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A revisitation of a cheap sanitising technique little known or used amongst brewers

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  • A revisitation of a cheap sanitising technique little known or used amongst brewers

    I had at some previous point, mentioned the fact that Potassium Permanganate is a very powerful oxidant. It works like Chlorine, or the Iodine in povidone bound forms in iodophors in that ultimate hot potato game of "who's got the electron?"
    Basically, it can kill any of the bugs that might threaten our brews, and I use it on occasion.
    I mentioned earlier that it was "dirt cheap".
    The little plastic bottle I bought two years ago, is still in use at home.

    I didn't bring it with me this time, and being a doctor (in fact the only one within a very long distance from this side of the island I am on), I have had to refresh my supply for treating everything from burn damages to post irradiative and operative cancer treatment with fistula development.

    I remembered it was cheap, but this time I actually payed attention to what I payed for it.

    It cost me 35 Baht, which is just in excess of one US dollar.

    So I have another multi-year supply for less than a dollar, in a plastic bottle as big as my thumb.

    Just thought folks might like to know. You can basically take sewer water, add a crystal until it turns pink, give it a good shake and let it sit a while, and you can drink it.

    Add two crystals so it becomes purple, and you have a dandy sanitising solution for FAR less than a penny.

    This was just a pricing update. When things are that cheap I generally just put them in the "cheap" category, and don't recall exactly how much it was. This time I payed attention.

    Just passin' on the information for folks makin' beer.

  • #2
    This is interesting. If it’s an oxidizer it likely needs to be rinsed as it will oxidize beer.
    I am more interested in hearing the science behind this.


    • #3
      KMnO4 is a very powerful oxidizer. It will also stain purple. If I were using it, I would be inclined to rinse. But I'll defer to Dr. Pivo on this question.


      • #4
        Sorry.... kinda' stuck on this island, so have had other things to deal with. To "the Loop", and "Tex".... I would definitely recommend rinsing potassium permanganate off of things if using it.

        I think we all know what chlorophenols taste like if you don't rinse off chlorine ("band aid", or "medicine capsule" taste). Iodophores are just substituting one halogen for another (iodine, instead of chlorine), and this is also an oxidiser, and although it is considered "non-rinse", I have a hard time imagining that it is not oxidising "something" if left in a fermenting beer and therefor changing the taste.

        Never tested it, because I very seldom use iodophors in association with brewing.

        Since I have used hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) a lot, and had it around... and since the natural breakdown products are water and oxygen, and yeast in their initial aerobic phase love oxygen, I did once play with that extremely powerful oxidising agent to see if it could be "non-rinse".

        I squirted some into one vessel of a split ferment.

        I can't really describe the flavour of that one compared to the "control". It was definitely not "old barrel"(which is the classic oxidised flavour) but it was definitely not as pleasant as its unadulterated sister.... at least not according to my taste.

        I think I would describe it as "edgy"... sort of like when you first artificially carbonate a keg? It takes a day or too for the taste to settle and get "round".

        It was that kind of flavour.

        I think you're right Loop. Rinse it off. I always do when I use it for that.

        I sort'a think any sanitising agent should be rinsed off, before contacting the beer.


        • #5
          Good stuff. Thanks Dr.