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Johncifelli

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I just purchased some pH strips. Dipped the strip in my wine the strip came up deep burgundy. Which doesn't match any of the colors on the test kit. Not even close. Help!
 

cmason1957

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Do you recommend any specific pH meter
I have a Milwaukee MW101 or 102, I forget exactly the number, they are somewhat expensive at about $100, but I believe many of us have one.

Doing a very, very quick google search, I stumbled across two that seem to be very good at a much lower price point:

https://www.amazon.com/Accuracy-Quality-Measurement-Brewing-Laboratory/dp/B08FRFZRYS - $16 - not sure of the accuracy of this one, one place the copy says +/- 0.01 another +/- 0.1

Amazon.com - $32 - this one has better accuracy +/- 0.01
One caution is the calibration procedure on both of these, with the Milwaukee, it is a 2 point calibration and solution is readily available, inexpensively. Both of these do a three point calibration. For wine, since we are usually measuring something down between 3 and 4, I would prefer, if you did a third it was down low, instead of up high, like these have you do, but they seem to be reasonable meters.

Accuracy does matter, since PH is a logarithmic measurement the difference between 3.4 and 3.39 is 10 times.
 

BrentHG

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I have a Milwaukee MW101 or 102, I forget exactly the number, they are somewhat expensive at about $100, but I believe many of us have one.

Doing a very, very quick google search, I stumbled across two that seem to be very good at a much lower price point:

https://www.amazon.com/Accuracy-Quality-Measurement-Brewing-Laboratory/dp/B08FRFZRYS - $16 - not sure of the accuracy of this one, one place the copy says +/- 0.01 another +/- 0.1

Amazon.com - $32 - this one has better accuracy +/- 0.01
One caution is the calibration procedure on both of these, with the Milwaukee, it is a 2 point calibration and solution is readily available, inexpensively. Both of these do a three point calibration. For wine, since we are usually measuring something down between 3 and 4, I would prefer, if you did a third it was down low, instead of up high, like these have you do, but they seem to be reasonable meters.

Accuracy does matter, since PH is a logarithmic measurement the difference between 3.4 and 3.39 is 10 times.
The pH meter listed above is the one I use. Just make sure you calibrate it from time to time.
 

Scooter68

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Agree with cmason - If you are just getting started you can certainly get the job done with the Below $50.00 pH meters. Just be sure to get a supply of buffer solutions or powders. Also keep a few gallons of distilled water on hand for rinsing and prepping powdered buffers (if that's the way you go)
Regardless of what you spend on the meter - they ALL need to have calibration checks done periodically (at least once ever couple of week).

The old pH strips are basically worthless for wine making. even if you make only white wines they are still difficult to read and inaccurate as well.
 

BernardSmith

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Distilled water sold in the supermarket in plastic containers - does the pH vary with time? I have distilled water that use for cheese making and so use about a half cup every week or so, so a gallon of water can last me several months. Just the other day I was using this water to mix with buffering solution and the readings were several points higher (so more alkaline) than the buffered solution should have been. I also have some pH strips and they confirmed the meter's readings (at least for the two lower readings). Does distilled water become more alkaline when stored in plastic bottles: the bottle I used was unopened but it was several months old.
 

sour_grapes

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Accuracy does matter, since PH is a logarithmic measurement the difference between 3.4 and 3.39 is 10 times.
pH is indeed logarithmic, but that greatly overstates the case. The difference between 3.0 and 4.0 is 10 times. Your example only represents a few percent difference (2.3%).
 
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Scooter68

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When you say "Several points higher" is that tenths .1 or hundreds .01 ? a change of 3.43 to 3.45 or even 3.46 would not worry me much. A change of 3.40 to 3.60 would be of concern. Keep in mind that the reason for calibrating is to set the meter not test the distilled water. IF you seriously doubt the quality of the distilled water then open a fresh container for each calibration process. It's not that expensive.
I use a lot of distilled water since I use it for my Star-San sanitizer mix.

If you are seeing a change of tenths from one container to the next, then your source may not be doing a good quality control job or your container once opened is getting altered somehow. The only way to check this is to calibrate your meter then check several fresh containers of distilled water. If there is a significant variation then your water source is a problem. Keep in mind that most places selling retail distilled water are not suppliers for laboratories (I hope) and they only have to meet local/state standards if they apply.
 

BernardSmith

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But here's the problem, I think. If I am calibrating my pH meter I need to dilute the buffering powders in distilled water. But I would assume that the distilled water is always pH 7.0 . If that distilled water is other than 7.0 how does that affect the buffering solution? and if it DOES affect the solution how does that solution then affect the calibration of the meter? My meter is"recognizing" the nominal values of the buffering solution but is it then compensating for the actual value given the pH of the distilled water being other than 7.0? In other words, how do you confirm the calibration of your pH meter if the only way to confirm this is to use the meter to test a solution that may or may not be the expected value? What I have been doing is using test strips to check whether both they and the meter are giving me essentially the same value (and the strips are good for plus or minus .02 or thereabouts
 

cmason1957

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pH is indeed logarithmic, but that greatly overstates the case. The difference between 3 and 4 is 10 times. Your example only represents a few percent difference (2.3%).
Dammitt doing math and taking pain pills isn't a good thing. I knew something seemed foggy about that, but what the heck.
 

