With all of that in mind, are there any mineral 'go-to's' that are common? Any to stay away from? Is it basically mix whatever you want until you get the profile style you're after?
A great place to start is the water profiles in Brunwater. Martin knows his stuff, and they are proven to give good results.
With that said, I just try to keep it simple. Balanced styles are generally 75ppm each of Chloride and Sulfate, although if I feel like tweaking them a bit on the fly, anything within the 50-100ppm range is fair game for me. In those cases I'm typically using just CaCl2
For malty styles I generally shoot for 100ppm of Chloride. I use table salt to get up to 20ppm of Sodium, then get the rest of my Chloride from CaCl2
. I haven't played around with Sodium in hoppy beers, but I definitely feel it makes a noticeable difference in malty styles in small amounts.
For hoppy styles I use CaCl2
to 50ppm of Cl-
and then go anywhere from 150-300ppm of sulfate. Right now I am only using Gypsum for my sulfate, but playing with Epsom Salts to get some added Magnesium is on my list of things to try.