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Author Topic: PH reading  (Read 2758 times)

Offline redrocker652002

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PH reading
« on: December 30, 2023, 11:23:11 am »
OK, so I will start by saying I have very little knowledge on this at all. I bought some of those test strips that shows PH as just a fun attempt at seeing where I am. After the boil I tested my PH using one of those test strips. It seemed to be the color of about 6. After doing some more reading, I have found this to be a bit on the high side. Of course with that said, I have also read those strips are not the most reliable to use either, but they were cheap and I figured why not give it a try. Just a bit more info on this brew. I forgot to add the Campden tab in the water before I started, just a brain fart on my part. I have used them in the last few brews so I am wondering if that might have affected the numbers? But, when I first started I did not use them and I don't notice anything different than what I am getting now. Also, I overshot my OG by about .005 from 1.049 to 1.054. I did not think that was a big deal, and to be honest I am a bit happy because that means I got more out of the mash than I expected. I set my efficiency at about 71% I think, so maybe I am in the 75% area? Also, I transferred the grains to a cooler and soaked them in 170 water for about 15 mins and transferred that into my boil kettle as well to make my total pre boil water amount about 7 gallons or so.  I am trying to wade in the baby pool of water chemistry, and I figure the PH side of it is the best place to start. Any input is welcomed.

Offline denny

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2023, 12:25:35 pm »
pH strips are pretty much a waste of money.  I wouldn't trust any reading I got with them unless they were the plastic ColorpHast strips, and I found those to be almost as bad as the paper ones. The best way to learn about water is to go to brunwater.com and read the water knowledge page.

Campden will not affect your numbers. If you don't notice a taste difference using them, it means that your water is low enough in chlorine that you don't need them.
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Offline Richard

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2023, 12:33:15 pm »
The time when pH is most important is during the mash, where the enzymes work best within particular pH ranges. It is generally accepted that the mash should be between 5.2 and 5.6 pH (readings taken after cooling the sample down to room temperature). I wouldn't trust the strips very much.  You can get cheap pH meters for under $15: search Amazon for "pH meter". They may not be very accurate, but they are better than the strips. You will need to calibrate a meter before each use.
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Offline spurviance

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2023, 09:38:48 am »
I too went down this same path several years ago.  My efficiencies were poor and I wasn't thrilled with the flavor of my first few beers.  Once I started using a brewing water spreadsheet to target a water profile and pH my beers immediately improved in both flavor and efficiency.  I found that the pH strips were useless, as mentioned above, and the cheap pH meters were a pain in the butt to calibrate.  After 5 or 6 beers where I found the pH readings were nearly identical to my calculated projections I began to trust the water spreadsheets and tossed my pH meter and have never looked back.
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Offline denny

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2023, 11:39:06 am »
I too went down this same path several years ago.  My efficiencies were poor and I wasn't thrilled with the flavor of my first few beers.  Once I started using a brewing water spreadsheet to target a water profile and pH my beers immediately improved in both flavor and efficiency.  I found that the pH strips were useless, as mentioned above, and the cheap pH meters were a pain in the butt to calibrate.  After 5 or 6 beers where I found the pH readings were nearly identical to my calculated projections I began to trust the water spreadsheets and tossed my pH meter and have never looked back.

Same here.  Once I verified that Bru'nwater's pH predictions were spot on, I stopped checking
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Online BrewBama

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PH reading
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2023, 11:58:56 am »
I actually took pH readings in my last brew this year after not using the pH meter in ~ a year. Yep, still the same …so I guess I can check the last brew of next year
« Last Edit: January 11, 2024, 08:49:49 pm by BrewBama »

Offline Richard

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2023, 01:50:43 pm »
I agree that Bru'n Water is great, but it is a bit complicated for most people, and the pH check provides nice feedback that you are calculating things properly for beginning users. Once you have built up your confidence you only need to do a spot check now and then, provided your water source is stable.

I find that my source water has two distinct profiles: most of the year the pH is 9.3 and my Bru'n Water predictions are spot on because they are based on a Ward Labs test of that water. Sometimes in the winter the water changes and the pH is 8.6 and I find that I need to add more acid to hit the target range. There is no way to tell in advance which water I have other than to measure the pH, and once I have the meter out and calibrated I might as well measure the mash pH during the brew.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2023, 09:35:52 pm »

I find that my source water has two distinct profiles: most of the year the pH is 9.3 and my Bru'n Water predictions are spot on because they are based on a Ward Labs test of that water. Sometimes in the winter the water changes and the pH is 8.6 and I find that I need to add more acid to hit the target range. There is no way to tell in advance which water I have

There actually is a way to know and it’s a fairly simple test. If your water varies like this, get an aquarium test kit for Alkalinity. That’s the parameter that most directly affects mashing pH. It’s a quick, easy, and cheap test.
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Offline House Of Ales

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2024, 11:39:37 am »
I am a simple homebrewer. I have never checked ph or tested water. I recently started using a hydrometer because I am curious about the alcohol content. And I first brewed back in 98.

