« on: November 02, 2013, 05:38:43 AM »
Jim, your original plan was fine. Those very minor additions of epsom and table salt can add pleasant nuances to the finished beer. As many have said, you don't NEED to add those particular salts to your water. However you may find that you WANT to add them. I find that too many brewers think of epsom salt in its laxative state and table salt in its potato chip saltiness state. While I agree that I don't want those flavors in my beers, I recognize that the difference between medicine and poison is DOSE. With proper dosing, those salts are quite beneficial to beer flavor and complexity. Those that have made the mistake of brewing with straight RO or distilled water have found the blandness that comes with that purity.
Assuming that those original salt doses produce low ion concentrations, there is no reason not to add them. This is especially true if the alternative is adding only calcium chloride to distilled water. That addition will solve the calcium deficiency and add a bit of chloride, but the resulting water and beer flavor can still be one-dimensional. Including low levels of sodium and sulfate will definitely expand and deepen the flavor perceptions in the finished beer. The need for magnesium is more dubious. That one can easily be left out, but it will be welcome as you pursue a more bitter perception in particular beers.
Since many of those salts are highly soluble, you can check their effect on flavor...in the glass. As Palmer and millions of cheap lager drinkers have found, a dose of table salt can be welcome in beer. Other salts can also be welcome and you can test them too. Do scale their additions appropriately since it does no good to overdose the glass and get a poor impression. In some cases with the minor ion concentrations I've recommended in the color-based Bru'n Water profiles, you many not really note much difference in flavor. But you should notice that some additions are notable and pleasant. Give it a try.