Originally Posted by Johnnyboy1012
Also, how do you guys feel about adding salt to the boil? London water profile has sodium at 100ppm via Ray Daniels book Designing Great Beers and he recommends adding some salt to the boil. Suggestions?
I'm very much for it if it improves the beer and very much against it if it doesn't. The difficulty in answering here is that 'improves' is a subjective impression of the drinker. Soup is improved, in most peoples opinions, by the addition of salt but the amount they think should be added differs. That's why the shaker is on the table. Now there are those who will tell you that adding salt is an insult to the chef - that he knows better than you how much salt you like. That's one viewpoint. Another is that it is a matter of personal taste. Here we are talking about salt salt i.e. sodium chloride but similar comments apply to the other salts as well.
Clearly you can add salt to finished beer and when I was younger there were salt shakers on all bars for exactly this purpose. But it's not so usual to see people salting their beer these days and you are taking upon yourself the role of the chef in the fancy restaurants where they do not put salt on the table under the assumption that setting its level is the chef's job (as the proprietor of one establishment I used to patronize frequently would remind me if he ever saw me reach for the salt). I think the answer must be determined by experiment. You need to brew the beer with different levels as decide what level gives you the best beer. As with the other salts you can experiment in the glass and then apply the results when brewing.
Another aspect relates to the definition of 'improves' which can mean several things. There is only one thing it means in the opinion of a commercial operator and that is that the beer sells better and as a home brewer it sort of means the same thing which is, effectively, that it pleases your 'customers' more. Your main customer may be you in which case all you have to do is adjust until it tastes best to you. But your customers may be your spouse, her mother or a panel of unknown beer judges in which sense 'improves' means 'wins more competitions'.
So I've turned a relatively simple question into a rather complicated one. Such is the nature of brewing (and, of course, many other things).