17 July 2012

Is Edinburgh's water hard or soft?

Those of you who live in Edinburgh will know that we have lovely tasty drinkable water; that your clothes wash in sudsy water, that your hair feels manageable.  And, perhaps, like me, you will have thought that this was because Edinburgh's water was soft. Wrong!  It took me 9 years and a brewing course to figure this out though.  Thanks to the patient Robert Knops of  http://www.knopsbeer.co.uk/  (and a Christmas present from my husband who cherishes the notion that I want to brew beer), I now know better.  And since this came up in the pub   I thought maybe I'd better share this little insight. Might make a good pub quiz question!

Anyway, according to Robert, there are two kinds of 'hardness' -- permanent hardness and temporary hardness.  Temporary hardness is caused by calcium and magnesium bicarbonate, and precipitates out when you boil your kettle.  Permanent hardness is caused by calcium and magnesium sulphate.  And it's the presence of the latter that explain why Edinburgh has traditionally been famous for strong Scottish ales.   Now - go try some. Great range to be had at Provenance wines in Tollcross @Provenance_Edin 
where we did the course.  

I learned a lot about hops too, but need to taste some more before writing about them ...

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