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.