Author Topic: Yet another pH thread...  (Read 3177 times)

Offline hmbrw4life

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2021, 12:47:04 pm »
If your meter is reading fresh calibration solutions correctly, I'd be inclined to trust your meter over the Wards value. Who knows what could have happened; 6.6 vs. 7.9 is a big disparity.

If a difference of 1.3 pH units was translating to your mash pH, it would be way out of whack and your beers would probably be suffering for it. How have they been turning out? That's sort of the ultimate test of a pH meter.
I have been having some issues lately, mainly with clarity, haze, etc. and I am trying to simplify some things.  I agree that discrepancy is big so then it makes me wonder about a water bottle with 4 ounces of tap water in it, going through the mail or UPS or whatever and what impact could there be on the water and its pH as it travels and gets to the lab.  Or... would the sample not be impacted by that?  I agree though that if my meter is reading brand new calibration solutions correctly then I have to trust it.  Which means that I have to throw out the Wards number which seems unbelievable to me.

I would have to be shown how shipping would affect pH before I'd think it possible.

Degassing of water (removal of co2 in this case) will drive carbonic acid out, thus raising ph. If putting in a large container, and not much volume, will promote a larger headspace thus more disassociation/equilibrium.
When degassing water with N2 its not uncommon to see a very large spike in pH, due to replacing the co2(acidic) with N2, much less acidic.

How large a container do you think he's gonna send to Ward Labs?  You theory and need to be right seem to be interfering with your common sense.


Not a fan of those ad-hominem attacks.

He stated:
" I filtered some water into an empty, dry water bottle (like AquaFina, etc)."

It got shook up all along the ride, who knows. I didn't say it happen, only the mechanism of which is could, which I am not mistaken you asked for.


Have you ever degassed water? I have, and I took the pH, it changed. What have you seen?
Science functions when theory correctly predicts the results of experiments.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2021, 12:51:59 pm »
Okay, no need for anyone to get prickly, kids.  I could potentially solve this by asking Ward about the best possible way to package the sample and send them another one sometime in the near future.  Also, my neighbor's wife is heavy into gardening and I wonder if she has a pH meter.  If so, I could borrow it and test a sample of my tap water with my meter and hers and see what happens.  I have multiple Thermapens in case I start to distrust one of them but I only have one pH meter.  I also have some old test strips but I'm not sure I would trust them to cross-check my meter. 
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2021, 01:28:35 pm »
What about the sample-taking part?  What if I wanted to measure the pH of my tap water so I go to my kitchen sink and just open the tap and get a small sample and measure it.  Then I did it again but I let the water run for a minute so I'm not getting water that is sitting in the pipes.  Could the measurement be different?  Yes, no, maybe but not enough to matter?

What is the latest information for how long into the mash to wait to take an accurate pH measurement?  I have heard a number of brewers say they wait until about 20 minutes into the mash.  But once I set my mash cap and close up the mash, I really don't want to muck around in there to get a sample?  How and when are most of you measuring mash pH?
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline RC

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2021, 01:30:28 pm »
If your meter is reading fresh calibration solutions correctly, I'd be inclined to trust your meter over the Wards value. Who knows what could have happened; 6.6 vs. 7.9 is a big disparity.

If a difference of 1.3 pH units was translating to your mash pH, it would be way out of whack and your beers would probably be suffering for it. How have they been turning out? That's sort of the ultimate test of a pH meter.
I have been having some issues lately, mainly with clarity, haze, etc. and I am trying to simplify some things.  I agree that discrepancy is big so then it makes me wonder about a water bottle with 4 ounces of tap water in it, going through the mail or UPS or whatever and what impact could there be on the water and its pH as it travels and gets to the lab.  Or... would the sample not be impacted by that?  I agree though that if my meter is reading brand new calibration solutions correctly then I have to trust it.  Which means that I have to throw out the Wards number which seems unbelievable to me.

I would have to be shown how shipping would affect pH before I'd think it possible.

Degassing of water (removal of co2 in this case) will drive carbonic acid out, thus raising ph. If putting in a large container, and not much volume, will promote a larger headspace thus more disassociation/equilibrium.
When degassing water with N2 its not uncommon to see a very large spike in pH, due to replacing the co2(acidic) with N2, much less acidic.

How large a container do you think he's gonna send to Ward Labs?  You theory and need to be right seem to be interfering with your common sense.
May have been a standard 16.9 ounce water bottle that I filled 1/3rd of the way up... something like that.

For grins and giggles I did my own pH tests on regular and degassed water samples. A 100 mL water sample straight from the tap was pH 6.96. I then shook the sample very vigorously for 30 seconds (it was in a 250 mL mason jar). pH was 6.92. I then took a reading in the Brita filter, just to be thorough. It was 6.98. All very similar.