sour_grapes

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But here's the problem, I think. If I am calibrating my pH meter I need to dilute the buffering powders in distilled water. But I would assume that the distilled water is always pH 7.0 . If that distilled water is other than 7.0 how does that affect the buffering solution? and if it DOES affect the solution how does that solution then affect the calibration of the meter? My meter is"recognizing" the nominal values of the buffering solution but is it then compensating for the actual value given the pH of the distilled water being other than 7.0? In other words, how do you confirm the calibration of your pH meter if the only way to confirm this is to use the meter to test a solution that may or may not be the expected value? What I have been doing is using test strips to check whether both they and the meter are giving me essentially the same value (and the strips are good for plus or minus .02 or thereabouts
The whole point of a buffering solution is that its pH will be independent of the water you used to mix it. So, if the water is off from 7.0, it will have no effect on the pH of the solution.
 
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Paulietivo

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"The pH value of distilled water is theoretically 7, neither acid or base. If you tested distilled water immediately upon opening a container, that is probably what you would get. However, as soon as distilled water is exposed to air it begins dissolving carbon dioxide and starts shifting to become slightly acidic. After a couple of hours exposed to air, the pH value will likely be around 5.8."
 

Scooter68

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I imagine that the article you listed is correct, BUT: Why is it that when people venture out of their area of knowledge they boldly make stupid comments? (Referring to the author of the article quoted)

Example is this sentence from the article "What is the pH of Distilled Water?: "Another situation where distilled water may be preferable to use than regular water is in cooling systems for cars. Ions of minerals commonly found within tap water often prove damaging to lead-acid batteries, so distilled water is more likely to be used by cooling systems. "

Whoa! What cars run their cooling fluid through their batteries? This is why one should ALWAYS read such articles carefully. I don't disagree with the premise that distilled water's pH will change by exposure to air, but when they leave that specific area of discussion you need to read such stories very very carefully. That is one of the challenges of this web-centric world we now live in - too many 'sources' too little verification of those sources.

The reality is that IF a car maker recommended distilled water for their cooling systems, they do so because they want a pH neutral cooling system or they don't want their factory installed cooling fluid contaminated by tap water from questionable sources - especially unfiltered or uncorrected well water. (I've been watching a family that moved to Idaho "Off Grid" and their well water (Comes out yellowish) HAS to be treated for excessive amounts of Calcium and Iron both of which would not play well in a cars cooling system, a lead acid battery, OR our home-made wine.)

By the way "After exposure to air..." How is the exposure defined? In a narrow top basin, a wide topped uncovered bowl, having a jug un-capped, poured on a table top (Very broad expsure surface there). The statement begs a clear definition of what conditions would permit that change and absorptionn rate and to what degree. This follows exactly the same protocol we try to follow with our aging wins by limiting the exposure to oxygen. We do so by keeping the surface area minimized and volume in the container maximized. Is the article stating that if you simply unseal the container that the action of pH shift starts and runs unabated even if I re-cap the container after taking say 2 oz from a 1 gallon container?

This all matters to us.
 
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sour_grapes

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Example is this sentence from the article "What is the pH of Distilled Water?: "Another situation where distilled water may be preferable to use than regular water is in cooling systems for cars. Ions of minerals commonly found within tap water often prove damaging to lead-acid batteries, so distilled water is more likely to be used by cooling systems. "
Not to mention, I don't think it is even possible to buy a non-sealed lead-acid battery any more.
 

Paulietivo

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True. I only was interested in the part of distilled water changing ph. After all I buy it by the gallon and then it sits around til next use. I thought ph meter wasn't working but then I realized the premise of this article. It changes when exposed to oxygen. Simple point. And don't let that author work on your car.
 

Scooter68

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The question that remains is under what conditions will the pH change. The article suggests a relatively rapid change BUT is that change going to happen if I just open a bottle pour out an ounce or two and then cap it right back up? OR does it take being open with a significant surface area exposed to the air.
The question is appropriate because it's the same rationale we use to avoid oxidation of our wine while aging. We keep it 'sealed' from air circulation and we limit the about of surface area in contact with even the limited air in the top of a carboy.

There is going to be a pretty limited amount of Carbon Dioxide in gallon container that has 126 ozs instead of 128 oz in it before it was opened. Give that most distilled water is now sold in soft sided gallon containers, I can easily squeeze out several ounces of air once I pour out 1,2, or even 6 ounces of distilled water.

That's where articles like this fall short of giving us good direction and in fact can feed a misinterpretation of the data. The car battery part is just another suggestion about how articles like this can be misleading or just plain wrong in some circumstances or applications.
 

BernardSmith

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The whole point of a buffering solution is that its pH will be independent of the water you used to mix it. So, if the water is off from 7.0, it will have no effect on the pH of the solution.
aha... That is incredibly useful. Thank you... always happy to learn and in fact I tend to learn something new every single day.
 

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