A pH of 3.6ish: Why I’d like a pH meter

When I checked on my mead two days ago, I measured the pH as well as the specific gravity. I use pH papers, little test strips treated with indicators that change color at a known pH. After dipping it into the mead, I compare the strip’s color to a chart.

A pH paper dipped in the mead has changed color. A comparison with the chart next to it in the photo indicates a pH of 3.6 - 5/20/07

It’s rare that the test strip’s precise color appears on the chart. Here it looks to me like there is some purple and some yellow, indicating that the pH is within the test strip’s range. I think 3.6 is the best fit. These test strips are cheap and easy to use, but they have a considerable margin of error.

So it’s important to use them correctly and not make them any less accurate than they already are. Since they depend on seeing a color change and accurately matching it to a chart, it’s important to read them in good light. Indoors, during the day, with lots of light from a window is best. I once tried to use pH papers under florescent lighting, and the test strip turned green – not even close to anything on the chart. Moving to a well lit room cleared it right up. Trying to measure something with an intense color, a red wine for example, won’t work very well because the color of the sample will affect the color of the test strip.

I did mention that they’re cheap and easy, didn’t I? After a while a high maintenance pH meter with expensive tastes starts to look pretty alluring 🙂

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2 thoughts on “A pH of 3.6ish: Why I’d like a pH meter

  1. arfi

    I used that kind of strips to test the pH soil at my place. But sometimes, I just use Hydrangea for my test, when it’s growing pink and when it’s growing purple hehehe…

  2. admin Post author

    The Hydrangea test huh? Well, I’ll bet it’s at least as accurate as the pH papers 🙂


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