Author Topic: Yet another pH thread...  (Read 3374 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2021, 10:05:53 pm »
Well, if you live in Chicago, you probably never know where your city water is coming from, day to day, I suspect.
In my area, the water comes from what they call the Northwest Water District and it covers a very wide area and there are multiple water plants.  This is Lake Michigan water that has been treated with chlorine and it's actually very good brewing water and it's also relatively consistent.  I have spoken with other brewers and also people whose work relied on water for various things and they like the fact that the water has been so consistent so they don't have to play with it prior to using it for their uses.  Ca 34, Mg 12, Na 13, Cl 21, SO4 27 and then Bicarb of 138ppm.  All of those numbers are modest except the bicarbonate so I use lactic acid to bring the pH down.  But a shift in pH could cause an issue so I like to be able to look at it occasionally.  Cheers.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #46 on: June 30, 2021, 05:37:33 am »
Well, if you live in Chicago, you probably never know where your city water is coming from, day to day, I suspect.
In my area, the water comes from what they call the Northwest Water District and it covers a very wide area and there are multiple water plants.  This is Lake Michigan water that has been treated with chlorine and it's actually very good brewing water and it's also relatively consistent.  I have spoken with other brewers and also people whose work relied on water for various things and they like the fact that the water has been so consistent so they don't have to play with it prior to using it for their uses.  Ca 34, Mg 12, Na 13, Cl 21, SO4 27 and then Bicarb of 138ppm.  All of those numbers are modest except the bicarbonate so I use lactic acid to bring the pH down.  But a shift in pH could cause an issue so I like to be able to look at it occasionally.  Cheers.

Compare that report to Detroit, Lake Huron water,  and you will see that they are very similar. A while ago I found that there is not much difference in the water from the Great Lakes.
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Offline HighVoltageMan!

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #47 on: June 30, 2021, 05:48:34 am »
Why the worry about the pH of water? Aren't you worried more about it's buffering capabilities? That would be determined by the overall hardness, mainly bicarbonates, which are the main source of alkalinity and buffering capabilities. Distilled water often shows a pH below 7, but has zero buffering and moves as soon as any ions are added or removed, tap water doesn't move as quickly as distilled if it has any hardness.

It's seems to be a distraction and not important, it may be a misleading data point. The main drivers for pH in beer are the grain, water salts, buffering capabilities of the water and yeast. Measuring the pH of water really isn't necessary because it doesn't tell you anything you don't already know.

Offline goose

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #48 on: June 30, 2021, 07:33:20 am »
Why the worry about the pH of water? Aren't you worried more about it's buffering capabilities? That would be determined by the overall hardness, mainly bicarbonates, which are the main source of alkalinity and buffering capabilities. Distilled water often shows a pH below 7, but has zero buffering and moves as soon as any ions are added or removed, tap water doesn't move as quickly as distilled if it has any hardness.

It's seems to be a distraction and not important, it may be a misleading data point. The main drivers for pH in beer are the grain, water salts, buffering capabilities of the water and yeast. Measuring the pH of water really isn't necessary because it doesn't tell you anything you don't already know.

It is important for me to know since I treat my sparge liquor (RO water) with phosphoric acid to get the pH in the range of the mash.  Yes I know the buffering power of the mash will hold the pH somewhat constant until much of the wort are diluted by the sparge during the runoff, but I like to be on the safe side to keep the pH in the mash bed from climbing above 6.  Call me anal retentive, but that is bow I do it.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #49 on: June 30, 2021, 07:59:27 am »
Why the worry about the pH of water? Aren't you worried more about it's buffering capabilities? That would be determined by the overall hardness, mainly bicarbonates, which are the main source of alkalinity and buffering capabilities. Distilled water often shows a pH below 7, but has zero buffering and moves as soon as any ions are added or removed, tap water doesn't move as quickly as distilled if it has any hardness.

It's seems to be a distraction and not important, it may be a misleading data point. The main drivers for pH in beer are the grain, water salts, buffering capabilities of the water and yeast. Measuring the pH of water really isn't necessary because it doesn't tell you anything you don't already know.
That was covered on page 1.  I do agree with you to a point but having a consistent starting point batch after batch is important.  Not only that but my meter was acting wonky and I had no way to address it because I only had one pH meter.  If I take the pH of my water and it shows 6.6 but it's really 7.9 and then I take the pH of my mash and it shows 5.5 then it could actually be 6.8 or something.  There is more to this issue than just the pH of the water but that's a part of it. 
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #50 on: June 30, 2021, 08:46:41 am »

It is important for me to know since I treat my sparge liquor (RO water) with phosphoric acid to get the pH in the range of the mash.  Yes I know the buffering power of the mash will hold the pH somewhat constant until much of the wort are diluted by the sparge during the runoff, but I like to be on the safe side to keep the pH in the mash bed from climbing above 6.  Call me anal retentive, but that is bow I do it.

I do the same with distilled. I treat total brewhaus liquor, withhold sparge, and add Brewtan B to the strike liquor to mash in.



