What/which measurement equipment is recommended?

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AJP

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Sorry for what seems like a noob question that could be answered easily by a few easy searches. But after an hour of reading/searching I decided to just ask the question!

I have Thermometers and Hydrometers, what additional measurement tools do you all recommend? I expect to make a batch or 2 / year from fruit/grapes.

In my reading, knowing the TA, PH and SG are the big 3.

I absolutely hate upgrading/re-buying equipment.

What do you recommend for the TA and PH measurements?

I see the Milwaukee MW102 is a reasonable PH meter.

Thanks in advance,
AJ

ps: If there is an existing discussion you can point me to for these answers, that would be great too!
 

Boatboy24

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Are you making wine just from kits? Fresh grapes? Other fruit?
 

Ajmassa

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The MW102 seems like a legit meter for a good price. I use Milwaukee ph55 pen style and it's ok. But I wouldn't buy it again I had a cheapo meter I got on Amazon break on me at a critical time so I bought at a local shop without much research needing it that day. In hindsight I'd have purchased the MW102 or similar.
If you're just gonna be making wine from kits then theoretically you really wouldn't even need to bother much with testing pH and TA since they are all pre-balanced.
TA I don't think there's any middle ground. Either the cheaper kit with the color change solution (a good ph meter will also get you more accurate TA numbers using this TA kit) or spend hundreds on professional quality testers. A la Vinmetrica and all the amazingness they have to offer.
I check my sulphite levels with cheap titrettes <$20. The Only other So2 testing tool might be dipsticks from AccuVin. Otherwise--Vinmetrica. So2 testing is Not really necessary unless you you get fancy and need to know your specific amount of free So2.
There's also tools needed to check your malic acid if you are eventually going to be making wine from grapes or fresh juice and doing MLF. Again, not done with kits since they are pre-adjusted.
I suggest a half decent meter like the MW102, and the TA test kit. If you did end up upgrading later it would not be a wasted investment. It would be smart to have a back up meter anyway. And the TA kit is only like $15.
If you check out https://vinmetrica.com/ you'll see all he top quality stuff I mentioned. And also MoreWine - https://morewinemaking.com/?ref=morewine - has just about everything under the sun and is the go-to site for a lot of us.

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Julie

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I have the Mikwaukee MW102 and it works great.
 

AJP

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Thanks for the replies.

Yes, as fruit is available I plan to go that route.
I will however make a handful of kits to fill/re-fill the wine rack!

As far as MLF, I doubt I'll worry about that much for a while.

Thanks for the input, I'll probably hold off for now, dream about a Vinmetric SC-300 pro and keep an eye open for a killer price on the MW102!

I'll probably end up with the MW102 by the time the grapes are in this fall.

SO2 measurement appears to be a tough nut to crack without spending a bunch. The full blown SC-300 is probably the best approach but it won't happen for a while.

AJ
 

NorCal

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Two batches? Hydrometer, thermometer and a $15 pH meter is all I would buy.

Hydrometer and thermometer to control fermentation.

pH meter to understand the efficacy of the SO2, so I only add the minimal. TA? I would add tartaric to taste, as long as ph is below 3.8.

Have good fruit, sanitized, closed environment and pH below 3.8. Add 50ppm of SO2, 3 times over 9 months and I personally wouldn't worry about microbial stability.

I think in wine making, less is more. i would take good fruit and no equipment over marginal fruit and an entire laboratory.
 

NorCal

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As a follow-on, I assumed that you were talking 10-30 gallons of wine per year, where it would be hard to justify a vinemetrica, high end pH meter, precision hydrometer set.

I make 3 batches a year, but it amounts to 150 gallons. I invested in all the high-end equipment, but if I was only making a few carboys, the equipment I purchased would be overkill.
 

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I have a MW-101 (doesn't have the automatic temperature control built in like the MW-102 model) and love it. It is much more stable and rarely needs calibrated (though I do test it against a pH 3.0, 4.01 and 7.01 solution before and after each test) than my Hanna pHep meter which seemed to drift and need calibrated constantly (even between tests done within minutes)(I know some here have that meter and love it, so don't let my experience dissuade you from buying one, I could have had a dirty or defective probe). You can find a MW-101 on Amazon for under $100, but I agree, until you are "hooked" I wouldn't spend $$$ on a Vinmetrica type hi-end rig (though you can buy me one if you find it in your heart to do that).
 
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jgmann67

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I'm shopping for a pH meter and am seeing dozens on Amazon for really cheap - anywhere from $12 to $50 (about as much as I might spend on a first meter). So, of the pH meters in that price range, which would be best for a guy like me (a middle of the road winemaker with average skill and sensibilities)?

