It is much easier to add minerals than to remove them. The home brewer who intends to make a variety of adjustments and is using very soft, distilled or reverse osmosis (R/O) water is very fortunate. The adjustments are only a matter of adding one or more mineral salts to achieve the desired qualities. Various mineral salts can be added to water and we strongly urge the home brewer to acquire at least a basic understanding of water chemistry before adding any chemical to water that will be used for consumption.
The following information will give the home brewer some indication of the amounts of mineral salts needed in order to achieve an increase in ion concentrations.
Although it is somewhat unusual to find recipes that specifically tell you the make up of their water, some might list it. Otherwise, there are listings on the internet for specific cities around the world and what their water make up is like. This can be beneficial for those trying to duplicate an ale from London, or a Kölsh from Germany. If you like what you are making, but are just a little bit off in your recipe, adjusting the water can make the difference.
Don’t worry if you don’t want to go through all the trouble to try and figure this out. Most brewers make their beer with either what they have available at home, or bottled water. Your beer will turn out just fine. For those that really want to know every aspect of their beer, this area is a good place to study. Water adjustment can be one more thing to add to your brewing arsenal.