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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #51 on: June 30, 2021, 10:13:55 am »

It is important for me to know since I treat my sparge liquor (RO water) with phosphoric acid to get the pH in the range of the mash.  Yes I know the buffering power of the mash will hold the pH somewhat constant until much of the wort are diluted by the sparge during the runoff, but I like to be on the safe side to keep the pH in the mash bed from climbing above 6.  Call me anal retentive, but that is bow I do it.
I do the same with distilled. I treat total brewhaus liquor, withhold sparge, and add Brewtan B to the strike liquor to mash in.
You probably have a bit of a shortcut there assuming that you're always starting with a consistent pH and knowing that X amount of acid will get you where you want to go.  I used to assume that with my source water because it was always pretty consistent (and really... it still is) but the spike in pH is new.  I know I have a Ward analysis showing my water at 6.6 pH and now 7.9.  The reason that's important is because that would change the amount of acid I need to get my water to around 5.5 prior to the mash and... if I can't trust my meter... now I'm working blind. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline chumley

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #52 on: June 30, 2021, 10:26:39 am »
Cool thing about the Great Lakes is that most of the water is 10,000 year old glacial meltwater.

When I was young environmental consultant, I spent a good portion of time in the field developing and sampling groundwater monitoring wells. One of the biggest pains in the neck was using field pH meters. Sometimes you couldn't get them calibrated, other times they would calibrate only to drift in short time, sometimes that flat out wouldn't work. Ten years of working with pH meters gave me a healthy distrust of them for life.

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #53 on: June 30, 2021, 10:32:12 am »

You probably have a bit of a shortcut there assuming that you're always starting with a consistent pH and knowing that X amount of acid will get you where you want to go….

. Simplicity.



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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #54 on: June 30, 2021, 10:57:12 am »
Cool thing about the Great Lakes is that most of the water is 10,000 year old glacial meltwater.

When I was young environmental consultant, I spent a good portion of time in the field developing and sampling groundwater monitoring wells. One of the biggest pains in the neck was using field pH meters. Sometimes you couldn't get them calibrated, other times they would calibrate only to drift in short time, sometimes that flat out wouldn't work. Ten years of working with pH meters gave me a healthy distrust of them for life.
Yeah, they are NOT very user-friendly devices and I feel like many of these $80 jobbies are poor performers at best.  I assume that there are MUCH better meters that labs use but I'm not into spending more money on brewing at the moment.  I did order one of these Apera meters and I will continue to watch to see how it performs on the cal solutions and also on my water.
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #55 on: June 30, 2021, 10:57:49 am »
Simplicity.
Hey, I'm getting a vibe here.  :D

Another thing I have to remind myself is that this is a hobby and I have no formal training.  It's also a science-heavy hobby and my science isn't that great nor do I have a desire to get in up to my knees in formulas, etc.  I have experience which I rely on but I have always been a "by-the-numbers" brewer and when I need something extra I have no formal training to fall back on.  Things happen in brewing that we can't see (enzymatic activity, various water ions, the pH of anything when our meter is acting up) and so issues sometimes come up.  As a result I have been trying to simplify as much as possible. 
« Last Edit: June 30, 2021, 11:56:35 am by Village Taphouse »
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Offline jjflash

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #56 on: July 10, 2021, 07:50:19 am »
My water is from a community well and will vary from 6.0 to 7.6 depending upon the day / season.
I have relied upon the Milwaukee 101 meter for many years.
I use and recommend the Milwaukee Cleaning Solution has been helpful in maintaining the electrode performance.
The sign to me the electrode is going bad in different pH readings from the same sample.
I have needed to replace the electrode a coupe times over the years.
Despite the best of care I think they just wear out over time.




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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #57 on: July 10, 2021, 11:16:53 am »
I just checked calibration on my cheap 3 or 4 year old Chinese meter yesterday and it measured perfect, no adjustment required.  Usually it has to be adjusted so I was pleased.  YMMV
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #58 on: July 11, 2021, 08:23:33 am »
I have needed to replace the electrode a coupe times over the years.
Despite the best of care I think they just wear out over time.

Just like the tires, belts, or battery on your car, a pH probe is a ‘wear item’ that will always require periodic replacement. It is a electro-chemical cell that eventually wears out. That’s why I recommend getting a pH meter with an industry-standard, BNC-cabled probe. That helps reduce the costs of ownership.
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Offline goose

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #59 on: July 11, 2021, 11:14:49 am »
I have needed to replace the electrode a coupe times over the years.
Despite the best of care I think they just wear out over time.

Just like the tires, belts, or battery on your car, a pH probe is a ‘wear item’ that will always require periodic replacement. It is a electro-chemical cell that eventually wears out. That’s why I recommend getting a pH meter with an industry-standard, BNC-cabled probe. That helps reduce the costs of ownership.

^^^This.  that is why I have a Milwaukee SM-102.  I can order a new probe when it no longer calibrates properly and it doesn't break the bank!
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