I'm thinking my punch list for a meter includes: Cheap, automatic calibration, uses readily available solutions to calibrate (4.01 and 7.0), accurate to 0.01, reliable and relatively quick measurement of pH.
 

Ajmassa

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Sounds like u pretty much know what you need. My 1st cheapo needed 6.87 buffer. Big PITA
I went thru a lot of BS recently regarding meters, but I ended up learning a lot. Learned it all THE HARD WAY.

I realized all the things I thought I didn't like about either meter were from misuse or storage. Now I always have distilled water on the ready for rinsing and storage solution as well as plenty of buffer.
Bought Milwaukee ph55 pocket meter for $75 I think. Only regret is it reads to one decimal place, not two. Keep that in mind. 2 decimals definitely would be the way I would have preferred. But still a legit meter
Also make sure there is a thermometer with automatic temperature adjustment. I think some cheapos do not have that.
 

Ajmassa

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Yep they do. I saw the Milwaukee. A little beyond my range at the moment.

Understood. Higher quality Suisun grapes or ph higher quality meter? Easy choice.
From what I've read, even the really cheap ones can last a long time and be accurate as long as its used and cared for properly.
My cheap one was $12 on Amazon and works great ever since I started taking proper care. If a meter starts getting funky, a soak in distilled white vinegar overnight cleans the probe like new. Worked for me on both meters.
 

jgmann67

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Understood. Higher quality Suisun grapes or ph higher quality meter? Easy choice.
From what I've read, even the really cheap ones can last a long time and be accurate as long as its used and cared for properly.
My cheap one was $12 on Amazon and works great ever since I started taking proper care. If a meter starts getting funky, a soak in distilled white vinegar overnight cleans the probe like new. Worked for me on both meters.

How hard is it to get the solutions? The 4.0 and 7.0 seem readily available and come in bottles. The other stuff seems to only come in granular form in single use packets.
 

Ajmassa

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The 6.87 Gotta order online, comes from China so it takes forever. And yes, it's only the granulated. Turns an easy thing into a project. Didn't know any better at the time I purchased.
4 and 7 are everywhere. I like the individual packets and keep a bunch on hand. You get less value, but they have other benefits. LHBS has em less than a buck ea.
 

jgmann67

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The 6.87 Gotta order online, comes from China so it takes forever. And yes, it's only the granulated. Turns an easy thing into a project. Didn't know any better at the time I purchased.
4 and 7 are everywhere. I like the individual packets and keep a bunch on hand. You get less value, but they have other benefits. LHBS has em less than a buck ea.
I'm going by my LHBS today after work to see what they have in stock. I might be thinking too hard.
 

jgmann67

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Probably. But that's better than too little thought. I ended up needing a new one same day and bought the only decent meter on the shelf at my local shop.

So I got the LHBS and completely forgot to look to see if they had anything on the shelf at all. Picked up my tartaric acid and went on my merry way. (Face... meet palm).
 

jgmann67

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Grabbed a Milwaukee PH600 on Amazon. It's not everything that I wanted (far from...). But, it's good quality, cheap and will do what I need it to until I can afford to buy what I really want. I kept looking at the $100 -150 meters and thought, "if I'm going to spend that might, might as well go all in for the Vinmetrica sc300." Some day...

I do have a question: since this measures only to the tenth (00.0), does that mean that it rounds up/down, or must it cross a ph treshold before ticking up/down? For example: for an actual pH of 3.66, will it read 3.6 or 3.7?
 
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jgmann67

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It came in today's mail. The directions say to store it in a glass of water after calibration to avoid drying the sensor out. Posts I've seen here warn not to do that. What gives?
 

Ajmassa

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It came in today's mail. The directions say to store it in a glass of water after calibration to avoid drying the sensor out. Posts I've seen here warn not to do that. What gives?

I hate that this is just a 2 person convo. Because I've only just recently learned all about ph meters.
Keeping the probe moist at all ttimes is something I had no idea about before looking into buying one. but even then I didn't realize it was every single meter probe that needs to stay moist.
From what I have learned using just regular water is not the most ideal. Distilled water would be better. Distilled water is also best used to rinse between buffer solutions and/or samples. 4.0 buffer is better for probe storage than water. But never the 7.0 (Learned that one the hard way too). But the best bet is actual pH meter storage solution.
I haven't read anything about NOT keeping moist though.
Your other question about the one decimal point is a great question. I just assumed it stayed at say 3.5 even if at 3.59. And not change to 3.6 until actually at 3.6. But I have no clue.
I eventually found this use/care/maintenance guide with all this info. It's been my ph meter bible basically.

http://morewinemaking.com/public/pdf/wphmeter.pdf
 
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