Author Topic: pH meter ?  (Read 1819 times)

Offline Steve Ruch

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pH meter ?
« on: May 10, 2016, 06:01:56 PM »
I live in the PNW and have pretty good water to brew with. I'm thinking about getting a pH meter, but wonder if it will make all that big of a difference in my beer.
What steps have to be taken if the pH is too high? too low?
Crescent City, CA

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Offline 69franx

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2016, 06:45:54 PM »
You can try to "fix" the difference with either more acid, or adding lime. If I remember correctly though, Martin's advice is to note the variance and account for it the next time around. Just too tough to make tiny adjusts, retest, readjust, etc. Also too time consuming: by the time you get it "right," conversion may already be complete or near so, leaving your adjustments for naught
Frank L.
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Offline rob_f

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 06:49:17 PM »
Typical brewing salts such as gypsum, epsom salt, and calcium chloride all reduce the mash pH by reacting with phytin to release free protons (acid).  You can reduce pH with acid as well.  Most folks have some alkalinity in their water, so reducing pH is the typical path.  Less choices for increasing pH: sodium bicarbonate, pickling lime, and pretty worthless calcium carbonate.  Download Bru'nwater and it will all become clear.
Rob Farrell
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2016, 10:25:16 PM »
Get one.  You will not be disappointed.  It helps you to take out one more variable that you can attempt to control in the brewing process with notable results. In the past 2 months I was able to convince one of my brewing buddies to purchase a meter (MW102) and he dove in head first. His beers have improved vastly since using it regularly and even earned 2 medals in big categories at a very large local comp (650+ entries).  Needless to say, he was psyched, but I was even more excited for him!

Always fun and cool to help someone brew better beer. Even if it is just with some simple knowledge that can be passed on.

Offline blair.streit

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2016, 10:47:14 PM »
Using a well-calibrated pH meter is the only way to really know what your attempts at pH manipulation are doing. When I first bought mine, I used it at multiple points in every beer I brewed and noticed a drastic improvement.

The reason I noticed a drastic improvement is because even though I was using a water calculator (several, actually), the base malts I was using were yielding a different pH than the calculators would have suggested. The meter opened my eyes to what was going on and I was able to adjust accordingly.

Now that I feel this aspect is "dialed in", I don't necessarily take mutiple pH measurements every time (especially if I'm brewing a tried and true recipe). However, I like to record a final mash pH along with my pre-boil gravity even for tried and true recipes. This gives me one more data point to compare with tasting notes. Then later if I want to tweak the pH to accentuate a specific aspect of a beer I know what my starting point was, and how consistent that is from batch to batch.

Offline majorvices

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2016, 12:39:04 PM »
pH meter is a pretty indispensable tool for me. I bought the one from Thermoworks and it is a pretty darn good one. I recommend it.

Offline zwiller

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2016, 12:49:02 PM »
Download BNW and learn it before the meter.  It is not perfect but is an incredibly powerful tool.  I remind folks that the electrode in the meter does not last forever and is short lived IMO.  You will also need calibration solutions and possibly storage solution/cleaning solutions.  All this being said, you will learn TONS from it and your beer WILL improve but it is high risk high reward.  IMO the meter itself does not improve your beer per se, but it is a tool that helps you understand what is occurring throughout brewing. 

I would say you need some acid and a way to measure it along with some pickling lime and gram scale if you intend to make adjustments.   
Sam
Sandusky, OH

Offline mabrungard

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2016, 01:07:22 PM »
I suggest that anyone interested in purchasing and using a pH meter in brewing should review the discussions on Bru'n Water's Facebook page. You will have to scroll through dozens of articles, but you will find interesting stuff on equipment and usage recommendations.

A meter is a good double check on our brewing, but is not absolutely required.
Martin B
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Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2016, 01:44:34 PM »
I suggest that anyone interested in purchasing and using a pH meter in brewing should review the discussions on Bru'n Water's Facebook page. You will have to scroll through dozens of articles, but you will find interesting stuff on equipment and usage recommendations.

A meter is a good double check on our brewing, but is not absolutely required.
Thermometers and hydrometers are not required either. Historic Brewers brew that way, seen it done. I use instruments.  :D
Jeff Rankert
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Offline zwiller

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2016, 01:56:22 PM »
A meter is a good double check on our brewing, but is not absolutely required.

To that end, I dedicated the use of my last meter to comparing the results to BNW and it went so well I now brew sans meter.  Before the days of water spreadsheets, brewing with a meter and even a good understanding of brewing pH was still very stressful.  The reactions take time to complete, taking samples reduce mash temps, sometimes I had to recalibrate several time during the brew. 

To expound on electrode life, I found the less I used it during the mash (heavy proteins) the longer it lasted.  In addition, the electrode doesn't just stop working but gets increasingly wonky to the extent that eventually you don't trust it. 
Sam
Sandusky, OH

Offline Steve Ruch

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2016, 10:01:05 PM »
pH meter is a pretty indispensable tool for me. I bought the one from Thermoworks and it is a pretty darn good one. I recommend it.

Anyone else have any other recommendations?
Crescent City, CA

I love to go swimmin'
with hairy old women

Offline brewinhard

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2016, 11:13:06 PM »
I use Milwaukee 101 and have no issues with it. I only take mash readings and find it to be quite accurate. Most of my pH readings are with .02 +/- of BrunWater's predictions.

Offline blair.streit

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2016, 12:07:19 AM »
I have the Milwaukee 102 and really like it. I had one of the cheap red handheld Hannas before that and do not recommend it.

I was intrigued by the mention of Thermoworks above. I didn't know they made a pH meter but I like my Thermapen so much I would recommend seeking out more info on that one too.

Offline tommymorris

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Re: pH meter ?
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2016, 12:43:53 AM »
Thermoworks has 15% off site wide right now. I just bought a 8689 meter and solutions.

Offline juggabrew303

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pH meter ?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2016, 04:55:10 AM »
Thermoworks has 15% off site wide right now. I just bought a 8689 meter and solutions.
How do you like your meter?


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