I really do think that a little dash of acid is going to improve your pilsner. You won't need acid for most other beer styles, only very pale yellow ones.Once again, I have to concur. German beers are delicate and pH plays a huge role in the final product. Proper pH at pitch and in the finish will create a smoother, cleaner and more pleasant finish. A German Pils with 40-45 IBU should be pleasant beer and exceptionally smooth. Proper finish pH is the foundation of the smooth finish. Avoid alkaline water. Total alkalinity should be 25ppm or lower.
If your serious about producing a competitive beer, you should be hawkish on every detail. Brewing without a pH meter from mash to pitch and relying on mash calculators alone is a handicap. Checking finish pH is only necessary if you suspect a problem, but it should be check at least a couple of times when you first start checking it to get a baseline.
Your competing against people who pull out all the stops to produce a world class beer, especially in bigger comps. Winning once or twice can be luck, winning consistently requires a little more effort.
Yes, I agree. A mash pH meter is on my list.
edit: At the same time, we have had a number of beers make it to the Best Of Show round at a national competition...Munich Helles, Festbier, Marzen, all without any water treatment. Other than filtering to remove any solids and chlorine, etc.
We do pull out all the stops, within our ability, with every beer that is brewed. For competitions, and personal consumption. It is a hobby, but a very serious hobby.