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Old 02-16-2014, 09:55 PM   #1
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Default Some Questions on Ph Meters

I have been brewing for about 10 years; all grain the last 7 or so, and am looking to work on the Ph of my mash. I have obtained a water report from Ward labs, and have been using the Colorphast brand of Ph test strips to test the Ph of my mash, but I'm not sure I'm getting accurate readings. Everything seems low based on the expected Ph I have set up using the EZ Water Calculator. For example, what should be around 5.4 based on the additions I m making per the Calculator, seems to be just under 5 based on the test strips. Part of the problem is that the strips are reading hot wort and not room temperature wort, but I'm not really sure how much this affects the reading. I'm thinking a meter with ATC would help with this issue. I'm looking at the Hanna Phep that Morebeer sells. Does anyone have experience with this? Any other recommendations?

Assuming you are using a meter and need to adjust the Ph of the mash after you dough in, how much time do you have to make adjustments before the original Ph adversely affects the wort? For example, do the adjustments need to be made in the first 2 or 3 minutes or is there some other time frame? I am generally focused for at least 5 or 7 minutes on getting the temperature of the wort right and could then focus on the Ph, which means it could be around 15 minutes after doughing in before the Ph is corrected.

My water is very soft, so I am almost always adjusting down. If I have to adjust in the mash, it seems the best way to do this would be to add a little bit of lactic acid instead of trying to put together a mixture of additional salts.

Thanks in advance for any guidance.


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Old 02-17-2014, 02:03 AM   #2
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I think you'll find the pH meter much more of an exact instrument than strips. I feel like most of the pen type meters are all pretty much interchangeable made in China deals. I make temp and pH at the same time but truthfully, Bru'n water gets me close almost every time.

I use lactic to acidify and baking soda to go the other way.

Interestingly, I have soft water too but I usually worry more about the pH being too low than too high. Maybe I brew darker beers than you.

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Old 02-17-2014, 02:33 AM   #3
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You might want to check out the brewing water primer sticky be adelange. I found it pretty informative.

Like you, I used test strips for a while but got to the point I just didn't have any confidence in the results. I bought a Phep meter and all the test/storage solutions. I've used it during one brewing session and, so far at least, it seems easy to use and accurate. You do need to calibrate every time you use it but it's not that big of a deal.

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Old 02-17-2014, 02:42 AM   #4
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I bought a $12.00 meter on Amazon. Works great.

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Old 02-17-2014, 03:25 AM   #5
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Anyone else had experience with the $12 meter? I'm definitely interested in that price!

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Old 02-17-2014, 03:45 AM   #6
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You get what you pay for. Most will say to get a digital meter accurate to .02 that has automatic 2-point calibration mode. One other thing to look for is how much the replacement probes cost. Those meters run at around $70, and the replacement probes are around $40.
Personally, I use (use to use) a Hanna Checker meter. I found that if you know your water report, and enter in to a good water profile program like Brewer's Friend, it will tell you exactly what your PH will be... very accurate, and since my PH meter recently went wonky, I just trust the calculator.


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