Originally Posted by mabrungard
I have not found that low to moderate sulfate levels are drastically deleterious to beer flavor...even when malty perception is desired in the finished beer.
It is certainly a matter of personal taste at least to some extent but I and others do find low to modest (in my case 27 ppm) sulfate will ruin lagers (though of course there are lagers brewed with respectable sulfate levels). The generally accepted wisdom seems to be that even modest levels of sulfate is a bad mix with noble hops. I know Gordon Strong is of that opinion as he has said so in at least two talks he gave in which I was in attendance and I believe Kunze says the same in his text (or perhaps it was Narziß). I am certainly on board with that. OTOH I can tolerate higher levels in beers using English cultivars but even with them I can tolerate very hoppy beers only when brewed with modest (47 ppm in the case of the particular establishment I am thinking of) sulfate.
De gustibus non est disputandem and it is because of this that I advocate starting with low sulfate (or no sulfate) and working up especially as the in-the-glass technique seems to work and is obviously pretty easy to do. Of course one could start with no chloride and no sulfate and experiment with both which is really what I suggest but I seems to me (no poll data or anything solid behind this) that people do like the effect of chloride whether they like the effect of sulfate or not.