Offline denny

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2024, 12:01:39 pm »
I am a simple homebrewer. I have never checked ph or tested water. I recently started using a hydrometer because I am curious about the alcohol content. And I first brewed back in 98.

Same year I started. I'm simple also, but I like to be informed. I found that paying attention to water matters a lot for some styles, not so much for others.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline Richard

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2024, 12:58:32 pm »

I find that my source water has two distinct profiles: most of the year the pH is 9.3 and my Bru'n Water predictions are spot on because they are based on a Ward Labs test of that water. Sometimes in the winter the water changes and the pH is 8.6 and I find that I need to add more acid to hit the target range. There is no way to tell in advance which water I have

There actually is a way to know and it’s a fairly simple test. If your water varies like this, get an aquarium test kit for Alkalinity. That’s the parameter that most directly affects mashing pH. It’s a quick, easy, and cheap test.

Thanks for the tip, Martin. I will get some test strips. If I catch my water in a high alkalinity state I might take a sample and send it to Ward Labs so I have a better idea of what all the differences are.
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Offline House Of Ales

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2024, 02:06:03 pm »


Same year I started. I'm simple also, but I like to be informed. I found that paying attention to water matters a lot for some styles, not so much for others.
[/quote]


It’s good to be informed. I don’t brew true to style anyway so a lot of it doesn’t really matter to me. I pretty much brew my own version of a style.  I guess I would say I’m not that serious about it. As long as the beer tastes good I’m fine with it.

Offline joelv

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2024, 05:16:06 pm »
OK, so I will start by saying I have very little knowledge on this at all. I bought some of those test strips that shows PH as just a fun attempt at seeing where I am. After the boil I tested my PH using one of those test strips. It seemed to be the color of about 6. After doing some more reading, I have found this to be a bit on the high side. Of course with that said, I have also read those strips are not the most reliable to use either, but they were cheap and I figured why not give it a try. Just a bit more info on this brew. I forgot to add the Campden tab in the water before I started, just a brain fart on my part. I have used them in the last few brews so I am wondering if that might have affected the numbers? But, when I first started I did not use them and I don't notice anything different than what I am getting now. Also, I overshot my OG by about .005 from 1.049 to 1.054. I did not think that was a big deal, and to be honest I am a bit happy because that means I got more out of the mash than I expected. I set my efficiency at about 71% I think, so maybe I am in the 75% area? Also, I transferred the grains to a cooler and soaked them in 170 water for about 15 mins and transferred that into my boil kettle as well to make my total pre boil water amount about 7 gallons or so.  I am trying to wade in the baby pool of water chemistry, and I figure the PH side of it is the best place to start. Any input is welcomed.
If you are using municipal water instead of a well, the Camden should clear out chlorine or chloramine. It doesn’t really do much with pH or anything else.

I believe knowing your water content is worth the lab test (or call to your municipality if needed). I live in the upper midwest and have water from a well that is decently high in bicarbonates. Without acid adjustments, most of my mashes are out of the optimal range. I don’t measure with a ph meter, but use bru n water for calculations based on my water profile and cutting it with store bought RO water. I still need some acid in anything that isn’t a stout.

In my experience, your water does impact flavor. Chlorine and chloramine are easy to taste as phenols in the finished product. It’s easy to treat with a little campden if you have treated water. Beyond that, knowing your water content by paying for a $30 yo $40 lab test (if needed) can tell you a lot about what you are starting with, and allow for adjustments as needed.


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Offline brewthru

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2024, 03:21:53 pm »
A couple of years ago I bought a nice pH meter. Every brewday go thru all the calibration. Ensure the sample(s) are room temp. Only to discover the pH readings are very close each time. From that point I simply add the same amount of lactic acid to the mash and I'm good to go.

Offline denny

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Re: PH reading
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2024, 03:35:25 pm »
A couple of years ago I bought a nice pH meter. Every brewday go thru all the calibration. Ensure the sample(s) are room temp. Only to discover the pH readings are very close each time. From that point I simply add the same amount of lactic acid to the mash and I'm good to go.

That works great as long as you always brew the same recipe
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell