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Bru'n water sparge acid, and pH strips? Help please

I’ve just started to look into acidifying my sparge water. I have about 80 ppm hardness and read that lowering the alkalinity of sparge water might help improve my beers ( I batch sparge).

So, I use Bru’n water and love it, but I’m having some issues with pH readings with my water. My water’s pH, according to multiple Ward Labs reports, is right about 7.6. You’ll see the pic of the pH strip reading of my tap water in the pic: [attachment=2]March 2014 017.JPG[/attachment]

As an experiment, I treated 1/2 gallon of my tap water with 1.4 ml of phosphoric acid (10%), which according to Bru’n water should yield a pH of 5.5. However, as you see in the pic, it’s reading at 4.0…way beyond the expected pH.[attachment=1]March 2014 013.JPG[/attachment]

So, is this an issue with the pH strip, or something else? Both readings were taken in 73 degree water and soaked for a minute or two.

I’ve attached the screenshot of Bru’n water’s sparge page for this experiment. I followed the same procedure for a recent acid addition to an altbier. Just in case someone sees that I’m doing something wrong:[attachment=0]sparge acid.png[/attachment]

At the risk of asking the obvious…are you using 10% acid? That’s what you have in Brunwater.

I am. I mentioned it in the previous post, but there’s a lot of info there. Easy to overlook…

Those pH strips have a shelf life of a year. Are yours older than that?

They are over a year. Would that cause them to read way below the actual pH of the acidified water? They still read around 5.0-5.3 in my mashes, and the tap water pH was all the way at the top of the scale.

a while ago I burnt thought 50 PH strips doing tests on then and I feel your concern with your low readings. you stated that your mash ph is good by the strips so I think that you should treat your sparge water with less acid then it calls for but use the strips to find out what the correct amount of acid to use is. as far as the strips readings go I see no reason not to trust the reading on the low side of there scale, to do so would also mean that you should not trust the high side also and the high side looks like its in line with ward labs. good luck.

Can you post the ward labs report? You say hardness but it’s alkalinity that we’re dealing with here. Also how does Ward express Alkalinity? As CaCo3?

Then there is the whole other colorphast pH drift thing…

[quote=“zwiller”]Can you post the ward labs report? You say hardness but it’s alkalinity that we’re dealing with here. Also how does Ward express Alkalinity? As CaCo3?

Then there is the whole other colorphast pH drift thing…[/quote]

Here’s the numbers from the different reports I’ve had run by Ward Labs (I’m anal):[attachment=0]water reports.png[/attachment]

I just use the average of the 4 reports for all calculations in Bru’n water.

I feel like the fact these strips are reading far below the target sparge pH in the calculations above, then something is way off. Either the strips are completely useless or I’m inputting some of the numbers incorrectly. I’m sure the water calculator isn’t the problem.

For those that acidify, does the amount of acid I’m adding seem reasonable for the volume of sparge water

I have had experiences similar to what you describe with Bru’n Water and ColorpHast strips with 10% phosphoric acidification of sparge water. I have not measured my untreated tap water pH, but my mash pH measurements are always close to the predicted pH while my acidified sparge water measures lower than predicted using Bru’n Water’s calculations. I’ve double checked to try to find operator error, but I haven’t found anything. That doesn’t mean it isn’t happening of course. Anyway, I thought you might like to know you’re not alone.

Sorry for not responding, my notifications don’t work well.

First off, bru’n water is not perfect but I have run tests side by side and it worked very good and has since been improved further…

I disagree with your strategy to use the average of readings and would urge you to use the most recent data. I do think there is always variance but it is most likely seasonal within the year. Better yet, call a good aquarium shop, they are checking DAILY. In any event, I wonder if using the more recent data could help explain the variance.

I used to use 10% phos and your addition does not seem unreasonable to me. IE You WILL use the bottle up rather fast if you acidify sparge and brew often. I switched to 80% because of that but it IS hazardous…

I’d recheck with the new data and see if that helps first.

Yes, your averaging of those results is unwise. The first result is clearly and substantially different than the subsequent test results. Using the more recent results appears more reasonable. Given the degree of variation in the water quality, it does appear that you should probably have a better idea of what the actual calcium and alkalinity values are on each brew day. The source variation could easily explain your variation in results.

Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Do you mean that I should check calcium and alkalinity before each brew day? I guess I’d do this by using aquarium test kits, right?

Or do you just mean that sticking with the most recent data will give me a better idea of where I’m starting with calcium and alkalinity?

Most recent data… Certainly you could check each time…

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

[quote=“mchrispen”]Most recent data… Certainly you could check each time…

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk[/quote]

Are aquarium kits the way to go if I want to check calcium and alkalinity each time? Not real familiar with this…

[quote=“Chinaski1217”][quote=“mchrispen”]Most recent data… Certainly you could check each time…

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk[/quote]

Are aquarium kits the way to go if I want to check calcium and alkalinity each time? Not real familiar with this…[/quote]

There are swimming pool test kits that test calcium and total alkalinity. I would think it would be important for aquariums as well.

I’d use the median instead of the average value, which will give you an idea of what the levels usually are. I wouldn’t expect an accurate water pH prediction for an acid addition to unbuffered water. I wouldn’t be surprised if the water pH was near 4.0 and I also wouldn’t worry about it much. If your mash pH is good and you remove the alkalinity from the sparge water, the mash should do a decent job of setting the pH.

The coffee nerds like to use this aquarium gh + kh kit. I would think it might work for your purposes too.

http://www.amazon.com/API-GH-KH-Test-Ki ... h+test+kit
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