Author Topic: Yet another pH thread...  (Read 3547 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #60 on: July 11, 2021, 11:28:24 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!
I think my Omega was like that and this new Apera is that way too.  Not sure if I mentioned this but this Apera does not use "storage solution" (as we know it) in the cap to keep the probe wet.  It uses something called 3M KCl solution which has a distinct smell to it.  The directions call for just a couple drops which keeps the environment in the cap moist.  Not sure if that will prolong probe life or not.  I brewed on Friday evening and while I was waiting for strike water to come to temp I grabbed a small sample of my tap water (pH 7.9) and the meter read it perfectly so I was happy I didn't have to calibrate it.  I know it's been mentioned in this thread "why worry about the pH of your water?" and I understand that but over the past month or so I had absolutely no bearing on pH.  My Omega read my source water pH much lower than the 7.9.  Ward showed the pH of my water at 7.9 (which I should have believed) and this new meter also shows it that way.  With some BrewBama/Gordon Strong "simplicity" and just getting the pH of my strike water to 5.5 prior to mashing I could conceivably live without a meter going forward as long as the pH of my source water does not change.  As mentioned by others here... the Great Lakes water composition is very consistent and my water processing entity is also very consistent. 
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Offline purduekenn

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #61 on: July 14, 2021, 12:34:19 pm »
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

What brand is it? I thought about purchasing one.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #62 on: July 14, 2021, 01:08:11 pm »
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

What brand is it? I thought about purchasing one.

Only $7.99 on Amazon.  If you're worried about them being cheap junk, buy 2 or 3 or 15 of them.  Still cheaper than anything else.  And effective.  Mine has lasted at least 3 years now, still on my first one, no problems.  AND I measure in the hot ~150 F wort.  YMMV.

https://www.amazon.com/IDEALHOUSE-Accuracy-Measurement-Household-Drinking/dp/B07Z9DY1CV/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=homebrew+ph+meter&qid=1626289489&sr=8-5

But don't listen to Dave, he's friggin crazy.  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #63 on: July 14, 2021, 02:28:11 pm »
One thing that occurs to me is:  If you have one pH meter, how do you know if your meter is correct?  Do you just have a sense when it's not correct because you're making the same beer you've made 10 times with all the same ingredients and you know what the mash pH should be and so... you calibrate the meter?  I ask this because my old meter (even with a calibration) was NOT reporting my water's pH accurately.  Only my Ward report from last fall and a timely piece of mail from my village with my water consumer report were able to make me understand that my meter was not cooperating.  I mentioned earlier that I have multiple thermometers in case I have that issue but only ONE pH meter. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline purduekenn

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #64 on: July 14, 2021, 02:47:51 pm »
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

What brand is it? I thought about purchasing one.

Only $7.99 on Amazon.  If you're worried about them being cheap junk, buy 2 or 3 or 15 of them.  Still cheaper than anything else.  And effective.  Mine has lasted at least 3 years now, still on my first one, no problems.  AND I measure in the hot ~150 F wort.  YMMV.

https://www.amazon.com/IDEALHOUSE-Accuracy-Measurement-Household-Drinking/dp/B07Z9DY1CV/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=homebrew+ph+meter&qid=1626289489&sr=8-5

But don't listen to Dave, he's friggin crazy.  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
I ordered one so I can check it against my Milwauke pH 56 meter. Thanks for the info. I guess I'm crazy too!!

Offline denny

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #65 on: July 14, 2021, 03:12:32 pm »
One thing that occurs to me is:  If you have one pH meter, how do you know if your meter is correct?  Do you just have a sense when it's not correct because you're making the same beer you've made 10 times with all the same ingredients and you know what the mash pH should be and so... you calibrate the meter?  I ask this because my old meter (even with a calibration) was NOT reporting my water's pH accurately.  Only my Ward report from last fall and a timely piece of mail from my village with my water consumer report were able to make me understand that my meter was not cooperating.  I mentioned earlier that I have multiple thermometers in case I have that issue but only ONE pH meter.

If you have 2 pH meters that disagree, it's the same situation isn't it?
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Offline Silver_Is_Money

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #66 on: July 14, 2021, 03:15:29 pm »
One thing that occurs to me is:  If you have one pH meter, how do you know if your meter is correct?  Do you just have a sense when it's not correct because you're making the same beer you've made 10 times with all the same ingredients and you know what the mash pH should be and so... you calibrate the meter?  I ask this because my old meter (even with a calibration) was NOT reporting my water's pH accurately.  Only my Ward report from last fall and a timely piece of mail from my village with my water consumer report were able to make me understand that my meter was not cooperating.  I mentioned earlier that I have multiple thermometers in case I have that issue but only ONE pH meter.

This is why I now have two pH meters.

Offline purduekenn

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #67 on: July 14, 2021, 03:19:29 pm »
One thing that occurs to me is:  If you have one pH meter, how do you know if your meter is correct?  Do you just have a sense when it's not correct because you're making the same beer you've made 10 times with all the same ingredients and you know what the mash pH should be and so... you calibrate the meter?  I ask this because my old meter (even with a calibration) was NOT reporting my water's pH accurately.  Only my Ward report from last fall and a timely piece of mail from my village with my water consumer report were able to make me understand that my meter was not cooperating.  I mentioned earlier that I have multiple thermometers in case I have that issue but only ONE pH meter.

