Author Topic: pH meters...  (Read 3346 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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pH meters...
« on: November 12, 2015, 04:05:57 AM »
I wanted to mention a real "find" I had earlier this year with regard to pH meters.  I originally bought a cheap Milwaukee PH55 meter that may have cost me $49.  I had issues with it from the start.  I called Milwaukee and they had me soak it in vinegar overnight, etc. but it never really worked and even if I calibrated it right before I brewed, I wouldn't have any confidence that it was right.  In our FB group "German Brewing", we had someone named Claudius Budde who was there but then disappeared... not sure if any of you know of him.  But before he left us he mentioned that there was a reliable meter out there that was still affordable.  He turned me onto the Omega PHH-7011 pen-style meter which was $99, IIRC.  I know that people are attached to their Milwaukee 102s or their Hanna meters, etc. but this meter is unreal.  I have not had to calibrate it over the past 10+ months.  I have done it but honestly, I haven't needed to.  I place it into a 4.0 or 7.0 solution and it's dead on, every time.  I only mention this because I like for my measurement tools to help me and not make me swear (I have a Thermapen for mash temp measurement too... for the same reason).  If there's anyone out there thinking of a first meter or a replacement for one that makes you swear, check it out.  I am not a paid spokesperson.  Here it is in action...


Offline AmandaK

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2015, 01:02:47 PM »
Good recommendation. I like seeing meters outside of the 'usual suspects'.

I also went rogue and purchased outside of the Milwaukee/Hanna crowd and bought a $69 Thermowerks pH meter. Love that thing. Once I calibrated it, it has been on the money for 4 months now. Pretty sweet! My old Hanna would lose calibration seemingly every week (even with a new probe).
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2015, 01:57:48 PM »
Hmm, that's the first I have heard of a Thermowerks meter but I'm not surprised that it's good... their Thermapen thermometers are AWESOME!  Cheers.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2015, 02:11:22 PM »
i also have a thermoworks meter-different model. i use a hanna also-kind of insurance and makes feel better when both meters are getting similar results.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2015, 03:00:48 PM »
Maybe I'll get a pH meter eventually.  I worked in a chemistry lab and also did some field chemistry and found pH meters to be a pain so I have never used them for brewing.

Offline coolman26

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2015, 03:05:18 PM »
I too bought the Milwaukee ph56.  It was the most frustrating brewing purchase ever.  It never worked from the beginning.  It would drift and never stabilize.  I had planned on buying the Extech 110 meter with the fillable probe.  I thought it would help with longevity.  It is right at $100, but after reading about these meters I may go this route.  Thanks for the reviews, good information.
Jeff B

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2015, 05:27:10 PM »
What's nice about this meter is that it has a cap on it that you fill with a small amount of the storage solution.  Make sure the cap is on tight and you can let it sit there for quite a long time with worrying about the probe drying out.  The solution doesn't evaporate very quickly because it's screwed on tightly.  I agree that meters with their calibration solution, storage solutions, etc. are a pain in the butt and it's what kept me from buying one for years.  But this meter is a pleasure to use and maintain and it just works every time I go to use it.  Also, I used to use the ColorpHast strips which seemed to work okay but at some point I read the Water book and somewhere in there I found something like [I'm paraphrasing]... Let's be honest, pH strips are for amateurs.  If you want to make the best possible beer, you need a pH meter!  Now I don't believe that for one second and let's be honest... we *ARE* amateurs!  :D  But it did strike a chord and it did make me pick up a meter and I'm glad I found this one.  Cheers.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2015, 06:51:15 PM »
Yeah I never had any luck with the strips. To me  it was a WAG at best as my PH with those things.  With ever changing recipes, maltsters, PH adjustments in kettle and finished product-I live by my PH meter in my brewing.


