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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2006 * Archive through February 15, 2006 * Intial pH of water supply 4.0? < Previous Next >

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Milan Bartolec
Member
Username: Littlebro

Post Number: 138
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 24.22.175.129
Posted on Saturday, February 04, 2006 - 09:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Making a Helles today. 10 lbs of Durst 2-row pils, 2 lbs Carapils.

Seattle has pretty soft water.

Every couple of brews I'll play around with the pH. This time I checked it after doughing-in and using the ColorpHast strips it reads about 4.2. If I take a pH reading of the "plain" water in my HLT its 4.0 - Can that be right? I was thinkin that a normal water supply would have a pH more in the neutral area of 7.0 - but that's an assumption.

I added 2 tsp. of Chalk (calcium carbonate) to bring up the pH - went up to 4.7 so I added 2 more tsp. I'll check in a while to see what the pH is, but I'll leave it a that (in the mash). The pH of 4.0 in my HLT makes me wonder about my sparge though.

Any thoughts?

TIA

TIA
 

JimTanguay
Advanced Member
Username: Pizzaman

Post Number: 536
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 206.63.252.209
Posted on Saturday, February 04, 2006 - 09:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I too live in Seattle. If you look at the water report provided by the city it lists the PH of tap water somewere around 8 and I've never measured it under 7 although I must admit I rarely (probably a couple years since) use my ph meter. I wonder if all the recent rainfall could affect the water?
 

Fredrik
Senior Member
Username: Fredrik

Post Number: 2905
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 213.114.44.246
Posted on Saturday, February 04, 2006 - 10:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm not sure about US, but if your water really is pH 4 it sounds like there is a problem and I would have it checked. It sounds crazy to me. Are you sure the water isn't contaminated before taking the reading? What if you take the water directly from your tap, in a glass? Are you making the readings right? Maybe that's the first thing to check.

Rainwater can increase the acidity in surface water, but I don't think an optimal water supply/well design shouldn't be so heavily affected by normal rain. Do you have your own private well or public water?

/Fredrik
 

Milan Bartolec
Member
Username: Littlebro

Post Number: 139
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 24.22.175.129
Posted on Saturday, February 04, 2006 - 11:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've got to chalk this up to user error. I've been brewing with this water for several years, including lagers and the beer is fine.

I checked the pH with a new strip right out of the tap and it still reads about 4.0.

So I re-read the instructions and it says to "immerse in weakly buffered solution until no further color change. 1 - 10 minutes.

I have been taking an eye dropper and putting a drop on the strip and then shaking it off, so that could be the problem. I've now taken a jar and an inch of water from the tap and placed the strip into it and left it there. It's been 5 minutes, and only the corners and very edges of the strip are turning brown/green from the original yellow color. - Is that how slow it works? 95% of the strip seems to be unchanged.
 

Chris Vejnovich
Intermediate Member
Username: Cjv85vmax

Post Number: 401
Registered: 06-2003
Posted From: 198.203.245.8
Posted on Sunday, February 05, 2006 - 12:21 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I just used ColorpHast strips from Northern Brewer the other day and I did not have to wait 5 minutes for a reading. And it measured our water right on compared to what I have seen in the past from others who use the same brand and or same quality stips when they brew.
 

Scott Folsom
Member
Username: Sfolsom

Post Number: 146
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 66.159.76.84
Posted on Sunday, February 05, 2006 - 12:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Are you using cheap paper strips? How old are they? They can be notoriously inaccurate. I've never heard of having to leave them in the solution for 10 minutes.

I would borrow (or buy) some good strips like the ColorPHast plastic ones or a ph meter for a second opinion.

4.0 seems like something to worry about.
 

Milan Bartolec
Member
Username: Littlebro

Post Number: 140
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 24.22.175.129
Posted on Sunday, February 05, 2006 - 01:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

the strips are the colorpHast, 4.0 -7.0 range. They are the plastic kind. They are definitely not the cheapy, entirely paper pH strips. I've tried those in the past. I've had them over a year. I guess age could be the problem.

