pH meter

Any hardware used for mashing, fermenting or aging.

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Corkdork
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pH meter

Post by Corkdork » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:21 am

What are all ya' all's recommendations for an accurate (enough) pH meter????

Chucker
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Re: pH meter

Post by Chucker » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:36 am

I think I can help you with this but I don’t have time right now. I can reply in detail later this evening or tomorrow, though.

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jonnys_spirit
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Re: pH meter

Post by jonnys_spirit » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:43 am

Most any cheap amazon meter will do. Order some storage solution and calibration solutions so you can calibrate it. I've got an amazon cheapie and a higher quality Vinmetrica that also tests for SO2 (which may be useful) and TA that I purchased for wine making.
https://morewinemaking.com/products/vin ... r-kit.html



I rarely use these for stillin though. If you're doing sugar washes it might be more helpful to troubleshoot pH crashes.

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Saltbush Bill
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Re: pH meter

Post by Saltbush Bill » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:01 am

Some people seem to think a ph meter is nessasary.....others seem to manage well without ever owning one.

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Re: pH meter

Post by Corkdork » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:14 am

Thanks all!

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Yummyrum
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Re: pH meter

Post by Yummyrum » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:41 am

Get three .
Then you will have fun comparing all their readings and wonder which one is right . .... or is it wrong .
My two sit on the shelf now .

Now if you think you can whip one out , dip it in and read it , forget it .
As mentiond , they need to be stored in a storage solution . They need to be calibrated each time you use them . They need to be cleaned afterwards and stored correctly .

As most times , folk want to use them at the end if fermentation when it had become quite acidic , this is towards the end of the lower pH range and although the cheaper ones have a calibration solution which adjusts the middle ( pH7 ) , the ends pH 1 and 14 can be way off with a reading of 3 could be anything from 2-4 in reality .

So if you want accurate readings , you should look at ones with a three point calibration method .... but you need to spend time before use getting it right .

Another thing to realise is that you can’t just dip it in and believe the number. PH probes aren’t instantaneous . You need to dip it in and stir-it around for at least 20 seconds before the Ion transfer in the bulb becomes stable .

As the probe gets old, the transfer time gets longer , so you might find that a two or three year old probe takes a minute or two to stabilise .

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Re: pH meter

Post by Setsumi » Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:32 pm

problem with pH on sugar washes is a low pH. on all grain and enzymes it is where the enzymes is happy, pH5?

BUT without a pH meter do the following.
on sugar washes make sure of nutrients and buffer pH with something that will adjust according to the need, oyster shells or caulk.. on all grain gelatinizing is more important than pH.... or so i believe.

measuring is important but often the number measured is past rectification...
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Saltbush Bill
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Re: pH meter

Post by Saltbush Bill » Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:37 pm

Thanks for that information Yummy.
As someone who has never owned or used a PH meter I found that very interesting.
From that read it seems that unless conditions and use are 100% perfect the readings they give can be way off target.

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tubbsy
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Re: pH meter

Post by tubbsy » Thu Oct 15, 2020 1:28 pm

We regularly read pH on solutions at work, and yes, calibrating frequently is required. We have the solution in a beaker sitting on a magnetic stir plate to ensure accurate results. And that is after we spend AU$1200 on the pH meter itself.

IMO, the cheap pH meters from eBay, Amazon and the like are no more accurate than pH strips.

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Re: misuratore di pH

Post by Demy » Thu Oct 15, 2020 1:48 pm

I have a very common and inexpensive pH measurer that I also use for beer, I believe that for our purposes it is sufficient, calibration is enough every now and then. My opinion is that we don't need to spend a lot on our hobby level. I confess that when I ferment fruit I don't even measure it except very acidic oranges.

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Re: pH meter

Post by Chucker » Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:28 am

PH is a very subtle measurement and very often nebulous. Even a well cared for, well calibrated probe will often provide results differing from others. They also don’t last forever, even when stored properly. I rely on accurate pH measurements for some work stuff and have found all of the little self-contained digital models to be insufficiently reliable, or calibrated well enough to be repeatable. There is a reason why a lab grade instrument starts at about $750.
For a more reliable, basic range check that only needs to be “close enough” there are one or two tests that use a multi-colored plastic strip. I believe these are from Whatman and are known as Color pHast. A box will run about $10 or so. These should not be confused with the little roll of paper tape from Hydrion which is useless.
If you insist on a meter and probe I have found a good one from Hannah Labs called the Halo. They are fully calibratable and read via a free app for either iOS or Android, but they run $160 and are only available from Hannah via their website. I use these for work and they are great.
I don’t have a meter or other indicator at home. I acidify my mash with a cup of vinegar per keg of water and use oyster shell to provide some slow buffer during the enzyme phase. Adding gypsum when yeast is pitched helps prevent the ph crash as fermentation speeds up. I did check ph once before sourcing some gypsum and it was quite low. This was also apparent from the sour flavor. I’ve not checked since using gypsum but the wash does not taste sour as it ferments out dry.

