PH Meter

While Beer is 90-97% water, it is a very tricky subject.

PH Meter

Postby Kloorob » Tue Jul 14, 2015 09:08

Hi, I read with intrigue the recent post on water chemistry for brewing, and hence I have started using a Salifert test kit to check out the Alkalinity, but now I would like to buy a PH Meter to check my mash ph.

As there are several options that I can take (cheap or expensive and brand) can therefore help me out and kindly give me your recommendations on a which suitable PH Meter to get?

Thanks.
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Re: PH Meter

Postby NickW » Tue Jul 14, 2015 09:51

As recommended by aleman to pittsy and then pittsy to myself...

http://m.rapidonline.com/Catalogue/Product/51-5153

You will need to buy buffer solutions
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Re: PH Meter

Postby Mr. Dripping » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:05

I'm using the Voltcraft one and I've been happy with it.....the only negative I can mention is that if you don't hold he probe steady the reading jumps around quite a bit.
Whatever you go with, I would advise getting one with a replaceable probe.
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Re: PH Meter

Postby AltonAnt » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:34

I have a £5 China special from Amazon and it appears to work fine. I expect it to last only a year or two which is fine for me.
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Re: PH Meter

Postby CraftyTim » Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:27

Ive been using this one for a couple of years now, I don't bother storing it properly and calibrate it every couple of months or so and its working great, quite expensive and the probes are also expensive to replace. It'll be interesting to see how long it goes before I have to replace the probe. I also test other waters on a frequent basis so it's used for more than just brewing so I get my money's worth.

http://www.hannainstruments.co.uk/pocke ... tAodZRsOSA

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Re: PH Meter

Postby krazypara3165 » Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:29

AltonAnt wrote:I have a £5 China special from Amazon and it appears to work fine. I expect it to last only a year or two which is fine for me.


how accurate is it? I had one for my aquarium but found it to be way, way off.

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Re: PH Meter

Postby AltonAnt » Tue Jul 14, 2015 13:07

krazypara3165 wrote:
AltonAnt wrote:I have a £5 China special from Amazon and it appears to work fine. I expect it to last only a year or two which is fine for me.


how accurate is it? I had one for my aquarium but found it to be way, way off.


I have nothing to measure it against but it is usually a point or two out when calibrating and my mash pH has been within a point or two of what I have been expecting. As you can see I only really use as a sanity check which it is OK for.
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Re: PH Meter

Postby AFewTooMany » Tue Jul 14, 2015 22:41

Anybody used one of these? Cheapest 0.01 resolution I could find

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00TGUM5DU/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_9dyPvbSCR5X30

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Re: PH Meter

Postby AltonAnt » Wed Jul 15, 2015 08:15

AFewTooMany wrote:Anybody used one of these? Cheapest 0.01 resolution I could find

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00TGUM5DU/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_9dyPvbSCR5X30


I have the less accurate 0.1 resolution one of these which in the ad you posted in more expensive :scratch:
I have the one that came with a few packs of buffer solution.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/digital-calibra ... B004YD7W82
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Re: PH Meter

Postby AFewTooMany » Wed Jul 15, 2015 09:36

AltonAnt wrote:
AFewTooMany wrote:Anybody used one of these? Cheapest 0.01 resolution I could find

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00TGUM5DU/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_9dyPvbSCR5X30


I have the less accurate 0.1 resolution one of these which in the ad you posted in more expensive :scratch:
I have the one that came with a few packs of buffer solution.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/digital-calibra ... B004YD7W82

Is it any good though? Do you have anything to compare it or the reading it gives against?

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Re: PH Meter

Postby AltonAnt » Wed Jul 15, 2015 10:06

AFewTooMany wrote:Is it any good though? Do you have anything to compare it or the reading it gives against?


No, I said earlier I didn't but it appears OK. It was correct with fresh buffer solutions, a Starsan mix was around pH 3.0 and the mash was where I expected it.
I'm not looking for the last word in accuracy so as just a check it is OK.
If you want something more trustworthy then spend more to suit your requirements.

There are various things you can measure that have stable pH levels such as distilled water (obviously) and Coca-cola (pH 2.5).
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Re: PH Meter

Postby AFewTooMany » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:46

Cheers. Love the coca cola buffer solution. Will need to remember that for future. Picked up a salifert kit for first few brews and pick up cheap meter to "compare"

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Re: PH Meter

Postby Kloorob » Wed Jul 15, 2015 18:59

Hi All,
Thanks for your responses which is much appreciated, and I think that I will go for the Voltcraft which looks ideal for what I want.
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Re: PH Meter

Postby Graham_W » Wed Jul 15, 2015 21:14

NickW wrote:As recommended by aleman to pittsy and then pittsy to myself...
http://m.rapidonline.com/Catalogue/Product/51-5153
You will need to buy buffer solutions

I have Lutron PH-208. It is housed in an identical case to the one shown in the link above, except that mine has an extra four buttons in the lower recessed panel; it also uses the same nomenclature for both the unit model number and the pH electrodes, so I suspect that both came out of the same Taiwanese factory despite having supposedly different brand names.

