This has been one of the hardest things to grasp as an all-grain brewer. The 5.2 buffer has been an easy way out, but I want to start brewing by matching a water profile to the style of beer I am brewing. I have read many articles and sections of books about water but I am still unclear about a few things.
I agree with the statement that you should mash in, then check ph and adjust accordingly. Maybe I'm reading the wrong stuff but no one ever says in plain language what to do. I am a simple person and need simple advice.
I have posted my water report before but here it is again:
Sodium, Na 18
Potassium, K 4
Calcium, Ca 51
Magnesium, Mg 26
Total Hardness, CaCO 3 236
Nitrate, NO 3-N 0.3 (SAFE)
Sulfate, SO -4S 49
Chloride, Cl 19
Carbonate, CO 3 < 1
Bicarbonate, HCO 3 112
Total Alkalinity, CaCO 3 92
I know one of the most important (for ph) is bicarbonate which is 112. I know for pale beers I need to dilute my water with distilled water.
Most of the articles I read say to mash in, take ph reading, then take action.
What do I do if my ph is high?
What do I do if my ph is low?
The conclusions I have reached in my slow moving brain is to add calcium carbonate (chalk) if ph is low and add distilled water if the ph is high.
I appreciate the books I have read with a section devoted to water, but is there something more in depth that I can read to understand all of this? Can someone answer the two questions above?
Thanks for your advice...Charlie