pH meter

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Re: pH meter

Postby ScottK on Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:56 am

Thanks Brad and Chris. RO was a direction I was intending to go eventually and perhaps I'll focus on that rather than the pH testing.
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Re: pH meter

Postby bwarbiany on Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:19 am

ScottK wrote:Thanks Brad and Chris. RO was a direction I was intending to go eventually and perhaps I'll focus on that rather than the pH testing.


I'd go for it as soon as you can. SoCal water is not very good.

I feel like I had gotten my process pretty well dialed in and was producing pretty darn good beer after ~9 years of brewing. Going to RO at that time was an immediate and noticeable improvement to me. It made that much of a difference, and really put things "over the top" in my opinion.
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Re: pH meter

Postby JonW on Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:14 pm

bwarbiany wrote:I'd go for it as soon as you can. SoCal water is not very good.


I don't think you can make that as a blanket statement about all SoCal water. My water in HB is pretty darn good. Ours is pulled from underground wells and even water that gets imported is pushed into the aquifer and then pulled back out as needed - thus it ends up with similar mineral content. Every time I checked my ph, I was right around 5.2 without any additions.

As the next step in the evolution of my brewing, I've been thinking about going to RO for about 2 years and just never pulled the trigger - mostly because I'd need 50-60 gallons of RO for each brew day. After a recent discussion with Trevor at RIIP about their water (same wells as me), I've decided to not pursue RO for now. They use the well water passed through carbon/coconut filters and do minimal additions. I can't argue with their results.
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Re: pH meter

Postby bwarbiany on Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:06 pm

Fair enough... South OC water isn't that good for brewing, though.
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Re: pH meter

Postby ctninh on Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:27 pm

So Cal water may be inconsistent due to the varying sources. It is best to have a well source since those are more consistent over time. Even with having the water reports, some counties may test water once a year to give "representative" values. Talking to people in the environmental water industry, they note that it really depends on where you live, time of year, whether it rained recently, and other factors.

For homebrewers, a pH may be too much of a hassle since you need the storage solutions and calibration buffers. There is also the calibration step to ensure you get accurate readings. Probes will drift over time. For example, they read 4.00 for fresh pH 4 buffer right after calibration but may read something like 4.04 the day after. The readings are in magnitudes of H+ ions, so every bit of a number counts (similar to the earthquake Richter scale).

It may be more of a benefit for sour brewers, although I have no experience in that area. Keep in mind that a pH 3.5 lactic acid solution tastes a lot different than a pH 3.5 acetic acid solution. Even with the same pH values, acetic acid is sharper. You can look into titratable acidity (TA). That's more lab stuff and should be no interest for people who don't want to look into pH meters. But for beer drinkers, check out Firestone Walker beers since they have a TA value on their labels. Keep in mind TA may change over time.

As for getting pH meters for homebrewers, its better to know how to use the numbers. Why do more work if you don't know what to do with data? Too many factors play into pH already: water profile, malt (variety, amounts, year/season it's grown, microbe contamination, yeast activity, and autolysis are to name a bunch. If you can account for some of those things with a pH value, then go buy one. else, its a good reference number to have.
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