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  1. Default Quick newbie questions: ph meter, possible stalled batch

    All,

    I have some quick newbee questions.

    1. I believe I need a PH meter to move forward but I'm having trouble deciding on one. I see many on Amazon from $14 to much more. I don't mind buying an inexpensive meter but I guess my question is most of the cheapo meters come with only 3 packs of calibration powder which makes it tough to decide if itsí worth Buying (possible limited life).
    How often should I expect to need to calibrate a Ph meter?
    Also do you have any recommendations on good accurate meters - one you have experience with and have used yourself?


    2. I started my 2nd batch, a JOAM variant. Yeast offgassing stopped after a couple week and it has very little lees (2-3mm?) at bottom and it is already clearing. There are 2 possibilities I can think of: (a) It is stalled and now clearing. (b) It legitimately finished and is now clearing. I do not have a hydronometer or ph meter (obviously) yet. Is there any way for me to tell if the batch is stalled without them? Is there any action I could take? I live in a remote area so it will take a week for a PH meter to get to me once I order it. I want to check PH and see if it stalled that way. All I can think of to do, do you have any suggestions?

    JOAM variant:
    Followed Joe's Ancient Orange recipe on Got Mead with exception of below details:
    1. Used 1 wedge sectioned lemon, with pith scraped off of rind
    2. Used heaping handful of blueberries
    3. Used heaping handful of raisins
    4. All fruit was previously frozen to burst cell walls, then allowed to reach room temp and sanitized before putting into the must.
    5. Used 3lb honey:1 gal spring water - 3.5 lb honey is a little too sweet for me. I warmed the honey to make it viscious but accidentally allowed it to approach 121-124 degrees, I believe this may have harmed aromatics but should have no effect on fermentation.
    6. Pre Hydrated 1 pack fleishman's yeast for 20 min in a spring water + muddled raisin mix - idea was to get it going first, I probably didn't leave it in long enough (this step not necessary, just experimenting)

    Yeast offgassed and it went furiously for 2 weeks, it just doesn't seem like it was as long as the exact JOAM recipe. Yes, this is Subjective.
    Last edited by Meadinator; 02-19-2019 at 04:11 PM.

  2. #2

    Default

    Hi,
    I bought the "Science Wiser Premium Automatic Digital pH Meter Kit" for my PH measurements. I think it's sort of a pain to calibrate, but i don't have another point of reference if one is harder than another, and I think it works. I also wish it was easier to dry it off between measuring when working with several batches. This meter states to calibrate when you first get it, and after not using it for awhile (whatever that means). The calibration packets are simply a fact of life if your going to use a meter, so be prepared to buy some ahead of time when you'll think you need it.

    In my limited experience, it's totally possible that the fermentation is complete in 2 weeks. That would not be a surprise to me. This is where having a hydrometer is helpful though. I'd say that if anyone is serious about making a decent mead (for fun, hobby, or competition), a thermometer, PH meter, and hydrometer are two mandatory tools. Sure, someone can always just throw something together and toss it if it doesn't taste good, but I think they'd end up wasting more money than the cost of these two tools in the long run. Of course, the mead may come out great too, but it will be hard to troubleshoot or save if you don't know some of the important variables.

    Keep in mind the JOAM recipe calls for leaving it alone for 2 months (if I remember right). That doesn't mean it's fermenting for 2 months though.

    Temperature absolutely does impact fermentation. It doesn't sound like your must was over 104 F when you pitched, so you should be OK there since it seems to have fermented (visually). That yeast also likes it warmer - like around 75 F.

    You can always taste it too. If it's good, then great. I it's too sweet, then maybe look at how to balance it out (fortification, oak, a less sweet JOAM that you can mix in, etc.).

  3. #3

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    Most of the pocket meters are accurate enough for what we are trying to achieve. Calibration standards can be bought in 2 oz bottles, but you only need the 4 and the 7 standard. Follow the link.

    https://www.googleadservices.com/pag...9aACCEA&adurl=

  4. Default

    As far as calibration standards there is a fairly easy work around.

    Do the initial calibration then measure 2 additional liquids and record their pH.

    I would suggest something around neutral and something acidic as mead making teds to stay in the acidic range.

    I used distilled water and coca cola. For future calibration just use the 2 additional liquids as standards as they are much easier to get ahold of.



    Sent from my SM-A520W using Tapatalk

  5. #5

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    I've been using the cheap-o yellow/black pH meters off Amazon for a few years now and I've already gone through three of them.

    I've found they need to be calibrated very frequently; it's very easy for them to go wildly off. Also really easy to break them, aka accidentally getting it wet past the designated mark and they are done for. It got to the point where after a few months of moderate use I stopped trusting their readings unless I calibrated every time right before using it.

    As a result, I recently bought the "Milwaukee Instruments MW102 Ph and Temperature Meter". It's pricier, but not crazy. I did a lot of research into pH meters last month before buying and this was the one that kept coming up as the work-horse pH meter for breweries etc. Since I've been using it, I agree completely. It's been a fantastic meter, and the great thing about it, is that should the probe break, you don't have to replace the whole unit, just the probe it self (probe is detachable). It also has a thermometer and will automatically adjust the pH in relation to the liquid's temp, plus give a simultaneous temp reading. Super helpful!

    My two cents, get the cheap-o meter and a bunch of calibration fluid if you're not that fussed about bang-on accuracy and be prepared to replace it every 6 months (depending on use) and to calibrate at least every other time you use it. Otherwise, spend a bit more and have a solid meter that won't let you down for years.

    Oh and grab some pH meter storage solution too; that will greatly extend the life of your probes.

    I should note that I work in the beverage industry and use these commercially so my requirements for accuracy are a bit more strict than most home mead makers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
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    Default

    I've had poor luck with the cheapo meters from Amazon. The one I had would drift and wouldn't give the same reading twice in a row. I got tired of it and bought the Milwaukee MW-102, which is excellent:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016N2G8F4...replacement-20

    A buddy of mine just bought this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...replacement-20

    Replaceable probes is a great feature, they don't last forever. And I agree that storage solution is a good investment. I calibrate my meter every time I use it.
    Dave from New Haven County

  7. Default

    Thanks for the replies. Is the difference in temp going to give me different pH readings? Ie. Ph test a lemon when itís cold vs warm would I get different readings, different enough that a PH meter with temperature is really required.

    Thanks

  8. #8

    Default

    Large temp differences can make a difference if your PH meter does not account for the temperature (if it doesn't read temp as well, then it likely doesn't account for temp).
    You might find a different one, but this link should help you make the calculation:
    http://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/C...Correction.php

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