OK, so I've been trying to read thoroughly and widely as regard to brew water chemistry. I'm not a science buff, but I enjoy the process of trying to figure things out. I've read tons of stuff here, watched Bobby's videos on Youtube, messed around with BeerSmith and the EZ Water Calculator. I've also read on Brewer's Friend and elsewhere. After reading, I decided to try using my tap water from home rather than buying Ice Mountain Spring Water from the store. I'm working on getting my water report from Ward. The publicly available one seems to be useless for brewing purposes. Once I get that taken care of, I'll be ready to move forward. But before I even get to that point I'm wondering about a few things.
First of all, I know that regardless of what the water report says, my water will have Chlorine and Chloramine in it. I know I can boil off Chlorine and supposedly Chloramine too with a 20-minute boil. I know some will disagree with me but I read it from a trusted source (www.sfwater.org/Files/FAQs/removal.pdf
). Regardless, I'm not going to use this techinique. Keep reading. I don't want to boil off the Chlorine and Chloramine. Too much of a propane waste. So in the link listed above, I read that a 1000mg Vitamin C tablet will "remove chloramine [and chlorine] completely [from the water in] a medium size bathtub without significantly depressing pH." So, I'm thinking, OK, Vitamin C is cheap and readily available. I'll use that. There doesn't seem to be any risk of surface corrosion to stainless steel or plastic so there shouldn't be any worries. (Correct me if I'm wrong here).
I've also been reading that 5.2 Mash Stabilizer is a simple and great way to get your mash pH to that "5.2 sweet spot" but that it does so through Monosodium Phosphate (NaH2PO4) and Disodium Phosphate (Na2HPO4). So I'm thinking, OK, if I add that into my mash, it's going to affect the pH, dropping it to 5.2. But with the Vitamin C in there, that shouldn't be a problem. Tap water has a pH above 5.2 in fact it's often above 7. So if anything the Vitamin C will bring the pH down slightly making the 5.2 Mash Stabilizer not have to "work as hard."
Now, here are a few questions. 5.2 Mash Stabilizer will affect my pH but won't it also affect my water chemistry? Well, certainly it will! It will add those phosphates listed above. This would result in a different water profile. Which wouldn't this mean I need to enter different numbers in the water adjustment calculator? Well, I don't know!
So, then I go onto the question of brewing salt additions. How much will the additions of Vitamin C to remove the Chlorine & Chloramine and the addition of 5.2 Mash Stabilizer affect my water chemistry and water profile? Don't I need to know this to be able to figure out how much of the various brew salts (Gypsum, Calcium Carbonate, etc.) I need to add? I don't want to add too much and get any off flavors.
Will the additions of Vitamin C and 5.2 Mash Stabilizer affect the numbers I would add into my water adjustment calculator (i.e. Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Chloride, Sulfate)? I see "Na" (i.e. Sodium) among the chemicals that 5.2 Mash Stabilizer use to drop the pH. And I also see Sodium as one of the categories listed on the EZ Water Calculator. So do I need to adjust my levels?
5.2 Mash Stabilizer uses phosphates for it's work and the brew salts use carbonates, and sulfates, and other items not in 5.2 Mash Stabilizer. So while there are definite changes in the water chemistry, maybe it doesn't matter for the purposes of brew salt additions? This is where my lack of scientific expertise rears its head.
Can anyone help me out with a few answers here? Thanks a lot!