Interestingly, my Wards water report shows a pH of 7.8, which is consistent with my city water report. So I have a similar, albeit smaller, disparity.

In summary, I have no idea what's going on, but I will continue trusting my pH meter until weirder stuff happens.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2021, 01:43:24 pm »
For grins and giggles I did my own pH tests on regular and degassed water samples. A 100 mL water sample straight from the tap was pH 6.96. I then shook the sample very vigorously for 30 seconds (it was in a 250 mL mason jar). pH was 6.92. I then took a reading in the Brita filter, just to be thorough. It was 6.98. All very similar.

Interestingly, my Wards water report shows a pH of 7.8, which is consistent with my city water report. So I have a similar, albeit smaller, disparity.

In summary, I have no idea what's going on, but I will continue trusting my pH meter until weirder stuff happens.
Thank you for that.  I appreciate it.  That is very strange.  I wonder how many other brewers see a difference between what their meter says and their Ward report.  I do agree... my meter is reading brand new calibration solution properly so I have to trust it.  I also reached out to a brewing bud who lives about 15 minutes from me and asked if I could borrow his meter.  It would be great to see two meters agree on the same sample or at least be close. 
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline hmbrw4life

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2021, 01:51:16 pm »
Thanks for testing, but thats not degassing. You just shook o2 in it (if that was the case we would see pH shift when oxygenating for brewing).  If you degassed with co2 (or yeast) it would lower the pH of the medium, conversely if you degas with N2 it raises pH.

Maybe they were flown? Maybe the pressure did something? Maybe probably none of the above?
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2021, 01:55:08 pm »
It just seems unreal that a place that is all about measuring could have bad numbers.  But it also seems unreal for my meter to read calibration solution properly at the same time.  Every time I check the pH of my water I end up in the 6.6 to 6.7 range and my meter does go to two spots to the right of the decimal so anywhere from 6.60 to 6.72 very consistently.  That small window is why I asked about the proper way to get a sample. 
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline hmbrw4life

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2021, 01:58:33 pm »
It just seems unreal that a place that is all about measuring could have bad numbers.  But it also seems unreal for my meter to read calibration solution properly at the same time.  Every time I check the pH of my water I end up in the 6.6 to 6.7 range and my meter does go to two spots to the right of the decimal so anywhere from 6.60 to 6.72 very consistently.  That small window is why I asked about the proper way to get a sample.

Did you follow this?

Water Sampling Procedure
Use a clean plastic container for submitting your sample. Any clean plastic bottle will work. Bottles can be obtained from the laboratory.
Let water run for five minutes.
Rinse the container several times with water that is being sampled and then fill the sample bottle. Send at least one-half pint of water to be tested.
If it is not possible to send the sample to the lab immediately after collection, refrigerate until it is sent.
Once you’ve sent your sample, your results will be emailed once completed. Turnaround time varies by analysis and season, but most sample results will be sent within 1-3 days of the samples arriving at the lab.  You will receive an invoice with the results, payable by check, credit card or through our online portal.


From here:
https://www.wardlab.com/submit-a-sample/water-analysis/household-brewery-water-sampling-procedure/
Science functions when theory correctly predicts the results of experiments.
Six Sigma in a former life. Retired in the current life.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2021, 02:17:20 pm »
Thanks for that.  You know, that "five minutes" part may be the issue.  I don't think I let the water run for 5 minutes.  But I did everything else properly with the clean water bottle, rinsed with the sample water and I sent it out immediately so no refrigeration came into play.  I would have filled the bottle halfway which would have fulfilled the half-pint part.  When I filter my water I let it run through the filter for about a minute before I start collecting it.  I wonder if I need to take a sample where the water has run for 5 minutes and then wait 5 minutes before collecting for brewday. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2021, 05:49:38 pm »
Did you take a pH reading of the exact same sample? If not, maybe there was something affecting the source water at the time you drew the sample you sent to Ward. Does your town ever switch to a secondary source? Was there recent heavy rainfall? The outlier seems to be the Ward Labs sample, so that is where I would assume the issue is.

Maybe Ward Labs got their samples crossed up? Did the other levels fall in line with your expectations,  or were they off too?

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Offline BrewBama

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Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2021, 08:32:18 pm »


FYI to the group, I always check my sparge water and add acid to get between 5.2 and 5.6.  I need to know where it starts so I don't overshoot. Granted the untreated water sometimes takes a while to get a stable reading, but I usually get there.

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^^ I do the same to all my brewhaus liquor.