If you have 2 pH meters that disagree, it's the same situation isn't it?
Maybe brewing calculators like Bru’n water is a good check if you have a good water report like Wards?

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #68 on: July 14, 2021, 03:40:49 pm »
You guys do realize they make calibration solutions to check whether your pH meter is reading correctly... yes?

I thought so.  Just checking.  ;)
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Offline purduekenn

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #69 on: July 14, 2021, 03:50:12 pm »
You guys do realize they make calibration solutions to check whether your pH meter is reading correctly... yes?

I thought so.  Just checking.  ;)

Yes. I use it for my pH 56 meter. I had to clean the probe with vinegar and rinse and then use a 50% bleach solution to get the meter calibrated again. It seams to be working ok now. I store the meter in storage solution when it is not in use. It might be nice to have an extra meter in case one is acting up when you try to calibrate like my pH 56 meter did before cleaning.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2021, 04:00:35 pm by purduekenn »

Offline RC

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #70 on: July 14, 2021, 06:01:57 pm »
You guys do realize they make calibration solutions to check whether your pH meter is reading correctly... yes?

LOL, this is exactly what came to my mind as well. It's pretty easy to check the accuracy of your pH meter in a way that doesn't involve buying a second one. That said, I'm admittedly throwing stones from a glass house because there's a lot of brewing equipment that I have two of. Or six.

This would be a good time to remind brewers that calibration solutions do go bad. They absorb atmospheric gasses, as any liquid does. This changes how well they match their labeled calibration pH. If you think your probe is going bad, consider how old your solutions are as part of the troubleshooting. And use fresh, new solutions to get that "second opinion" if you think your probe is iffy.

Offline Richard

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #71 on: July 14, 2021, 08:22:24 pm »
You guys do realize they make calibration solutions to check whether your pH meter is reading correctly... yes?

LOL, this is exactly what came to my mind as well. It's pretty easy to check the accuracy of your pH meter in a way that doesn't involve buying a second one. That said, I'm admittedly throwing stones from a glass house because there's a lot of brewing equipment that I have two of. Or six.

This would be a good time to remind brewers that calibration solutions do go bad. They absorb atmospheric gasses, as any liquid does. This changes how well they match their labeled calibration pH. If you think your probe is going bad, consider how old your solutions are as part of the troubleshooting. And use fresh, new solutions to get that "second opinion" if you think your probe is iffy.

I buy small bottles of the calibration solutions so I use them up before they go bad, but I often use them as a "second opinion". I first measure the pH of white vinegar, which should be 2.50, and if the reading is more than  0.01 or 0.02 off I calibrate using the solutions.
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Offline goose

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #72 on: July 15, 2021, 07:53:33 am »
One thing that occurs to me is:  If you have one pH meter, how do you know if your meter is correct?  Do you just have a sense when it's not correct because you're making the same beer you've made 10 times with all the same ingredients and you know what the mash pH should be and so... you calibrate the meter?  I ask this because my old meter (even with a calibration) was NOT reporting my water's pH accurately.  Only my Ward report from last fall and a timely piece of mail from my village with my water consumer report were able to make me understand that my meter was not cooperating.  I mentioned earlier that I have multiple thermometers in case I have that issue but only ONE pH meter.

I hve a pretty good pH meter (Milwaukee SM-102) and calibrate it with 7.0 and 4.0 buffers about once per month.  I notice that when taking a pH measurement of RO water, that the reading tends to drift down a bit, so I collect a sample and let the probe sit in it on my brew day while I am weighing out minerals, crushing grain and doughing in.  It usually will stabilize and I can then proceed with the sparge liquor pH adjustment with phosphoric acid.

If the meter calibrates easily, you can be pretty sure the probe is good and accurate.  I notice that when my probe is going bad it takes a long time to calibrate with the 4.0 solution and I replace it.  I can usually get about 3 years out of a probe, YMMV
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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #73 on: July 15, 2021, 08:26:32 am »
You guys do realize they make calibration solutions to check whether your pH meter is reading correctly... yes?

I thought so.  Just checking.  ;)
I would measure the 4.0 and 7.0 and the meter was off so I would calibrate it.  A short time later I would try to read the 4.0 and 7.0 solutions and it was closer but still off so I would calibrate it again.  I believe the solutions have a shelf life so that muddies the water a bit too.  Knowing what BNW would predict is one way to know and clearly just brewing on the same system with the same water and ingredients gives us some bearing, no question.  But if I calibrate a meter and it shows my water at 6.8 when it's really 7.9... apparently the meter is toast. 
Ken from Chicago. 
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Offline Bilsch

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Re: Yet another pH thread...
« Reply #74 on: July 19, 2021, 03:43:05 pm »
But if I calibrate a meter and it shows my water at 6.8 when it's really 7.9... apparently the meter is toast.

Not necessarily. In brewing use the probes get films of lipids and proteins as well as mineral build up which effects their performance. Sluggish response is the first clue. Anyway before you chuck that meter give it a good cleaning by soaking in 5-10% solution of HCL followed by a 3-5% solution of NaOh or KOH. Bet it will fix it right up.

P.S. Storage solution is saturated KCL solution and I'm betting the 3M KCL is pretty much the same thing.