Those of us who have graduated from the school of bottles and are working on post-grad keg systems are familiar with iodophor, used in the food and dairy industries as a sanitizer and germicide.
It’s iodine-based. It’s blood red, it stinks, and it immediately stains everything it touches rusty red-brown. But keggers use it because it is the sanitizer of choice for stainless steel.
The last time I kegged some beer — a batch of English special bitter — I suffered one of those homebrew kitchen disasters.
Well, near disaster, anyway. Iodophor is extremely concentrated. It’s designed to be added in small quantities to hot water to create
sanitizer solution for food equipment.
I was filling the kegs with hot water and had the cap off the iodophor bottle, ready to mix some into the water. Somehow, the flow of water got ahead of me and one keg suddenly threatened to overflow.
Avoiding the flood, I scrambled to turn off the hot water and remove the water hose from the keg. In the confusion I upended the iodophor bottle, spilling much of its contents on the kitchen counter, wall, and floor. Small blood-red splashes were apparent on the table and chairs. Miraculously, none got on my clothing.
I immediately starting sopping up the red mess with mass quantities of paper towels. The counter was wrecked, stained beyond repair.
My wife was home, but in another room. Soon my life began flashing before my eyes, as I imagined her reaction to my redecoration scheme. Not that she loved the counter top, just that she would not be enamored by the thought of spending several thousand dollars replacing it.
As I was contemplating my financial and marital future, figuring out how we were going to swing the repair bill, I grabbed the nearest bottle of cleaning fluid. It was Windex with Ammonia-D window cleaner.
In desperation, expecting nothing, I sprayed the ugly brown stain on the counter top.
It turned black. Now I was really in the stew. I sighed, resigned to my fate. Then, I spotted a few splashes on the floor that I had missed earlier. I bent down to mop them up, then returned to the disaster on the counter top.
The stain was gone. I mean, gone. Like it had never been there in the first place. Some magical, charmed chemical reaction between the iodine and Windex had occurred. It turned black, then simply disappeared into thin air.
Delighted with my new scientific discovery, I quickly sprayed the other spots, on the floor, wall, chair, and table. Instant replay. The iodine turned navy blue, then black, then vanished with the lightest wipe from the paper towel.
I think my guardian angel was a brewer in another life.