Water profile - need help tweaking

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Oct 21, 2015
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I recently got my water profile back (Hanover, VA) and was using John Palmer's Water Adjustment calculator. I'm going to be brewing an American Pale Ale so was playing around with the values to try and get them in 'suggested range'. As I'm new to tweaking my water, can I get some advice from those of you who have used this spreadsheet before? Do I really only need to add 3 grams of gypsum? Here are my initial values:

Calcium (ppm): 8
Magnesium (ppm): N/A
Alkalinity as CaCO3: 40.9
Sulfate (ppm): 38.2
Chloride (ppm): 12.9
Sodium (ppm): 35.8
Water pH: 7.8

I'm using water volumes calculated via BeerSmith of 2.97gal mash and 4.65gal for sparge.

For the sparge, its recommending 5 ml hydrocloric.

Thanks for suggestions!
I'd like to see the calcium at 50 ppm or more, to help with yeast flocculation and to help avoid beer stone in the kettle. You can use a little gypsum, and I'd probably use more than 3 grams. I'd want the sulfate to be around 135-150 ppm or so, and use gypsum to get there. If you use a water spreadsheet like bru'nwater or this one: https://www.brewersfriend.com/mash-chemistry-and-brewing-water-calculator/ it makes it easier to look at the values.

The most important thing is mash pH, and I'd target a mash ph of 5.3-5.5 or so, using lactic acid or phosphoric acid if necessary.

For the sparge water, yes, you want to add acid to neutralize your alkalinity in the sparge water.
I second the addition of CaCl2 to raise both Calcium and Chlorides and Gypsum, to " dry " out the beer a bit and let the bitterness/hops pop a bit more. I tend to get about 70-100 ppm Ca in my mash water, around 50-70 Cl and over 100 ppm Sulfate, for IPAs and hoppier styles. It works really well. You will always need some acid in light coloured beers, to get the pH in range.

Bru'nWater or Brewer'sFriend water calculators/spreadsheets are your friend. A pH meter is also nice to have.