Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Brew Science > Proper use of PH test strips?
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:25 PM   #21
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I realize this is an old thread, but mabey someone has some new info on ph strips, no one mentions testing the water before the boil! I have read that your water should test at 5.4 for ales and 6.5-7 for darker beers. Is this correct? I have some spring water from 2 different sources and want to test it. Going to wal-mart to see if they sell generic strips.


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Old 03-17-2013, 04:46 PM   #22
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It is, in general, true that if you treat your water with acid to the point that it reaches mash pH (5.4 - 5.6 at room temperature) that you have automatically taken care of the alkalinity of the water. It does not mean that you have taken care of the alkalinity or acidity of the grist. In most cases some additional acid will be needed to prevent the grain from hauling the mash pH back up but in some cases (darker beers though not all dark beers will require it) alkali is needed to neutralize the acidity of the grain. The best bet, of course, is to arrange things so that the pH of the mash (water and grist combined) is correct.


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Old 11-18-2013, 03:55 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCCOLA View Post
Here's a pic of my strips after being dipped in wort which read 5.6 on my calibrated digital pH meter.
That's all i freaking got tonight when I brewed. I'm not sure these strips change color. I kept adding 5.2 stabilizer salts and nothing happened. probably put in an extra half tablespoon that didn't need to be there. OG of my triple was supposed to be 1.077 and I got 1.070. After three brews of freaking frustrating strips. I've just about convinced myself to buy a digital PH meter. screw the strips!
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:27 PM   #24
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I ended up buying a Hanna Digital pocket meter and it's been ok. It does tend to drift slightly, but it's stable enough for homebrewing IMO. I don't use it on every batch, I sometimes forget or just don't want to mess with it. If I'm prepared well ahead of time it is quick and easy to use. I just calibrate it as soon as I mash in, then pull a small stainless or glass cup (shot glass) out of the fridge and pour some wort into it. Just a moment after that the sample is down to proper temp and I take a reading. I'm usually testing at about 10 minutes after mashing in. Maybe slightly more depending on how fast the thing decides to accept the calibration solutions. Sometimes it takes it a minute or two.
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Old 11-18-2013, 07:04 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlassCornbread View Post
That's all i freaking got tonight when I brewed. I'm not sure these strips change color. I kept adding 5.2 stabilizer salts and nothing happened. probably put in an extra half tablespoon that didn't need to be there. OG of my triple was supposed to be 1.077 and I got 1.070. After three brews of freaking frustrating strips. I've just about convinced myself to buy a digital PH meter. screw the strips!
I bought those same strips a couple of years ago and had the same issue. If they did change, the wort discolored the tabs and made them impossible to read. You can check to see if the strips change via pH by A) try dipping in vinegar and/or B) make a solution of 1 tsb baking soda in water and dipping then. Those should get you extremes on each side. I found that the strips for my hot tub worked better than these did... and quickly moved over to a pH meter.

As for the 5.2 buffer, like the strips, I tossed it out. Spend any time here on HBT and you will see hundreds of comments negative to 5.2 stabilizer. It just doesn't work... and I used it until I watched it NOT work with my pH meter, because I am stubborn like that.

I suggest reading the Brew Water Chemistry sticky, and follow the recommendations.
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Old 04-04-2014, 01:56 PM   #26
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Yeah, I just wasted money on these strips as well. Does anyone know if they will work to test if my Starsan solution is still good at least? I hate getting sucked into a bad deal, even if it was just for a few bucks. Maybe one day I will find a use for them.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:20 PM   #27
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Star San pH needs to be @ 3.5 so your strips will be useless as they are out of range.


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