However, there is something a little puzzling about the PH-100ATC given in the link above, inasmuch as one would expect that ATC would stand for Automatic Temperature Compensation, and indeed automatic temperature compensation is mentioned in the scant literature; but only mentioned, and nowhere do they mention how that temperature compensation is achieved. There is no mention or illustration of an external temperature probe and none of the optional range of pH electrodes that they list in the specification have an inbuilt temperature sensor. Likewise there seems to be no way to manually set the sample temperature and there is no mention being able to do that in the instructions; a strange circumstance because they state in the specification that the device can be used with any general purpose pH electrode that has a BNC connector, which indicates that there has to be an external temperature probe, but there is no mention of one in the specifications or the instructions. It is puzzling, so I recommend that anyone intending to purchase one of these to get this clarified with Rapid, or with someone who already has one, beforehand.

Mine is obviously made by the same manufacturer, although it is somewhat more feature rich than the one linked to, and I am happy enough with it. My main issue is that I have had mine for some time and I have not used it for about a year, so I suspect that my electrode has time-expired by now.

When I purchased it, the supplier couldn't supply the optional external temperature probe (don't you hate it when an outfit supplies a product but does not supply the accessories -- I have experienced this time and time again with cameras), so I ended up with an electrode that has an inbuilt temperature sensor (PE-05T). I cannot remember where I bought the meter; I am sure that I too followed a link supplied by Aleman, but search the web as much as I can, I cannot find a replacement electrode or the accessory temperature probe.

This is one of the hazards of buying cheap Chinese imports, lawnmowers, power tools, etc, is that you can't get the spares or even the consumables six months later.

At least if the worst comes to the worst, I can use a standard electrode from somewhere else and manually dial in the sample temperature, on the rare occurrence that I should feel that temperature compensation is important, but it's not ideal.

G.W.
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Re: PH Meter

Postby wallybrew » Wed Jul 15, 2015 21:23

AltonAnt wrote:There are various things you can measure that have stable pH levels such as distilled water (obviously) and Coca-cola (pH 2.5).

And the pH of distilled water is???????
And is it stable???

The theoretical pH of distilled water is 7 but it is more likely to be closer to 5. The latter value is after it has been standing and equilibrated with its surroundings. It has no buffering power irrespective of its probable equilibrated pH and is should therefore be shown the door in respect of checking you pH meter.

The only way to check your pH meter is working correctly is to use buffers of a known pH from a reputable source unless you have the facilities tom prepare your own.
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Re: PH Meter

Postby Aleman » Wed Jul 15, 2015 21:56

Graham_W wrote:I am sure that I too followed a link supplied by Aleman, but search the web as much as I can, I cannot find a replacement electrode or the accessory temperature probe.

This is the Meter I use, and the replacement probes are Here

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Re: PH Meter

Postby CraftyTim » Wed Jul 15, 2015 22:20

wallybrew wrote:
The theoretical pH of distilled water is 7 but it is more likely to be closer to 5. The latter value is after it has been standing and equilibrated with its surroundings. It has no buffering power irrespective of its probable equilibrated pH and is should therefore be shown the door in respect of checking you pH meter.


I agree that the pH of water will change when left standing, but from my observations the pH of water will slowly rise when left standing, I guess it must be contact with O2 that causes this.

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Re: PH Meter

Postby AltonAnt » Thu Jul 16, 2015 07:55

CraftyTim wrote:I agree that the pH of water will change when left standing, but from my observations the pH of water will slowly rise when left standing, I guess it must be contact with O2 that causes this.


I think it absorbs CO2 and produces carbonic acid but freshly distilled water will be pretty close to neutral.
As with any measuring instrument, you need a point of reference to ensure accuracy and the more accuracy you require generally the more expensive that reference point is.
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Re: PH Meter

Postby bobsbeer » Thu Jul 16, 2015 09:50

Cheapo Chinese version for me. I have had it 2 years and when tested against the buffer solution was still spot on. So while it may be cheap and nasty in appearance, appears to give consistent accurate results.
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Re: PH Meter

Postby wallybrew » Thu Jul 16, 2015 20:49

CraftyTim wrote:
wallybrew wrote:
The theoretical pH of distilled water is 7 but it is more likely to be closer to 5. The latter value is after it has been standing and equilibrated with its surroundings. It has no buffering power irrespective of its probable equilibrated pH and is should therefore be shown the door in respect of checking you pH meter.


I agree that the pH of water will change when left standing, but from my observations the pH of water will slowly rise when left standing, I guess it must be contact with O2 that causes this.

AltonAnt wrote:I think it absorbs CO2 and produces carbonic acid but freshly distilled water will be pretty close to neutral.

In answer to all of the above:
Tap water arrives at a generally lower temperature than the surroundings of your living accommodation. It therefore arrives with more carbon dioxide and oxygen dissolved than would be dissolved at room temperature. The oxygen loss will not really affect pH, however, loss of carbon dioxide will result in an increase in pH. London mains water arrives out of the tap with a pH that is generally in the range 7.2 to 7.6. Once this has been left standing in a tank in a loft space the pH rises and can often be 8.2 to 8.4. Nothing else has changed except the loss of some carbon dioxide.

Now to the freshly distilled water being close to neutral. If you distil it from a carbonate based liquor you will release carbon dioxide and some of this will reabsorb into the distillate. It does not take much carbon dioxide to shift the pH downwards. You therefore need to have a means of capturing the released carbon dioxide and carry out the distillation in a carbon dioxide free environment if you want neutrality.

It is for these reasons that the pH of your liquor has no real value in terms of brewing.
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