Using water from a Solar hot water system

Post Reply
User avatar

Topic author
Aces high
Gold
Gold
Posts: 294
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: Perth Australia
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Using water from a Solar hot water system

Post by Aces high » 4 years ago

I have a solar hot water system on my brew shed. It seemed like a great idea when i was getting it and right now the water comes out at about 65 degrees straight from the tap (i removed the tempering valve)

Since i have been using it my efficiencies seem to be down. Im not a sticklier for eff, but I used to always hit hte numbers that the calculator & brewmate told me i would get. Lately i've been down every time.

The tank is a steel/ ceramic tank and it has a magnesium sacrifical annode. When the water hasnt been used for about a week it will spit out a lot of gas when you turn it on. The engineer at work said this is hydrogen gas from the annode. Its such a time saver to use the hot water straight out of the tap, but it may need to be treated.

Im guessing the PH might be out or something like this. Does anyone have any tips before I go out and pay for a PH meter?


joshua
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 2663
Joined: 7 years ago
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by joshua » 4 years ago

I have used things like these..

http://www.amazon.com/Micro-Essential-L ... est+strips

You may find them at Pharmacies.
Honest Officer, I swear to Drunk, I am Not God.


PistolPatch
Gold
Gold
Australia
Posts: 5284
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by PistolPatch » 4 years ago

Aces, one thing that worries me is the annode. I reckon before even worrying about the pH thing, get some of that hot water, let it cool and then taste it. Does it taste crap or okay?

As for pH, I'm getting some more strips. The pH meter I bought a few months ago seems to give weird readings whereas my pH strips used to agree with the readings from our mate, Nev's, flash meter. Go figure :smoke:.
If you have found the above or anything else of value on BIABrewer.info, consider supporting us by getting some BIPs!


nik
Gold
Gold
Greece
Posts: 151
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Greece
Region: Europe
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Athens

Post by nik » 4 years ago

Probably the long time that water sits inside the boiler with temperature above 50 C has the same effect as the 30 min boiling we can do to our brewing water to get rid off excess Alkalinity .This procedure also reduces the amount of Ca in the water .So logically if this can happen to water with lower temperature than boiling and with the help of the anode (which somehow removes some ions for ensuring the long life of heater ).You end up with "softer" water ,the things can turn out really bad if you have allready soft water, which eventually will lead to low mash ph and lower efficiency than expected when used in brewing.
It's better first to test your water Alkalinity with a cheap aquarium Alkalinity test http://www.salifert.com/ or something similar to ensure what is hapening in the boiler and then to apply water treatment .


nik
Gold
Gold
Greece
Posts: 151
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Greece
Region: Europe
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Athens

Post by nik » 4 years ago

PistolPatch wrote:Aces, one thing that worries me is the annode. I reckon before even worrying about the pH thing, get some of that hot water, let it cool and then taste it. Does it taste crap or okay?

As for pH, I'm getting some more strips. The pH meter I bought a few months ago seems to give weird readings whereas my pH strips used to agree with the readings from our mate, Nev's, flash meter. Go figure :smoke:.
If you bought a digital ph meter you need to calibrate it every time you are gona use it with special buffer solutions of given ph usualy ph4 and ph7.The electrode has limited life of 1-1,5 years if treated with care ,that means that has to be stored "wet" in a specific storage solution or ph7 buffer.Some simple tips are here... http://bitesizebio.com/articles/how-to-" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... -ph-meter/
Last edited by nik on 08 Nov 2012, 20:49, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar

thughes
Gold
Gold
United States of America
Posts: 1206
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: Western NY
Region: USA & Canada
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Rochester

Post by thughes » 4 years ago

Thanks for the link, nik!

---Todd
WWBBD?


PistolPatch
Gold
Gold
Australia
Posts: 5284
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by PistolPatch » 4 years ago

Nice posts Nik ;),

I never even realised you had to calibrate the meters before every brew until BrickBrewHaus told me :P. Even after I did this, I still got pH readings way higher than what I used to get. Really need to get more strips. (And the meter only came with two calibration buffers - enough for two brews :roll:).

