Water is one of the most, if not THE most important ingredient in beer. For my two plus years of brewing, part of my ingredient cost has been bottled spring water. Going out every brewday to pick up the water I needed became more and more of a burden on the wallet and with the time wasted at the store.
With warmer weather fast approaching (brewing season), I decided to submit a sample of my water to Ward Laboratories to see what minerals, etc. are in my local water supply. There are numerous resources out there that can help you dial in your water profile to a specific beer style.
It was no surprise to learn that I have hard water. Without any additions to my water (salts, etc.), I’ve got the perfect water for stouts and porters. If I want to brew any other style, I’m going to have to add treatments to my water. There are some good resources on the internet, like John Palmer’s website, and there are spreadsheets that can help you decide how much of what additives to add to your water. Needless to say, I’ve got a lot of reading to do on the whole subject of water!