Originally Posted by thekage
So let me get this straight...
Lets say I'm brewing a 5.5 gallon batch, total of 9 gallons of water. Treat 4.5 gallons tap water with camden tablet to kill chlorides, dilute 1:1 with RO water, and use sour malt or brewing salts to treat alkilinity.. sound about right?
Chloride is just a chlorine atom with a -1 charge. This is quite desirable in brewing water and can enhance maltiness and give an overall round flavor.
The chlorine or chloramine is what you want rid of, and is really a misnomer for most peoples' initial understanding. It is usually an oxygen-chlorine or chlorine-ammonia molecule in very small concentration that disinfects the water. This is probably under 3 ppm. Don't try to calculate a dose of Campden with the chloride number.
Sour malt and acids will reduce the alkalinity. The salts are for flavor and other reasons throughout the process. Calcium will play a small role in reducing the mash pH, but for the most
part, combating alkalinity requires dilution or acid.
Once you've diluted 1:1, cut all your numbers in half and decide what you want to do flavor-ion wise. (Chloride and sulfate. There's really no need to ever add magnesium or sodium) You might want a little more calcium after dilution for many beers, but you're going to get that whether you add CaCl2 or CaSO4 for the chloride or sulfate.
Enter the numbers in the most popular spreadsheets these days... Bru'n, EZ, Kai's, etc. Use them all. Get a feel for what each does and, preferably, how they each do relative to your own pH measurements.