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Flavor: Salty, Harsh, or Bitter

Problem:

A salty, harsh, or bitter flavor is typically a sign that excessive amounts of brewing salts were added to the water in an attempt to mimic characteristic brewing water profiles.

Causes:

  • Excess epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) will break down to magnesium chloride, giving a very bitter flavor. Excess gypsum (calcium sulfate) will give beer an overly dry, sharp flavor.

Cures:

  • Don't add salts to your brewing water until you know the starting ion content of the water. Know how much of a brewing salt is required to achieve the desired taste or solubility effect. Know the proper amount of each ion desired for the beer style being brewed. Recognize that malt extracts contain mineral ions when computing the amount of salts to add to the water.
Flavor: Salty, Harsh, or Bitter