With all the maintenance that meters require, cooling of samples plus the limited probe life, I really wonder if they should be the first step for those wanting to explore pH? I'm thinking go the strips first :think:.

:peace:
If you have found the above or anything else of value on BIABrewer.info, consider supporting us by getting some BIPs!


nik
Gold
Gold
Greece
Posts: 151
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Greece
Region: Europe
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Athens

Post by nik » 4 years ago

PistolPatch wrote:Nice posts Nik ;),

I never even realised you had to calibrate the meters before every brew until BrickBrewHaus told me :P. Even after I did this, I still got pH readings way higher than what I used to get. Really need to get more strips. (And the meter only came with two calibration buffers - enough for two brews :roll:).

With all the maintenance that meters require, cooling of samples plus the limited probe life, I really wonder if they should be the first step for those wanting to explore pH? I'm thinking go the strips first :think:.

:peace:
I have to agree but I am starting to get old and sometimes it's hard for me to justify the readings :blush: ,to compensate some of the problems discribed I have order a cheap ph meter.Like this ...http://www.ebay.com/itm/Promotions-Digi" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... 3cca436f45
In a matter to throw it away when it comes of and repalce it with a new one without so much cost.The buffers are quite cheap and I have read somewhere if there are 250ml solution you can stick them in the refrigerator and they are fine (I have to test this).
When it will arive and use it I'll be able to have more accurate opinion.
Last edited by nik on 09 Nov 2012, 00:11, edited 2 times in total.


PistolPatch
Gold
Gold
Australia
Posts: 5284
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by PistolPatch » 4 years ago

Aces: Have you tasted that water yet? (If you are coming here tomorrow before the tasting, bring some water and we will test it's pH and taste.)

Nik: I'm scared that maybe pH meters might be like thermometers and hydrometers - none of them read the same :lol:. Maybe ii's a good idea to have both strips and a meter?

On the calibration side of things, had an idea today. I have some of that Five Star 5.2 pH Stabiliser. I tried it a few times but you have to use a lot in a BIAB brew and I prefer to use acidulated malt to adjust pH. So, I have a whole tub of it. Maybe I can use that as a calibration buffer? Will give it whirl tomorrow if I get time. WIll use the proper calibration buffer first and then see if it reads 5.2 on the Five Star solution.

Still going to get another pH roll though ;).
Last edited by PistolPatch on 09 Nov 2012, 19:55, edited 2 times in total.
If you have found the above or anything else of value on BIABrewer.info, consider supporting us by getting some BIPs!


nik
Gold
Gold
Greece
Posts: 151
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Greece
Region: Europe
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Athens

Post by nik » 4 years ago

We have totaly hijacked this therad sorry Aces... :blush: :blush: :blush: :blush:
Pat probably you are right ,I have to try it first, to have more accurate opinion (my profesion is broadcasting electronics engineer and I am familiar with precision instruments so I am aware what to expect from a cheap instrument like this)I have a batch of ph strips so I will test them side by side .That will be also another experiment for the experiments section ;) ;) .Yes may be this will work I dont know if there is a dilution rate for the 5.2 in order to get right ph readings.


PistolPatch
Gold
Gold
Australia
Posts: 5284
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by PistolPatch » 4 years ago

If Aces want to retain control of this thread, he needs to post whether he has tasted his hot water yet or not :lol:. We should charge him for keeping the thread alive :P. (I am seeing Aces tomorrow and will buy him a beer at the free tasting we are going to - lol.)

Anyway, he did ask about a pH meter didn't he? So, he'll need to know how to calibrate it ;).

BrickBrewHaus can probably help us out here. I vaguely recall that a buffer is a mysterious chemical that, when you add it to a solution it will bring that solution to a pH point and buffer it there. Buffer is probably not a great word to use when speaking to a native Greek speaker like yourself :). Buffer sort of means to hold something between two positions.

I think that the main question with a chemical buffer is the minimum amount you can use to achieve that buffer status. So, using too much pH 5.2 stabiliser will probably not be a problem. Using too little would. I'm sure though that there are some limits to using too much. I'll try and explore these tomorrow.

