« on: December 31, 2013, 07:30:02 AM »
I don't necessarily mean oxidation of hops although this is a possibility, different hops have different storage characteristics. Saaz is listed as fair.
Brewing in a bucket means your beer can get exposed to some oxygen. This is going to show up more in a light delicate beer like a pils where there are no bold flavors to cover the flaws. The lack of pigments means there are fewer anti-oxidants to scavenge up dissolved O2.
I'm not saying this is definitely why you are having trouble. Obviously before you were happy with the beer. I'm just throwing out there that you might focus on all aspects of the process, not just water. Water is being more discussed in these forums and I think to some degree we are over-focusing on it when it comes to solving problems. I'd check freshness of hops and malt, and make sure your process is sound. I'd do it all at once, including an assessment of water. I've found that you have a much better chance of improving a process if you redouble efforts on several fronts. Yes it prevents you from knowing exactly what the culprit was, but doing things one at a time can take forever and you may never figure out what changed before it changes again.
Lastly, a harshness or slightly off flavor can also come from a low level infection of your brewhouse. I'd give everything a good cleaning and soak, and maybe consider replacing plastic lines as much as possible.
Thats my two cents, worth most of that anyway.