Author Topic: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?  (Read 1824 times)

Offline jjflash

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In brewing I thought pH was expressed at room temperature.
As in pH 5.2 is that pH at room temperature of 68 degrees.
However, after reading Gordon Stong's book I now have the impression that pH is always expressed at the operating temperture.

So if I am aiming for a mash pH of 5.2, and at room temp of 68 degrees the pH meter reads 5.2,
I am really incorrectly mashing at a true pH of 4.9 or so?
What is the standard?
 ???
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Offline narvin

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 07:03:05 PM »
It's baffling because it seems to be inconsistent.  Most texts are referencing it at room temperature, and this is how you should be measuring it due to the fact that this is how equipment is calibrated; however, the oft-quoted 5.2 is at mash temperature, I think.  From what I gather, aim for 5.4 - 5.6 at room temp and you're good to go.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 07:04:45 PM »
From what I gather, aim for 5.4 - 5.6 at room temp and you're good to go.

This is my understanding as well. 
Clint
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 07:34:58 PM »
From what I gather, aim for 5.4 - 5.6 at room temp and you're good to go.

This is my understanding as well. 

+1

The samples must be chilled down to room temp prior to taking a reading.
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Offline tom

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 08:17:22 PM »
From what I gather, aim for 5.4 - 5.6 at room temp and you're good to go.

This is my understanding as well. 

+1

The samples must be chilled down to room temp prior to taking a reading.
No they don't.  pH meters have an operating temperature range wherein they are accurate.  The best would be testing at mash temperature, but a lot of pH meters can't be used at those temperatures.
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Offline tygo

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 08:49:00 PM »
Right, testing at mash temperatures would be ideal but would burn most pH electrodes out pretty quickly.  So practically speaking we're usually taking about room temperature pH temps.
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Offline malzig

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2011, 03:35:27 AM »
I don't see any reason or advantage to testing at mash temperature, other than not having to cool the sample.  The target of 5.4 - 5.6 was established at room temp.

If you're using ColorpHast pH strips, they seem to give the same pH at mash temp as at room temp, so you still want to use the 5.4-5.6 range.

Offline tygo

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2011, 03:38:25 AM »
The only advantage I see would be not having to cool the sample down.  It would be easier to take multiple readings throughout the course of the mash.  Colorphast strips probably cool down to room temperature pretty rapidly.
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Offline narvin

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2011, 06:27:31 AM »
I don't see any reason or advantage to testing at mash temperature, other than not having to cool the sample.  The target of 5.4 - 5.6 was established at room temp.

If you're using ColorpHast pH strips, they seem to give the same pH at mash temp as at room temp, so you still want to use the 5.4-5.6 range.

Yes, but to confuse things even more they also seem to skew a little bit low, so you can aim for 5.1 - 5.3  :)

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php/An_Evaluation_of_the_suitability_of_colorpHast_strips_for_pH_measurements_in_home_brewing
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Offline colinhayes

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2011, 08:37:08 AM »
So I'm a Physicist rather than a Chemist and don't know these things, but pH is the concentration of hydrogen ions in solution, and shouldn't that stay the same as temp increases?  Or does it respond inhomogeneously to temperature increase and effectively affect the concentration when heated?

Offline SpanishCastleAle

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2011, 09:06:08 AM »
So I'm a Physicist rather than a Chemist and don't know these things, but pH is the concentration of hydrogen ions in solution, and shouldn't that stay the same as temp increases?  Or does it respond inhomogeneously to temperature increase and effectively affect the concentration when heated?

Per Kaiser's Overview of pH article:

Quote
When the pH of a sample is measured it is also important to know the temperature of the sample. This is important for 2 reasons. The temperature of the sample affects its H+ concentration and therefore its pH. This is the result of changing H+ and OH- dissociation balances in the sample and is substrate specific.

Offline tom

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2011, 10:56:43 AM »
So I'm a Physicist rather than a Chemist and don't know these things, but pH is the concentration of hydrogen ions in solution, and shouldn't that stay the same as temp increases?  Or does it respond inhomogeneously to temperature increase and effectively affect the concentration when heated?
Increased heat provides more energy for dissociation I guess.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2011, 11:11:46 AM »
From what I gather, aim for 5.4 - 5.6 at room temp and you're good to go.

This is my understanding as well.  

+1

The samples must be chilled down to room temp prior to taking a reading.
No they don't.  pH meters have an operating temperature range wherein they are accurate.  The best would be testing at mash temperature, but a lot of pH meters can't be used at those temperatures.

Perhaps must is not appropriate, but the actual values will be skewed at increased temps and manufacturers recommend sampling at room temp. So let me correct my statement by saying ideally one should measure mash pH at room temperature or 68F. I use a  Milwaukee MW101 and the manufacturer recommends measuring liquids at room temp and no higher that 130F. I recommend contacting the manufacturer of your specific unit and asking for the recommended range of operating temperatures.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 12:31:49 PM by bluesman »
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2011, 12:27:22 PM »
I have observed my pH meter change values as the temp decreases.  Mash temp gives a pH reading about .2 or .3 lower than the same wort at 70F.  So if you measure the wort at mash temps, which I understand is bad for the probe, you need to adjust the reading higher.  ie a reading of 5.2 at 155F is probably good (but not for the probe).
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Is pH stated at room temperature or operating temperature?
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2011, 12:27:41 PM »
So I'm a Physicist rather than a Chemist and don't know these things, but pH is the concentration of hydrogen ions in solution, and shouldn't that stay the same as temp increases?  Or does it respond inhomogeneously to temperature increase and effectively affect the concentration when heated?


I'm neither, but I monitored the change in pH of a mash-range sample from 80C to 20C with a lab-quality bench pH meter. The pH change versus temperature was fairly linear.  I can't tell you why it happens, but my direct observations are that it is true.
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