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Re: pH meter

Post by bluefish_dist » Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:55 pm

Milwaukee 102 meter. IMHO one of the best tools I bought for my fermentations. The other was temperature control. I found ph was very important in my process and getting it right helped with yield and fermentation time. I would pitch at 5.2 to 5.4, would adjust buffering to get it to be around 4.0 in 24 hours and then hold it to be above 3.8 for the balance of fermentation.

Without the meter I was lost as to why I could not get my washes to finish well. I did find that it made a lot more of a difference when I scaled up my batches. Test batches in the 5 gallon range were not measured and worked fine. 80-110 batches failed badly until I started adjusting ph.
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Yummyrum
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Re: pH meter

Post by Yummyrum » Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:51 pm

Thought this might be of interest .
Got out my two meters and soaked them in tap water for an hour or so .
Calibrated them . This involves putting the tip in the buffer solution and and adjusting a little screw until it reads. 7.0 .
9BEAB974-B098-4494-AF4D-F96469DE55EF.jpeg
9BEAB974-B098-4494-AF4D-F96469DE55EF.jpeg (35.85 KiB) Viewed 289 times
Then I tested my tap water , which is from a rain water tank .
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18341ACC-5E57-47B4-9001-1AC77B66F9AF.jpeg (42.89 KiB) Viewed 289 times
Next , some trub from a sugar wash I did a few weeks ago . ( incidentally , it still has shell grit in the trub)
977EB115-682F-4010-B9C2-C62BC86A2A83.jpeg
977EB115-682F-4010-B9C2-C62BC86A2A83.jpeg (40.25 KiB) Viewed 289 times
Finally , some Dunder from my all molasses Rum . I don’t use any form of pH control .
5C680B5D-7E58-4A71-941F-6B194C74CEFD.jpeg
5C680B5D-7E58-4A71-941F-6B194C74CEFD.jpeg (40.23 KiB) Viewed 289 times
I have to say , the readings were a lot more agreeable than I remember . But how close they are to the real pH I don’t know .

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Re: pH meter

Post by CoogeeBoy » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:35 pm

Yummyrum wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:51 pm
Thought this might be of interest .
Got out my two meters and soaked them in tap water for an hour or so .
Calibrated them . This involves putting the tip in the buffer solution and and adjusting a little screw until it reads. 7.0 .
......
I have to say , the readings were a lot more agreeable than I remember . But how close they are to the real pH I don’t know .
They better be close to the real Ph as I just went to Jaycar and bought one!

BTW are your meters metric or imperial?

:wink:

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Re: pH meter

Post by rockcanyon » Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:23 am

Saltbush Bill wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:37 pm
From that read it seems that unless conditions and use are 100% perfect the readings they give can be way off target.
I have one of these, $20 USD on Amazon. I check it with calibration liquid every time I before I use it. Most of the time it tests within about .1 of what it's supposed to. Occasionally it has been way off and when that has happened I just re-calibrate it, takes only a few seconds. Then it reads the cal liquid right. So, if it reads the cal solution right, is it possible that it is not reading the wort/wash right?
You experienced distillers might not need to check pH, but as someone new to the hobby this device seems helpful and I will probably continue to use it until I get a good feel for how things work.
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Re: pH meter

Post by jonnys_spirit » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:30 am

Once you calibrate it’s nice to confirm pH in the 3.5 range by measuring a saturated solution of cream of tartar which has a pH of 3.55. This is generally a very useful range to confirm for wines.