Water supply says the pH averages 8.0
 

Paul Edwards
Advanced Member
Username: Pedwards

Post Number: 928
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 70.236.1.1
Posted on Sunday, February 05, 2006 - 01:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Milan,

I just looked at my colorpHast pH strips (4.0 to 7.0). The ones I have are a light olive green color for the active area (dry, out of the box), not yellow. I've had these for quite some time (maybe 2-3 years), and they still work just fine for measring mash pH and pH of sparge liquor (which I adjust to under 6.0 using lactic acid)

If your tap water pH is really 4.0, it'll eat your pipes.
 

Jeff Preston
Member
Username: Jeffpreston

Post Number: 138
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 142.161.178.253
Posted on Sunday, February 05, 2006 - 02:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'll also agree with Paul. My ColorpHast strips are a light olive green color on the test area. They should not be yellow. Mine are 4 years old and still work very well. I store mine in a cool, dry environment.
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 2403
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.215.203.195
Posted on Sunday, February 05, 2006 - 08:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If I am not mistaken, water works like to keep their water in the basic (high) side of pH 7 to minimize damage to plumbing equipment. I could be wrong about all this.

Dan

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Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 4589
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.57.229.8
Posted on Sunday, February 05, 2006 - 10:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dan's right. Keeping the tap water pH above 7.0 helps prevent lead leaching into the water from old pipes and soldered fittings (from the days before they required lead-free solder).

As for Milan's problem, I'm wondering if the ColorpHast strips he is using were stored in a humid environment, which shortens their life. Also, measuring the pH of the water itself can be somewhat unreliable because it is so little buffered. Milan, did the strips seem accurate when you measured the mash and/or wort pH?

(Message edited by BillPierce on February 05, 2006)
 

michael atkins
Intermediate Member
Username: Mga

Post Number: 347
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 216.170.58.10
Posted on Sunday, February 05, 2006 - 11:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If you used those ph strips a year ago and they worked and you use them now with this unexplainable reading (you now get a ph of 4.0) they are not reliable. Probably ruined in storage! I find it quite impossible for your water to be this bad.

I found this on a post in the archives by poster "Vince Turley" on a "Mash Water PH" search.

"At http://www.jackeden.com/tips/phmat.html, I found the following:"

pH Values for Common Items (picked out a few that I thought were interesting):


Item pH Value

Apple juice 2.9 3.3
Distilled water 7.0
Drinking water 6.5 8
Grapes 3.5 4.5
Grapefruit juice 3 3.3
Human saliva 6.3 6.6
Hydrochloric acid 0.1
Lemon juice 2.3
Lime 1.8 2
Limewater 12.4
Normal rain 5.7
Orange juice 3 4
Sea water 7.36 8.21
Soda lye 14.0
Sour milk 4.3 4.5
Sulfuric acid 0.3
Tomato & tomato juice 4.2
Vinegar 2.4 3.4
Love This Hobby!

http://msnusers.com/micksbrewery
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 2405
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 216.215.203.195
Posted on Monday, February 06, 2006 - 02:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There you go! Spit on one and see what it read!

Dan

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Milan Bartolec
Member
Username: Littlebro

Post Number: 141
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 24.22.175.129
Posted on Monday, February 06, 2006 - 05:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

From what I remember, they worked fine last year. They've been stored in their original container, which has been kept in a plastic tub, that has my brewing salts in it, which has been stored in our garage. I'm not sure if moisture is an issue.

I'll buy some new strips from the local homebrew store and see what happens. I'll probably test some of those items listed to see what happens.

Thanks all.
 

Milan Bartolec
Member
Username: Littlebro

Post Number: 142
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 24.22.175.129
Posted on Monday, February 06, 2006 - 05:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well I spit on one and it changed color right away, but the reading was 4.7 at most. No where near the color it would take to be equal to 6.3 - 6.6.

Time for some new strips I suppose. Or maybe the drinking water here has altered my saliva I've been drinking 4.0 water so long :0)
 

Bruce Williamson
New Member
Username: Bwilliamson

Post Number: 23
Registered: 03-2005
Posted From: 199.233.178.253
Posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 12:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I live in Seattle (Ballard) and brewed on Saturday with a water reading of 8 on the nose. Ive have never had a reading below 7 in the 5 years Ive been measuring h2o ph.