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Ken- Chagrin Falls, OH
CPT, U.S.Army
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harveys-Brewhaus/405092862905115

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Science_of_Mashing

Serving:        In Process:
Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
Ger'merican Blonde
Amber Ale
Next:
Ger Pils
O'Fest

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2015, 02:59:13 PM »
I am making a Munich helles this morning and wanted to mention one other thing about this meter I'm using... when the rare occasion comes up where you feel you want to calibrate it (it read the 4.00 cal solution at 4.03 this morning), the calibration routine takes about 3 seconds and it always works.  On the Milwaukee, the 2-step process might take 3-5 minutes and about 90% of the time the screen would display "WRNG" (wrong?) and not go any further with the process.  Frustrating.  Milwaukee suggested soaking the probe in distilled white vinegar overnight which I am totally fine with... occasionally.  Not every time I want to use the thing.  Again, I'm not a paid spokesperson... just a beer maker who likes reliable measurement devices.  :)

Offline tommymorris

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pH meters...
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2015, 03:08:52 PM »
I bought a cheep meter. It sucks but it did verify that my ph was close to Brunwater predictions.

Now I am wondering if I should just trust Brunwater and go without any ph meter? I might be off on a batch occasionally but that won't totally ruin the beer.

PS. I bought a TDS meter also. I use RO water and make sure the TDS is low before brewing. It seems like that plus Brunwater is really good enough.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 03:11:42 PM by alestateyall »

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2015, 03:36:08 PM »
I bought a cheep meter. It sucks but it did verify that my ph was close to Brunwater predictions.

Now I am wondering if I should just trust Brunwater and go without any ph meter? I might be off on a batch occasionally but that won't totally ruin the beer.

PS. I bought a TDS meter also. I use RO water and make sure the TDS is low before brewing. It seems like that plus Brunwater is really good enough.
Many brewers I know say that BNW gets them uber-close on pH so if you were comfortable with BNW and didn't want the hassle of a meter, I think you could be pretty confident that you would be in good shape.

Offline 69franx

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2015, 09:55:22 PM »
I bought a cheep meter. It sucks but it did verify that my ph was close to Brunwater predictions.

Now I am wondering if I should just trust Brunwater and go without any ph meter? I might be off on a batch occasionally but that won't totally ruin the beer.

PS. I bought a TDS meter also. I use RO water and make sure the TDS is low before brewing. It seems like that plus Brunwater is really good enough.
Many brewers I know say that BNW gets them uber-close on pH so if you were comfortable with BNW and didn't want the hassle of a meter, I think you could be pretty confident that you would be in good shape.
I think this is pretty true as long as all of your input is accurate: weights, volumes, lovibond ratings,  etc. Any time I was off, I have found my own input errors were likely to be the culprit. This usually occurred when changing recipe specs and not changing it in Bru'NWater
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2015, 10:34:08 PM »
I think this is pretty true as long as all of your input is accurate: weights, volumes, lovibond ratings,  etc. Any time I was off, I have found my own input errors were likely to be the culprit. This usually occurred when changing recipe specs and not changing it in Bru'NWater


For sure. Brunwater IME is very accurate but is only as accurate as the volume and lovibond inputs that you put in. Word of caution though : dark roasted malts (depending on maltster) can vary greatly in their lovibond range. The roasted barley I used in my stout on tap had an L range stated of something like 475-600L. That's a case where verifying pH is a pretty solid idea. I think these varying color ratings on the dark malts are one of the culprits that can make brewing a good dark beer tricky.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2015, 10:39:49 PM »
Good call out Jon. Getting a hold of batch data can be nearly impossible when buying by the pound. I have shopped at some shops that keeps the grain in the sack, or keep that info handy, but that is few and far between in my experience.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: pH meters...
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2015, 10:45:24 PM »
Good call out Jon. Getting a hold of batch data can be nearly impossible when buying by the pound. I have shopped at some shops that keeps the grain in the sack, or keep that info handy, but that is few and far between in my experience.


I normally keep some dark grains on hand but I was out, so I bought the RB from the LHBS. I was skeptical when the guy told me that L range, so I went to the back with him. It was Munton's RB and that range was stamped on the bag. I know some maltsters have a wide range on dark grains, but that's a WIDE range. Makes trusting software to predict accurately a crapshoot in that case.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2015, 10:48:48 PM by HoosierBrew »
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