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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: Wheat_Brewer on February 09, 2014, 06:16:09 PM

Title: PH Test Strips
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on February 09, 2014, 06:16:09 PM
Hi all!

I thought I would take the next step in my brewing education by reading books on water quality and working to adjust my water PH (I know there are other factors but I'm focusing on PH first). I bought some Precision Labs strips the other day at my LHBS and took several readings at the 5-7 minute mark during the mash by pouring a small amount of the wort into a cup and quickly cooling to room temp. I came up with 3 pretty different readings making me think the strips aren't all that accurate.

Is there a better way to take readings other than strips?

Thanks!
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: morticaixavier on February 09, 2014, 06:40:15 PM
sure, there are pH meters. they can be had for ~50 bucks and up. I am not prepared to discuss the relative quality of each because I do not use one.
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: Jimmy K on February 09, 2014, 07:44:31 PM
I think the better way is to get a water test and find out the mineral content of your water. You can predict mash pH based on that. Testing pH is more like step 2.

Sent from my XT1030 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: Pinski on February 09, 2014, 07:50:07 PM
I think the better way is to get a water test and find out the mineral content of your water. You can predict mash pH based on that. Testing pH is more like step 2.

Sent from my XT1030 using Tapatalk

Agreed, better to understand your water composition first so that when you do test your pH you'll better understand why and what to do about it.
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: mabrungard on February 09, 2014, 08:27:07 PM
If the water composition is relatively constant, a water test and utilizing a decent water calculator will get most brewers 90 + percent of the way to what you can achieve with a pH meter. Meters are generally more accurate than any strips, but they have more upkeep.
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: Scot (one T) on February 10, 2014, 01:33:26 AM
  If you do take the plunge and buy a ph meter....don't skimp.   Most brewers I know, have 2 - 3 cheaper models they purchased before buying a more expensive model.
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 10, 2014, 02:23:28 AM
  If you do take the plunge and buy a ph meter....don't skimp.   Most brewers I know, have 2 - 3 cheaper models they purchased before buying a more expensive model.

Guilty.
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: AmandaK on February 10, 2014, 02:05:56 PM
  If you do take the plunge and buy a ph meter....don't skimp.   Most brewers I know, have 2 - 3 cheaper models they purchased before buying a more expensive model.

I used to be guilty with this on many occasions. Now I just buy the best and don't buy it again. Saves money in the grand scheme of things.

Also I have a Hanna pHep 5 and like it a lot.
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: reverseapachemaster on February 10, 2014, 02:46:12 PM
I wonder if your readings changed based on temperature fluctuations across your three readings. In a small vessel it's easy to have wider temperature fluctuations, especially if you used your freezer to cool it quickly, and that could affect how accurate your three readings could have been.

Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: chumley on February 10, 2014, 04:54:58 PM
The thing that drove me nuts about pH strips is that for the ones I got, the color is based shades of yellow to dark brown, with the 5.1 to 5.5 range being several light to medium brown shades.  Guess how well that works for dark beers?  >:(

pH meters......I used to use field pH meters when I was a young environmental consultant 25 years ago sampling monitoring wells.  Keeping them calibrated was a royal pain.  Unless they got better, don't waste your time. +1 to Martin's advice.
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on February 10, 2014, 07:14:16 PM
Thanks all for the good advise!

I definitely think the temperature irregularity was an issue and it could have also been that as time went by my mash itself was changing in PH.

I did get a water report (sent to Ward Labs) which came back and I tried to use the calculators online to hlep me estimate what water adjustments needed to happen, this is the trial and error phase I think with my equipment and process.

I'll definitely be looking into a quality PH meter, thanks all!
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: Jimmy K on February 10, 2014, 08:00:22 PM
Thanks all for the good advise!

I definitely think the temperature irregularity was an issue and it could have also been that as time went by my mash itself was changing in PH.

I did get a water report (sent to Ward Labs) which came back and I tried to use the calculators online to hlep me estimate what water adjustments needed to happen, this is the trial and error phase I think with my equipment and process.

I'll definitely be looking into a quality PH meter, thanks all!
I really like http://www.brewersfriend.com/ (http://www.brewersfriend.com/) water calculators. The basic allows you to enter your own water values and calculate adjustments to target certain profiles. Advanced lets you enter grist and acid adjustments to calculate mash pH. They really make adjusting pretty easy and a good pH meter will let you double check that the calculations are correct.
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on February 12, 2014, 06:19:58 PM
  If you do take the plunge and buy a ph meter....don't skimp.   Most brewers I know, have 2 - 3 cheaper models they purchased before buying a more expensive model.

Guilty.
+3 guilty :o
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: Stevie on February 12, 2014, 06:27:33 PM
I will never buy a PH meter. I hate hate having to maintain and replace parts for anything. I trust in Bru'n Water.
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: thebigbaker on February 12, 2014, 07:36:50 PM
I bought a pH meter last yr and used it three times.  The readings I got were right on with what Bru'n Water predicted, so I ended up selling the pH meter.

Funny story on selling it is that I listed the pH meter on CL.  The first response I got wanted to trade some "top shelf mmj."  I had to google mmj to confirm what I thought it was.  I guess this is expected w/ the new laws here in CO.  I went w/ the guy that paid in cash.
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 12, 2014, 08:16:43 PM
+1 to Bru'nWater. If you're careful to enter the correct grist, water volumes and use RO, it seems to predict pH very accurately. If I were to ever feel I needed it I'd buy a meter I suppose, but I'm a lot of batches in on Bru'nWater and it works consistently well. Really pleased.
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: Scot (one T) on February 12, 2014, 08:25:47 PM
I use my ph meter a lot in mead making..takes apx 2 minutes to calibrate...works like a charm.  Had it a year...no issues... no parts to replace.

  I use the Milwaukee MW102
Title: Re: PH Test Strips
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 12, 2014, 08:37:34 PM
+1 to Bru'nWater. If you're careful to enter the correct grist, water volumes and use RO, it seems to predict pH very accurately. If I were to ever feel I needed it I'd buy a meter I suppose, but I'm a lot of batches in on Bru'nWater and it works consistently well. Really pleased.
Every now bad then I have a mash that is a little off, so I have to adjust. That could be grist variation or base RO water variation. I check the mash pH, and have started measuring kettle pH. I have to get with it and measure the finished beer pH someday