might as well go for the glass. My wife hiked the Appalachian Trail and used betadine to sanitize her drinking water for five months. No lasting effect. (Well, she married me later on, so it might have lowered her intelligence some.) –  Rich Armstrong May 9 '10 at 0:39
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One of the biggest pitfalls and arguments against plastic is the fact that it absorbs flavor. Most sanitizers we use in brewing have about a 30 second contact time. That means that after 30 seconds, the vessel should be sanitized.

Note: Sanitizers only work if the thing you're sanitizing is already clean. You can't sanitize soil.

Anyway, that could very well be why you're tasting plastic and sanitizer. Too much sani shouldn't matter, unless you're not pouring it out...

You could try glass, or just don't leave the sani in for so long.

As far as the high ABV, I doubt that's the issue, though a beer that light in flavor will definitely show off it's alcohol flavor and aroma more than, say, in a stout.

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I agree with PJ. Too much contact time with the plastic. Throw in a half box of Arm and Hammer, fill the bucket with water and mix well. Let is sit overnight or two days. That should help absorb most of the flavor odor of the sanitizer. –  brewchez May 6 '10 at 12:31
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