:peace:
Last edited by PistolPatch on 09 Nov 2012, 22:06, edited 2 times in total.
If you have found the above or anything else of value on BIABrewer.info, consider supporting us by getting some BIPs!


BrickBrewHaus
Gold
Gold
Posts: 383
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Champaign, IL
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by BrickBrewHaus » 4 years ago

Ah, buffers and pH meters...

Most instruments require some sort of calibration against a known value. (Think of hydrometers, pure water is known to have a gravity of 1.000 at 60F. We can calibrate our hydrometers by simply immersing them in 60F water and seeing what the hydrometer reads. If it reads 1.001, then we know its .001 too high and that value should be subtracted from all other readings. The same can be said for a thermometer in freezing and boiling water.) pH meters are the same way and that's what buffers are used for. Lets forget about the word "buffer" for this discussion, and refer to them as "calibration standards". pH meter calibration standards can be purchased for fairly cheap, and indeed are NECESSARY when using a pH meter. You might as well factor that into the cost of a pH meter, you need to have them. The most common calibration standards for pH meters are 7.01 and 4.01 buffers, uhh calibration standards.

So how do you use them? Well each pH meter will be a little different but the instructions that come with the unit should describe the process. FOLLOW IT! In general, you will immerse the pH probe into the 7.01 calibration standard first and either allow the unit to automatically adjust to 7.01 or, if its manually calibrated, you need to do it yourself by, generally, turning a knob. Then immerse the probe into the 4.01 calibration standard and adjust. There, its calibrated.

A couple of words about these calibration standards....
-Is it annoying that more equipment is needed for owning a pH meter? Yes. But if you wanna use a pH meter, then you need them.
-Don't try to be ultra frugal with them. Use a new solution every time. If you buy a large bottle, I have a 500mL bottle of each buffer, pour a small amount into a small clean container. I use a 5mL container. After your brew day, throw out the solution. Pour a fresh, 5 mL in my case, solution next brew day.
-Don't try to mess with them by diluting with water to extend the usage of the bottle you purchased. Suck it up and use them as they were intended.
-Personally, I don't see the need to refrigerate them. It won't hurt, but I can't see it extending their lifetime. You must make sure to warm them to room temp before using them, as pH is a temperature dependent measurement.

A couple of words about pH meters in general...
-The link nik gave above is a good one about general usage of pH meters.
-I think some of the issues that PP is reporting is possibly from not following one of these rules, possibly :).
-For instance, they should be stored in a proper storage solution. This is another thing you NEED to buy. Just do it. pH meters are very sensitive pieces of equipment, and they spend most of their time in storage. This is the kind of storage solution you should be using. You seriously compromise the viability of the probe by improperly storing it.
-Always rinse the probe after immersing it in any solution. For example, you calibrate to 7.01, you should rinse the probe and blot dry on a paper towel, then immerse in 4.01. Then, from 4.01, you should rinse the probe and blot dry on a paper towel, then immerse in your wort. Every time. Do it. Ideally the rinse solution should be distilled water. I used a bottle like this filled with distilled water (not those bottles exactly, but you get the point).
-pH is a temperature sensitive measurement and the probe is made of glass. Glass breaks with sudden temperature swings. This means that you should cool the wort sample to room temp for an accurate measurement AND extending the life of your probe. People get all bent out of shape about cooling wort samples to room temp, saying you need to put them in a freezer, etc. I'm sure most of us have a thin metal mixing bowl around. Pour your hot wort sample into the metal mixing bowl. Then put the metal mixing bowl in a bowl filled with ice water. The wort sample will be cooled in no time, especially if your only cooling enough wort to fill your small container, 5 mL, for a pH measurement.
-In general, treat pH meters gently as if they are very sensitive, because they are. Don't throw them at the wall. Don't store them on top of your furnace or in the trunk of your car.

