Understanding the Mash pH
What Kind of Water Do I Need?
"What kind of water do I need for all-grain brewing?" (you ask)
Usually, the water should be of moderate hardness and low-to-moderate alkalinity, but it depends...
"What do these terms mean? Depends on What?"
"Where can I get this kind of water?"
"What is my own water like?"
This chapter is all about answering those questions. The answers will depend on what type of beer you want to brew and the mineral character of the water that you have to start with.
The term "hardness" refers to the amount of calcium and magnesium ions in the water. Hard water commonly causes scale on pipes. Water hardness is balanced to a large degree by water alkalinity. Alkaline water is high in bicarbonates. Water that has high alkalinity causes the mash pH to be higher than it would be normally. Using dark roasted malts in the mash can balance alkaline water to achieve the proper mash pH, and this concept will be explored later in this chapter.