I have been noticing a steady flavor in my beers regardless of whether it's dark or light. I'm not sure how to describe it. It's bitter, but in a different way than hops although it makes hoppy beers harsher and has this sourness or astringency on the back and sides of the tongue, but not like a "sour" beer. It's not overpowering, but is noticeable and after a few beers when you acclimate to the malt and hops it becomes more pronounced and starts to literally "leave a bad taste in your mouth". I thought it could be my mash water, but wasn't sure so I decided to back up procedure and reverted to extract and steeping (i.e. no mash), but I noticed it on my last beer as well. Maybe not as pronounced, but I sent off for a water report as I use a well system with a whole house oxygenation and carbon filtration system. It said...
Using a spreadsheet it gave me a residual alkalinity of a little over 100ppm and mash ph of about 5.87. This definitely lends itself to a darker beer which usually comes out better for me, but I'm wondering....
1. Does water profile affect a beer that much if not mashing and if so, how?
2. Do you see any correlation with the taste I describe and my water profile?
3. When adjusting water, how close is close? Within 2,5,10,20 ppm?
4. Trying to get the numbers to add up across the board has been hard so should I use distilled water and add something like Burton salts or just worry about getting the Mg Ca upped to offset the HCO3?