With all of that being said, its not really a complicated process. Once you calibrate your pH meter, you don't have to do it for the remainder of the brew session. This makes taking multiple pH measurements throughout the brew day quite easy. I think they are a great addition to a brewery. Necessary? No. But if your the slightest bit concerned about water, I personally trust them far more than pH strips.
Last edited by BrickBrewHaus on 09 Nov 2012, 23:09, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar

Topic author
Aces high
Gold
Gold
Posts: 294
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: Perth Australia
Region: Please select one...
Preferred Brewing Method: Please select one from below...
City:

Post by Aces high » 4 years ago

PistolPatch wrote:If Aces want to retain control of this thread, he needs to post whether he has tasted his hot water yet or not :lol:. We should charge him for keeping the thread alive :P. (I am seeing Aces tomorrow and will buy him a beer at the free tasting we are going to - lol.)

Anyway, he did ask about a pH meter didn't he? So, he'll need to know how to calibrate it ;).

BrickBrewHaus can probably help us out here. I vaguely recall that a buffer is a mysterious chemical that, when you add it to a solution it will bring that solution to a pH point and buffer it there. Buffer is probably not a great word to use when speaking to a native Greek speaker like yourself :). Buffer sort of means to hold something between two positions.

I think that the main question with a chemical buffer is the minimum amount you can use to achieve that buffer status. So, using too much pH 5.2 stabiliser will probably not be a problem. Using too little would. I'm sure though that there are some limits to using too much. I'll try and explore these tomorrow.

:peace:
Ive got hot water tasting on my "to do list" for today and will report back later. I always rinse my pint glasses in this water and put the back in the freezer wet, so i am sure i would have noticed if it was a strong off taste.
Last edited by Aces high on 10 Nov 2012, 05:40, edited 2 times in total.


PistolPatch
Gold
Gold
Australia
Posts: 5284
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City:

Post by PistolPatch » 4 years ago

Good on you Aces and nice post from BrickBrewHaus as usual :salute:.

My meter only has one solution to calibrate with - 6.86. (Still have to do the 5.2 trial.)

One interesting thing I read today is that some types of pH strips can't be used to test plain water.
Can I use my pH Litmus Test Paper to measure the pH of water?

No. The reagent used in the pH Litmus Paper is designed for buffered solutions only.

What is a buffered solution?

A buffered solution is a solution with adequate dissolved solids to resist pH changes. For example, urine and saliva are considered buffered in their natural state. However, rain water, tap water etc. are considered to be dilute, weakly buffered solutions.
To test water, you need water pH test paper which is apparently different :roll:. See here and here for two examples.

I'm assuming that wort is a buffered solution :scratch:.

I suppose the next problem is working out what the paper you buy is actually for :). I've just ordered some of the stuff that joshua linked above as it is the same stuff as I have always used. Looking forward to testing it out against the meter in both water and wort.
Last edited by PistolPatch on 12 Nov 2012, 21:25, edited 2 times in total.
If you have found the above or anything else of value on BIABrewer.info, consider supporting us by getting some BIPs!

User avatar

Dski
Craft
Craft
Australia
Posts: 36
Joined: 3 years ago
Location: Australia
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Brisbane

Post by Dski » 3 years ago

We have a stainless hot water tank with no anode at all, so using water already hot from that might be an nice way to save on some electricity for heating up the urn.

It means I'll have to skip the benefits of the activated carbon and ceramic water filter however, and I can't say I love the taste of our tap water. I'll try some of the hot stuff (once cooled) tomorrow and see if there is any difference there.

User avatar

Dski
Craft
Craft
Australia
Posts: 36
Joined: 3 years ago
Location: Australia
Region: Oceania
Preferred Brewing Method: Single-Vessel All-Grain (SVA)
City: Brisbane

Post by Dski » 3 years ago

So FWIW I taste tested the solar heater water once cool, and it tasted fine. Possibly better than our normal tap water, which I generally find unpleasant.

I went ahead a tried a BIAB with the hot tap water which was around 65'C, so it took very little heating to get up to the 72'C required for pitching the grain. I used 10g of gypsum since I'm brewing an ESB style, calculated based on some Brisbane water (Mt Crosby) profile averages.

I'd be curious to learn more about the chemistry of water sitting at 65'C for a long time. There must be some ionic stuff going on, and bacterial growth might be of concern.

I've not yet tackled pH testing. :think:

Post Reply

Return to “Brewing Water”

Brewers Online

Brewers browsing this forum: No members and 2 guests