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Old 12-08-2010, 04:15 PM   #21
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... but if you HAVE a pH meter, why on earth wouldn't you use it on every batch just to check? Seems to me that would be like saying, "I've brewed this recipe a half-dozen times before, I'm not going to break out the refractomer/hydrometer this time." I mean, you'll likely be fine, likely be within the expected range, but why have the tool if you're not going to use it?

I'm also not sure whether the probes degrade over time (with or without use), or whether they only degrade when actually being used.
Because if it's not necessary, i'm not buying all the related nonsense forever, like probe cleaner, testing solution, probe storage solution.......

Hydrometers are cheap.

Hopefully Aj will chime in on this.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:45 PM   #22
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I'm not sure if it's more like a hydrometer (in that efficiency/boil-off/etc can vary so your OG can vary) or more like an Iodine test for conversion (in that, after what seemed like 100 consecutive tests without one ever failing I just stopped doing them). I thought remilard once said that he had done a bunch of test/adjustments and after a while pretty much knew where the pH would be for certain mashes.

IMO it really comes down to personal preference. It's not really necessary (nor is a hydrometer really). Some of us like the geekery end of it to varying degrees while others are more into building fully automated structures or whatever (and everything in between). I do the latter at work (work with tanks/pumps/etc) and strive to avoid it at home but like the geekery end of it to some small degree. So I turn my barley crusher by hand and ladle wort with a saucepot but (will soon) measure mash pH with a shiny new pH meter.

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Old 12-08-2010, 04:52 PM   #23
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So I turn my barley crusher by hand and ladle wort with a saucepot but (will soon) measure mash pH with a shiny new pH meter.
Caveman.

I want as much control as possible over every single aspect of brewing. That's why I had my water tested, that's why I have a dedicated water filter, that's why I eventually bought a ph meter. As anal as I am, I wonder about the necessity of checking 20 similar recipes, when you know what the ph will be.

Having said this, i've only done 3 batches with my meter, and plan to do many, many more before I would even consider not checking it.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:58 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by SpanishCastleAle View Post
I'm not sure if it's more like a hydrometer (in that efficiency/boil-off/etc can vary so your OG can vary) or more like an Iodine test for conversion (in that, after what seemed like 100 consecutive tests without one ever failing I just stopped doing them). I thought remilard once said that he had done a bunch of test/adjustments and after a while pretty much knew where the pH would be for certain mashes.

IMO it really comes down to personal preference. It's not really necessary (nor is a hydrometer really). Some of us like the geekery end of it to varying degrees while others are more into building fully automated structures or whatever (and everything in between). I do the latter at work (work with tanks/pumps/etc) and strive to avoid it at home but like the geekery end of it to some small degree. So I turn my barley crusher by hand and ladle wort with a saucepot but (will soon) measure mash pH with a shiny new pH meter.
Yes, after a dozen or so batches with the meter it got to where I am close enough more often than not that I make no adjustments. If I am not making the same recipe that I have checked with the meter before, I have often brewed something with a similar grain bill. That said I am surprised from time to time and I do always measure pH (I'm an actuary though, I probably like numbers more than is healthy).

I also measure the fermenting and finished beer pH. It's been fun and educational and I don't regret spending the $100ish I've spent on the meter and enough calibration and storage materials to use it for about a year and a half.

If you read all the threads about people freaking about about lag time (to visible krausen) I would think just the piece of mind from being able to check pH several hours after pitching before you go to bed and see that the yeast are active (as evidenced by lowered pH indicating organic acid production) would be worth it for many people.
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:02 PM   #25
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Just curious. For those of you who have used pH meters, did you find that your mashes were significantly off and if so, what adjustments have you made?

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Old 12-08-2010, 05:08 PM   #26
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Just curious. For those of you who have used pH meters, did you find that your mashes were significantly off and if so, what adjustments have you made?
That has a lot to do with your water profile. I now make very little adjustments salt wise, but I have good brewing water to start with.
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:14 PM   #27
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I'm an actuary though, I probably like numbers more than is healthy.
Ha, that explains a lot (my dad was/is an actuary, kids love free confetti ).

I measured every beer I drank last night just for ****s and grins.
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