hey aj, this is sort of off topic, but do you have a pH meter you can recommend? I am one of those 5% of colorblind brewers. the strips are impossible for me to read!
I have tried to sit down and listen to the shows, with the water sheets from my town. I can just not get a grasp on this. Would any one be willing to take a look at the saved spread sheet, my water supply info and get me rolling on this?
First off we'd need to know what it is you are trying to accomplish. Simply brew decent beer? Imitate a particular style by using water which resembles that of the source which lead to the creation of the style? Enhance hops character? Produce Export with the real Dusseldorf crispness?...
Lots of people get hung up on wanting to have "authentic" water without thinking the problem through. Many, if not most, of the styles were born as brewers figures out what they had to do to work with the water they had. This doesn't mean they got the best beer. Just that they got an acceptable beer given what they had to work with. Trying to match water usually results in confusion and frustration for the brewer because
1) The water report he tries to match is not valid. Mother nature cannot produce the water profiles in most of the books and articles you will find on the subject and neither can you.
2) You cant' go to the LHBS (or supermarket or drugstore or Fischer or Spectrum or ...) and buy calcium bicarbonate and you cannot approximate most waters (in which calcium bicarbonate is the most important constituent) with calcium carbonate unless you are willing to go to the trouble nature did and dissolve it with CO2. This is quite a bit of trouble but if authentic water is your goal it is what you have to do.
3) There is a common misconcetion that there is a strong correlation between beer color and the "required" alkalinity of the water used to brew the beer. Laboring under this misconception many home brewers dump inordinate amount of calcium carbonate into their beers which results in high mash pH and beers which are not nearly as good as they can be.
4) Any water treatment scheme represents a guess. Deteminination of the implications of a particular treatment requires measuring the pH of the mash produced by the water with the particular grain bill you have chosen. pH test strips are prettu useless (especially for the 5% of brewers who, most of us being male, are color blind). Most brewers are reluctant to invest in a pH meter and those who do must ascend a learning curve in their use.
Putting that aside your water is very nice. It is quite soft from either source but Lake Fort Smith water has appreciably more sulfate than Lee Creek water while Lee Creek has thrice the chloride of the lake. Both are a quite low levels but the Lake Fort Smith is pushing the limit on sulfate for continental lagers. You can brew many styles of beer with either of these waters without having to do anything at all. You should (but don't have to) use means other than water treatment to get mash pH as low as is desirable but as most don't do this there is no reason why you should either. Supplementation of the calcium with say a teaspoon of gypsum per 5 gallons would be a good idea for ales and a teaspoonful of calcium chloride for beers where you don't want the hops too assertive is the way to go for those. Other than that, forget water treatment unless and until you are willing to make the substantial investment required to unerstand it better.