I just brewed a trappist style ale and I am ready to bottle it. I am a meticulous sanitizer. Just a question though. I have always filled my buckets/carboys with 5 gallons of star sans solution to sanitize it, and since I don't have the space I would dump the solution afterwards. This is wasteful and costly, so due to a response from another question I posted here, I was planning of mixing 1 gallon of solution and thoroughly shaking it in the bottling bucket to sanitize it. Is it a bad idea to try this sanitation method on bottles I plan to age for a good while (like a 18 months)?

4 Answers 4


What you propose will work fine. You can even keep StarSan in a spray bottle (mixed with distilled water it will last months or more) and spray down the surfaces. Although due to FDA regulations they have to list a longer contact time, Charlie Talley of 5 Star Chemical, makers of StarSan, has said that their tests show a 99.9% effectiveness after a 30 second contact time. Remember, that means simply wetting the surface, not full immersion. I usually only mix 2.5 gallons at a time for sanitizing 5-7 gal. fermenters. I could get by with less, but old habits die hard.


This is what I do regularly for bottling. Start with clean bottles, fill (let's say) 3 bottles with starsan. After getting everything else ready to go, I'll start a pipeline: empty bottle 1 through a funnel into (new) bottle 4, then fill the just-emptied bottle 1 while emptying bottle 2 into bottle 5. Cap bottle 1. Start filling bottle 2 while transferring starsan from bottle 3 into bottle 6… and so on down the line.

  • I used to do that with 1.5 liter soda bottles - and you don't need to fill the bottle - just a little in the bottom that you slosh around. Then pour that in to the next on the pipeline!
    – mdma
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 21:28
  • It's true; as it happens, the (full) bottle->bottle transfer time is about the same as the (low-pressure beer gun) fill time, so it pipelines nicely, but … it will probably be a bit less "messy" with a smaller amount of starsan sloshed around. I'll give that a try next time.
    – jsled
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 13:46

In the past I've generally done what the other answers here recommend: fill a bottle with Star San and pour from bottle to bottle. Works well except that it tends to foam up, making it more difficult to pour out. (But don't fear the foam!) I've also used a spray bottle, which is less foamy.

Recently I bought a Vinator bottle rinser, which is quick and easy to use. Takes less than a cup of fluid and does a good job of spraying down the interior. The manufacturer's bottle tree is not required. http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/vinator-bottle-rinser.html

Finally, you can also consider sanitizing glass bottles in your oven. Winter is coming in the northern hemisphere, so here's a good excuse to heat up the kitchen. http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2-3.html

  • Vinator + a bottling tree is magic, you can produce all the foam you want with the vinator, then just let the bottles drip out on the tree.
    – ritterasdf
    Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 12:55

As Galapagos Jim mentions, the Vinator is AWESOME!!! I find it really reduces the consumption of StarSan solution and makes bottle cleaning a breeze. The tree is great too.

To your question, as others have mentioned, I only ever mix maybe 1-2 gallons and use a spray bottle to throughly clean the equipment, countertops, my own hands, etc. and I fill the carboy with it and shake shake shake. I fill my airlocks with it too.

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