Originally Posted by HbgBill
Bump.... anyone?? I know these are probably basic to most of you.. but, I'm still learning.. So, a copy of my post a few up...
The salts in question are any of several common minerals added to brewing water to fine-tune it.
Pure H2O, such as RO water, will not make good beer. You need certain minerals in very small quantities for it to taste right. Different styles of beer are best with different styles of water. The water in Dublin, for example, has filtered naturally through whatever rock Ireland is made of and as a result is near perfect for Stouts, which led to the success of Guinness.
Altering the mineral makeup of your spring water, or creating your own brewing water from scratch starting with RO, is some seriously Advanced Chemistry, and not recommended for beginners. If you are interested in learning more, the Brew Science forum can get you started.
This thread is a great place to begin:http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/brewing-water-chemistry-primer-198460/