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Old 11-21-2007, 02:50 AM   #1
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Default Real Ale

I have a few questions about real ale. I have done some searching on the subject and it's very intriguing for some reason.
How does the carbonation stay in if it's not on CO2? do any of you have any sort of small cask (like a mini keg maybe) that you serve out of without CO2? and how would a homebrewer go about doing this?

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Old 11-21-2007, 02:53 AM   #2
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If you can get your hands on a beer engine, you're over halfway there. Then, carbonate as usual, and hook up the engine. When serving, open the relief valve on the corny. Close it when you're done. The keg should last 3-5 days without going terribly stale.

Orfy and BP, correct me where I'm wrong.

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Old 11-21-2007, 03:00 AM   #3
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Okay. So the relief valve is only open for a very short time. That makes more sense.

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Old 11-21-2007, 03:17 AM   #4
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I'd love to have real ale, my local pub serves locally brewed best bitters and english pale ales through a beer engine. Makes me drool just thinking about it. No way I could get through a whole corny fast enough though, too bad.

The mini-cask idea is interesting. Those mini-kegs with the built-in spigot would probably work but from what I understand they only last for a few uses (I may be out to lunch on that, it's just what I've heard).

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Old 11-21-2007, 03:30 AM   #5
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It might be possible to install a higher quality spigot on a mini keg. I'm not sure how, but I'd bet it could be done.

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Old 11-21-2007, 04:09 AM   #6
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If I'm understanding what you're saying; I believe the problem with the mini-kegs wasn't the spigots it was the keg itself. I think they're just plastic lined thin aluminum so when you pressurize them a couple times I guess they deform or something. I have no direct experience though so I can't say for certain.

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Old 11-21-2007, 04:13 AM   #7
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Real ale has very little carbonation and is normally open to the air.

If it is in a keg, some people are willing to allow a very low pressure (1/4 psi) CO2 blanket to keep the brew fresh longer. I tend to use just enough pressure to serve.

REAL ALE people consider this a hanging offense. Although, I think drawing and quartering would be more traditional.

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Old 11-21-2007, 04:16 AM   #8
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Would that work with a beer engine? I have no idea how much vacuum pressure they would generate. I'm all for authenticity but sometimes practicality has to win out.

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Old 11-21-2007, 04:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mew
Okay. So the relief valve is only open for a very short time. That makes more sense.
That's how I'd do it. D_42 would apparently have me tortured for that.

Once the "bung" is opened on a traditional cask, it's left open, and whatever happens...happens. The first few pulls are likely fresh and carbonated, but the dregs of the barrel will be quite flat and tinged with anything the cellar has to offer. Real ale changes character over time, becoming oxidized and even slightly soured depending on conditions.
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Old 11-21-2007, 04:22 AM   #10
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In my case I'm not sure I'd want 19L of cat-conditioned real ale.

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