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Josh O.
11/30/10 01:58 PM  
pH meter recommendation?
I've never bothered monitoring the pH of my normal brews, but as i get further into brewing funky brett, sour, and sour-mash beers I think that knowing the pH of the wort or beer becomes more important information, and am looking to pick up a pH meter. I have a more scientific bent as it is and am also interested in the information.

1) Do the more experienced sour brewers here agree? Useful equipment, worth the money?

2) Do you have a recommendation for a meter to purchase? I'm looking for reliable probe at a reasonable cost with a precision of ~0.1 ph units. It doesn't have to be idiot-proof, I'm an environmental professional by trade and am familiar with probe maintenance and electrode replacement. I'd like to buy something that can last.

Thanks, appreciate any firsthand knowledge and experience you can provide.

Ross
11/30/10 09:47 PM  
Re: pH meter recommendation?
I have an electronic meter and have to say I don't think they are worth the money. The probes wear out every year and are expensive to replace.

The most economical ones are made by Hanna and Extech.

In my opinion, get the pH strips from ColorPhast. These strips are excellent. The trick to using them is to soak the strip for about 30 seconds, give it a few minutes then check the color in natural day light. Don't look at them under any kind of artificial light. Also, store them at room temperature and from time to time, check them against some pH solution. They can age and go south on you.

GuitarLord5000
12/01/10 11:12 AM  
Re: pH meter recommendation?
+1 on the pH strips. My job supplies me with both strips and a meter, and the truth is that it isn't worth the trouble to use the meter. You have to treat the probe like it's an infant and calibrate the meter on a regular basis. More often than not, I find myself double checking the accuracy of my meter against the strips.

So yeah, I'd say go with the pH strips.

Cheers,

Dave

MashGordon
12/01/10 01:51 PM  
Re: pH meter recommendation?
The cheap meters are not worth it. I've had good luck with the Milwaukee SM102 so far.
Shadetree
12/01/10 05:44 PM  
Re: pH meter recommendation?
I have a $20 aquarium meter, +/- 0.1, and the thing is bulletproof. Despite all the warnings about heat damaging the probe, I take readings directly in the mashtun and then dip it into a small cup of DI water to rinse and cool. I've done this hundreds of times and have yet to correct the meter by more than 0.1 on a two-point calibration, with less than five corrections total. And for storage I just stuff a piece of cotton ball down in the cap and wet with DI water, no need for that fancy storage solution.
Josh O.
12/02/10 04:56 AM  
Re: pH meter recommendation?
Thanks for the input guys. I was considering a cheaper Milwaukee meter (pH55, ~$50) which has a precision of 0.1 and automatic temp control and a slightly higher temperature range for operation (up to 140F) than the cheapest probes. The SM102 looks pretty similar to meters I use for work (water sampling) and pretty robust but is definitely more than i wanted to spend.

Maintenance for any pH meter is important, keeping the electrode wet and clean (storage in ph 7 solution or DI water) will go a long way to prolonging the life. I saw a thread in another forum suggesting a bit of extra silicone caulking to seal any suspect seams in the plastic housing and keep moisture away from the electronics, which is also a decent precaution. I've seen expensive meters wrecked because the gasket seal failed and the circuits were flooded.

 
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