I little knowledge is worse than none. I bought some ph test strips from NB. Both the soft and hard water came out purple like that da#n dinsaur Barney. What do I do with this information? Will the buffer product sold by NB help? This is from a private well that tastes and smells good. Thanks.
Unless they’re the plastic ColorpHast strips, it’s doubtful they’re accurate. Most people have found that the Buffer 5.2 product doesn’t work and gives the beer a funny taste. And BTW, your water pH doesn’t really matter…it’s the mash pH that counts. The grain will reduce the pH to some degree.
I don’t know much about brewing water other than the fact that my water is smack dab in the middle of what is recommended but I know they sell the PH 5.2 stabilizer which is supposed to work.
An easy thing you can do for your brewing is to find out what is in your water. Lab testing for the parameters of interest to brewing can be had for less than $20, so cost is not much of an issue. Programs like Bru’n Water enable a brewer to take that water information and convert it into water treatment practices that will make a real difference in the quality of their beers.
Since the OP is in Wisconsin and has a well, I would not be surprised if the water has significant alkalinity and that pH strip reading may be an indicator of a too high mash pH. All kinds of problems arise with a high mash pH and a high wort pH in the kettle. The Water Knowledge section of the Bru’n Water website will help explain why this is bad.