Hey Ken — maybe Ward labs made a mistake and mixed up your sample with someone else’s. I’d give them a call and tell them what you’re seeing.

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« Last Edit: June 22, 2021, 08:37:11 pm by BrewBama »

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #26 on: June 22, 2021, 09:09:31 pm »
Did you take a pH reading of the exact same sample? If not, maybe there was something affecting the source water at the time you drew the sample you sent to Ward. Does your town ever switch to a secondary source? Was there recent heavy rainfall? The outlier seems to be the Ward Labs sample, so that is where I would assume the issue is.

Maybe Ward Labs got their samples crossed up? Did the other levels fall in line with your expectations,  or were they off too?

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
I did not take a pH measurement of the sample but that's a good point.  Also, my area is served by a wide-reaching water distribution network and the numbers (from Ward) have always been very much in the same neighborhood.  Heavy rainfall or sever drought does not seem to alter the water as the water treatment center must control it pretty well.  The water is heavily chlorinated which is why I send it through a carbon-block filter.  The numbers on this latest test were all very close to numbers in the past except for the pH. 
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #27 on: June 22, 2021, 09:15:28 pm »
Hey Ken — maybe Ward labs made a mistake and mixed up your sample with someone else’s. I’d give them a call and tell them what you’re seeing.
What might be fun is to take another sample doing the five minute thing and the rest of the sample-taking steps, take a pH measurement with it and then send it off to Ward and see what happens.  In the 4-5 times I have ever had a Ward analysis (in 21+ years), the pH has always been around 6.6.

Here's another data point although it's fuzzy and old just like me:  Years ago before I had decent pH control I would attempt to make pale lagers and they would not come out well because I was either mashing or sparging at a pH higher than 6.0.  However, in those days my amber and dark beers came out nicely.  If the pH of the water was 6.6 I could see this being possible because the darker malts might lower the pH but 7.9?  Seems unlikely but I'm spitballing. 
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2021, 09:31:16 pm »
Okay, no need for anyone to get prickly, kids. …

It’s easy to get sucked in. 

Based on a recent exchange, I had to take a step back, reevaluate, and, realizing who I was dealing with, just resigned the exchange as an impasse and stopped posting regardless of whatever was said next.

I realized it’s just not worth the energy to get sucked in anymore and so I’ll just do my thing based on sources I trust.  I’ll just ignore the BS.
You know that thread about "simplifying things"?   ;)  :D
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2021, 01:44:08 pm »
An update:  I went over to my bud's house last night and borrowed his meter.  It's an Apera 60 that he said he got on Amazon.  Not sure I have ever heard of the brand.  He is currently on a brewing hiatus because of work so he told me to keep it as long as I need and he gave me the whole case... meter, solutions, little plastic cups for measuring, etc.  I also have my Omega meter and I calibrated both of them.  I also have the solutions with the Apera meter and new Biopharm 4.0 and 7.0 solutions I just got from Amazon.  In addition to that I have 4.5-to-9.0 pH test strips just to see if they help.  I calibrated both meters prior to testing them.  I grabbed a sample of my tap water right from the faucet.  Apera says 7.59, Omega says 6.6 and the test strips looked like 6.0 to 6.25.  Not sure what to say about that one.  Then I measured the Apera 4.0 solution with the Apera meter.  4.0.  Then the Apera 7.0 solution with the Apera.  7.0.  Then I measure the Biopharm 4.0 with the Apera.  4.0.  Then the Biopharm 7.0 with the Apera.  7.25.  :|  Then the Apera 4.0 solution with the Omega.  3.85.  Then the Apera 7.0 solution with the Omega.  6.69.  Omega seems to be reading low.  Then the Biopharm 4.0 solution with the Omega.  3.85.  Then the Biopharm 7.0 with the Omega.  6.93.  Omega seems to be lagging behind.  The test strips don't go down to 4.0 so I measured both 7.0 solutions with the strips and they both lined up pretty accurately with the 7.0 squares on the key.  I have no issue calibrating the meter prior to every use but I calibrated both here right before the test (the Apera calibration process is different but relatively simple) and the Omega seemed to be out of calibration.  Anyone have any thoughts?  Anything that looks like I missed something?  I might use this other meter for my brew session this weekend and then return it to my bud and pick one up on Amazon if it looks to be working properly.  It's currently $79.  Also, here is another thing I noticed:  The Apera reads much quicker than my Omega.  It gets into the range very, very quickly while the Omega takes FFOORREEVVEERR to finally stop.  Maybe another sign that it's failing.  Cheers.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2021, 01:47:29 pm by Village Taphouse »
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.