I ended up deciding to re-brew the aforementioned troublesome IPA, that always seemed to have that strange aftertaste I could never put my finger on. Most of the ingredients ended up being the same, with a substitution on one hop and one basemalt, but overall it was the same in every regard, except for the water. This time I brewed with 4 gallons of distilled water from my small unit (stay tuned for a full review ), blended with 2 gallons of lime treated water to add in some mineral content. The mash was right at 5.2-5.3. I then added calcium chloride to the boil, giving me an overall more balanced flavor profile. In the end the beer was a massive improvement over previous attempts – no more lingering aftertaste and absurdly harsh bitterness! And now, many brews later, I can say my beer has improved dramatically. I have more control over malt vs. bitterness profile in beers that I had little control over before. Recently I brewed a Hop Harvest beer, in which the final beer profile was malty and sweet, and very low on bitterness. I would never have been able to achieve that before using my regular tap water.
After all of the studying, research, and implementation, I have a much better grasp on water chemistry overall. But it also had an impact on my brew-mojo. When summer rolled around, I quit brewing all summer long. I guess my brain needed a hard reset. But now, as the weather starts to turn cool and my beer supply running low, there will be some serious brewing going on!
Brew on friends! \m/