https://vinmetrica.com/wp-content/uploa ... chment.pdf
5. Cream of Tartar test: measure the pH of a saturated solution of cream of tartar which has a pH of 3.55 at 25 °C.
a) Get pure cream of tartar powder (grocery store stuff is fine, provided it’s pure and not too old), or reagent grade potassium hydrogen tartrate, also known as potassium acid tartrate or potassium bitartrate. Call it KHT for short.
b) Place about 1/4 teaspoon of KHT in 20 mL of distilled water. Mix well for about 30 seconds. You want to be sure the solution is saturated, i.e., everything that can dissolve, has dissolved. There should be some undissolved solid left.
c) Decant or filter the solution off the solids.
d) This solution has a standard pH of 3.55 at 25 degrees C (78 °F). The calibrated pH
electrode should measure within 0.05 pH of this value at temperatures from 20 to 30 °C. Discard the solution after 24 hours.
If the above tests confirm a problem, you can try some of the cleaning tricks in step 6-12 below. If the pH electrode seems to be OK, try “Checking and adjusting the i
Cheers!
-jonny
————
i make stuff i break stuff
water into whiskey into water
just getting started in home distilling - been drinking for decades
16g copper pot still, 10l alembic, and a column or two
————

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Yummyrum
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Re: pH meter

Post by Yummyrum » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:28 pm

jonnys_spirit wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:30 am
Once you calibrate it’s nice to confirm pH in the 3.5 range by measuring a saturated solution of cream of tartar which has a pH of 3.55. This is generally a very useful range to confirm for wines.
Brilliant jonny . :thumbup: always learning something new here .
rockcanyon wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:23 am
. So, if it reads the cal solution right, is it possible that it is not reading the wort/wash right?
That can be the case with single point calibration meters . Although you get the middle right ( pH7) , the ends ( pH 1 and 14) can be quite out .
This is why the three point calibration meters are more accurate , because you are calibrating the middle and each end against a known buffer solution .

I work in a lab and we have several pH meters ranging from single point , dual point and three point calibration . When you have a variety of meters all measuring the same solution , you become aware of how much they can vary .

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Re: pH meter

Post by rockcanyon » Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:28 am

Do the calibration solutions have a shelf life once they are mixed up? I do always shake mine up before using. And store in a glass jar with mason lid.
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Re: pH meter

Post by Simple Sam » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:26 am

What kind of water are you using for the test solution? I havent been able to find deionized water as per the instructions.
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Re: pH meter

Post by still_stirrin » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:33 am

Simple Sam wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:26 am
What kind of water are you using for the test solution? I havent been able to find deionized water as per the instructions.
Here: https://www.chemworld.com/Deionized-Wat ... gKX3fD_BwE


Deionized water is a type of drink which removed all of its ions, and it has no charge. It can be created by taking conventional water and letting it exposed to electrically charged resins that will bind and attract to salts, and remove them from the water.

When it comes to distilled water vs. deionized water, both are very pure. In each case, however, the purity of the water before it goes through the water treatment makes a difference. The deionization process, for example, only removes ions – charged non-organic particles – from the water. The water should be filtered first to remove organic material, and additional filtering with a reverse osmosis (RO) system will remove a significant number of additional contaminants. This leaves only a small amount of ionized minerals for the DI system to remove.

Water distillation, on the other hand, can remove more impurities than just ions. This process removes nearly all minerals, many chemicals, and most bacteria. That doesn't mean that it removes everything, however, especially if the water contains volatile organics and certain other contaminants. These impurities will evaporate and stay in the distilled water. As with deionized water, pre-treatment filtering is an important step.
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Re: pH meter

Post by Simple Sam » Sat Nov 21, 2020 9:13 pm

Thanks for that, but I was asking if you use deionized water and if so where do you get it? I know what the difference is between the two.
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Re: pH meter

Post by howie » Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:11 pm

rockcanyon wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:23 am
Saltbush Bill wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 12:37 pm
From that read it seems that unless conditions and use are 100% perfect the readings they give can be way off target.
I have one of these, $20 USD on Amazon. I check it with calibration liquid every time I before I use it. Most of the time it tests within about .1 of what it's supposed to. Occasionally it has been way off and when that has happened I just re-calibrate it, takes only a few seconds. Then it reads the cal liquid right. So, if it reads the cal solution right, is it possible that it is not reading the wort/wash right?
You experienced distillers might not need to check pH, but as someone new to the hobby this device seems helpful and I will probably continue to use it until I get a good feel for how things work.
image.png
got one of those too.
keep the 3 x calibration liquids in mason jars, easy to calibrate.
the calibration can go slightly off within the hour, wildly off over days.
i have been using it to monitor some rum washes, i've been having a few problems with them.
just for experience the other day, i used it on a couple of FFV washes before & after adding citric acid.
it will probably gather dust when i sort my methods out :)

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