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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > ph meter or thermapen?
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:08 PM   #1
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Default ph meter or thermapen?

Which one would you rather have?
So I counted my jar of spare change. Decided to spend it on brewing stuff. I've been thinking about a ph meter for some time now because of off flavors and low efficiency in some of my lighter beers. I have been using bottled RO from the grocery store thinking my tap water is inconsistent (not likely, but w/out a Ward labs water report I'm kind of blind. City report is incomplete).
On the other hand, if I just start using a water calculator/spreadsheet with the RO then that should get me at least in the right ballpark right?
I use 2 different thermometers, one Taylor digital, one old school mercury that came with my original brewing equipment 8yrs ago. They are never the same even in icewater and boiling (digital reads 208-210 @ boiling, 30-32 in icewater)
Anyways, I'm gonna buy one or the other, just wondering what smarter people than me think.


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Old 10-24-2013, 01:11 PM   #2
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I'd vote thermapen since you can use pH strips to help dial in on your mash pH in the interim (but trying to adjust for two thermometers that are off by different amounts is a bit harder.)


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Old 10-24-2013, 01:15 PM   #3
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it would depend on what problems you're trying to solve.

if you are consistent and happy with fermentability then I would go with pH meter. wort temp can obviously effect efficiency but if its only lighter beers then it could be a pH issue.
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:19 PM   #4
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thermapen is one of the more useful(not just in brewing) and important brewing tools I own.

PH meter is practically worthless. Using a spreadsheet like bru'n water with RO water will get you as close as you need to be.

Also, room temp PH does not equal mash temp PH, and using a PH meter at mash temps is bad for it's longevity.
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:22 PM   #5
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Are you a big cook/griller? If so, I'd say Thermapen because you'll get a ton of use out of it in the kitchen and on the grill. If not, then go for the pH meter and one of thermoworks' less expensive, but perfectly suitable thermometers.
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:24 PM   #6
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as i understand it, mash pH is always taken at room temperature. and any ranges you see should be given at room temperature as well.

saying a pH meter is worthless is pretty shortsighted in my opinion. Especially since the OP is using tap water with an incomplete report.
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motobrewer View Post
as i understand it, mash pH is always taken at room temperature. and any ranges you see should be given at room temperature as well.

saying a pH meter is worthless is pretty shortsighted in my opinion. Especially since the OP is using tap water with an incomplete report.
The OP has been using RO water.
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:44 PM   #8
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thermapen!
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:49 PM   #9
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pH meter!
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:54 PM   #10
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Thermapen is handy. You could also pick up some lactic acid and experiment if you think you have ph issues.


Though honestly, if your main concern is efficiency, then your grain crush and mash equipment/process should be looked at thoroughly.


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