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Old 08-24-2013, 06:57 PM   #1
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Default Mash pH?

I'm setting up my mash tun right now and am almost ready to try out AG brewing! I've been doing a lot of reading, and I understand that pH is extremely important in all grain. I may invest in some test strips in the future (not sure if they are overkill), but with this batch I'm considering eyeballing it.

I plan to use 5 gallons of RO water and 2 gallons of Ice Mountaing spring water. I also plan to add in a tsp of gypsum as well as a tsp of calcium chloride to lower the ph. Should this be ok or should I consider more? I understand it's hard to say for sure, I'm trying to get in the right ballpark for now.



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Old 08-25-2013, 12:04 PM   #2
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This thread should answer your questions:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/brewing-water-chemistry-primer-198460/



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Old 08-25-2013, 06:20 PM   #3
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I should have known Yooper would have a great write-up on this. Thanks for sharing!

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Old 08-25-2013, 06:41 PM   #4
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Do read the Primer and follow its advice but do not rely on test strips. It is rather likely that they will read 0.3 pH units low causing you you to panic when you see a reading of pH 5.1 (not good) when in fact the pH is actually 5.4 (where you'd like it to be). OTOH the pH strips may read correctly. Problem is that you don't know when.

If you are going to be serious about brewing with grains then a pH meter is almost a necessity. The guidance of the Primer is broad and the various spreadsheets and calculators while helpful are not very accurate either in some cases. The problem is that you don't know whether you have one of those cases or not.

You will hear lots of comments to the effect 'My strawberry gold Hop Slug amber advanced to mini- BOS in the East Overshoe Open Competition and I never used a pH meter in my life.' So no, you don't absolutely have to have one but your path to good beer will be a lot shorter and you'll see more along the way if you do.

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Old 08-25-2013, 09:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajdelange View Post
Do read the Primer and follow its advice but do not rely on test strips. It is rather likely that they will read 0.3 pH units low causing you you to panic when you see a reading of pH 5.1 (not good) when in fact the pH is actually 5.4 (where you'd like it to be). OTOH the pH strips may read correctly. Problem is that you don't know when.

If you are going to be serious about brewing with grains then a pH meter is almost a necessity. The guidance of the Primer is broad and the various spreadsheets and calculators while helpful are not very accurate either in some cases. The problem is that you don't know whether you have one of those cases or not.

You will hear lots of comments to the effect 'My strawberry gold Hop Slug amber advanced to mini- BOS in the East Overshoe Open Competition and I never used a pH meter in my life.' So no, you don't absolutely have to have one but your path to good beer will be a lot shorter and you'll see more along the way if you do.
I am considering getting a pH meter, I'm a little concerned about cost though. I did some reading and it sounds fairly expensive to maintain and they don't last long. Given I brew once a month on average, it's hard to justify. Maybe I'll see if some friends want to all go in on one
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:57 PM   #6
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It is true that a good meter is quite expensive but adequate ones can be had for under $100. The maintenance for these is minimal and modern ones seems to last for up to 3 years. Many of them have replaceable electrodes even at the low price point though the cost of a replacement electrode is often 80% of the cost of a new meter.

Other than the electrode you need some DI water for rinsing, two buffers (4 and 7) and some electrode storage solution. These are all relatively inexpensive.

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Old 08-25-2013, 11:13 PM   #7
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I should have known Yooper would have a great write-up on this. Thanks for sharing!
I did NOT write that!!!!!!! It was 100% AJ deLange's effort. I only posted it for him when he had it done. I would follow his advice, as he's the expert.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:36 PM   #8
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Not to thread jack, but where can I get some DI water for rinsing? Can I also use DI water for storage, or do I need storage-specific solution?

The closest I've come in my limited searching locally is steam-distilled water.

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Old 08-26-2013, 10:16 PM   #9
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Ideally you'll want to pick up storage solution, cleaning solution and ph 4.01 and 7.01 buffer solutions. (There are some packages that include them all on Amazon for $45 - $75.)

I find the 4.01 and 7.01 sachets to be incredibly annoying and you're definitely only going to use them once, so I prefer getting the larger bottles of the ph buffer solutions.


Despite keeping my ph probe stored in storage solution in only slightly over a year my probe is having "issues" and is taking a VERY long time to calibrate; I'm waiting for cleaning solution to show up but based on some other things I've read, I'm hoping that this resolves my issues because the maintenance costs on this thing are far more than I'd like to spend otherwise...


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Old 08-26-2013, 11:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeInMKE View Post
Not to thread jack, but where can I get some DI water for rinsing? Can I also use DI water for storage, or do I need storage-specific solution?

The closest I've come in my limited searching locally is steam-distilled water.
Distilled water is fine for rinsing. It is pretty close to DI, closer than RO.

You should use distilled water for storage only if the manufacturer of your electrode recommends it which isn't likely as most will want you to use a saturated solution of potassium chloride perhaps buffered. Do what the manufacturer recommends.

There are some tips on the use and calibration of pH meters at
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/ph-meter-calibration-302256/


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