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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Bottling/Kegging > Cask Conditioned Real Ale
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Old 07-12-2006, 12:31 AM   #1
Beeratier
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Default Cask Conditioned Real Ale

Hey everyone,

Is there a book out there on doing Real Cask Ale? Or maybe a website on the basics of actually doing a cask ale (not what it is)?

As I understand it, you go from the Primary to the Secondary (which could be an oak cask with a tap in it) and you just serve it from there while its still fermenting, right?

Thanks in advance for any info.

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Old 07-12-2006, 01:40 AM   #2
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http://www.camra.org.uk/

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Real ale is a type of beer defined by its traditional production.

Also known as "cask conditioned" beer; the fundamental distinction between real and other ales is that the yeast is still present in the container from which the beer is served, although it will have settled to the bottom and is not poured into the glass.

Because the yeast is still alive, the process of fermentation continues in the cask or bottle on the way to the consumer ensuring a fresh and natural taste.
By their definition, all homebrewers make real ale. We couldn't get rid of the yeast, short of killing it. There are some people that insist real ale isn't carbonated. That isn't part of the definition. Using a different yeast to bottle condition isn't exactly within the definition either.
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Old 07-12-2006, 04:56 AM   #3
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I did one a few years back by spilting a 5 gal batch up and kegging into two 3gal kegs. I then let them condition in the kegs at 60-65 with just enough CO2 to for a litlle head pressure. After about a month I took one and made a small rack to hold it at a down ward angle so it would flow without any co2 (this was done by using a picnic tap and a piece of tubing on the gas side for a vent). I took it to a brew club meeting and served it at room temp, it was a big hit. After talking about it here I think it's time to do it again especially since I am now doing all grain.

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Old 07-12-2006, 09:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
http://www.camra.org.uk/
By their definition, all homebrewers make real ale. We couldn't get rid of the yeast, short of killing it. There are some people that insist real ale isn't carbonated. That isn't part of the definition. Using a different yeast to bottle condition isn't exactly within the definition either.
The Oxford English Dictionary has a different view. Real ale, it says, is "a name for draft (or bottled) beer brewed from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide." So as long as you don't serve it with CO2, it's Real Ale.
As Brewiz said, you can condition in a corny. You don't have to purchase a pin, firkin, or actual barrel to serve from. I've found that tapping before conditioning is complete helps to provide that fresh cask mouthfeel.

Good luck,
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Old 07-12-2006, 03:24 PM   #5
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I'll stick with CAMRA's definition, they "built the field".

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Old 07-12-2006, 04:00 PM   #6
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Check out sonvolt's thread, he made a beer engine. This would be a great thing to try for a cask conditioned real ale.

British homebrewers sometimes use pressure barrels (king kegs). After secondary it goes into the barrel where it's primed. This releases gas when it gets to a certain pressure (4-10 psi) so It never really builds up much carbonation. We use CO2 to dispense these though so it's not a true 'real ale'. If you were to take the lid off and let it dispense naturally it would be. The oxidisation is part of the character of a real ale, but more than a couple of days and it would spoil the beer, hence the CO2. Pub's have a larger turnaround so they can afford to do this.

Cask conditioned real ale is served at cellar temps (10-13C I think) and there is slight carbonation.

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Old 07-12-2006, 04:29 PM   #7
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Terry Foster's "Pale Ale" has a great section on Cask ale. This is a "must have book!



http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/093...lance&n=283155

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Old 07-12-2006, 05:27 PM   #8
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Mmmmm! Just talking about cask conditioned ale makes my mouth water. IMO this is a far superior drinking experience than from the bottle or from the force-carbed keg. Part of this is the mouthfeel and part of it is the whole experience.

On the issue of carbonation - of course the beer should be carbonated. This carbonation should be done naturally, however. I prime my keg with DME in much the same way I do bottles. This creates a very mild carbonation. Then, the beer is served in such a manner that the carbonation is forced out of the beverage at serving time. Most beer engines are equipped with a sparkler but the pumping action gets a lot of the CO2 out of solution as well. This process creates that rich and creamy head that the makers of Boddington's Pub Ale try to get out of their nitrogen infused "widgets."

This is my favorite way to drink homebrew, although, all of our homebrews are technically considered "real ale."

As for the cask conditioning - I think that most brewers (even in England) are using stainless rather than oak casks or "firkins." We homebrewers can do a great job of cask conditioning in authentic ways with our corny kegs.

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Old 07-12-2006, 08:29 PM   #9
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I was very pleased with my first attempt at cask conditioning. I bought a party star mini keg system, brewed a blueberry ale, put it in the mini kegs, primed, let it sit for two weeks, and served. I served from the spigot for a while, then switched over to the tapper with the CO2 cartrige. Both ways served up a lightly carbonated beer with all the wonderful real ale flavor. I tried bottling the same beer, and it tastes good, but not as good as the cask conditioned stuff. I'm sold.

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Old 07-12-2006, 09:02 PM   #10
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I always liked the idea of serving beer straight from a tap in an oak cask but I guess that just wouldnt be realistic considering that it doesnt stay fresh for very long.

So will the DME that you prime the keg with supply enough pressure to force the beer out untill the beer is gone?

A beer engine is probably best for serving because then you dont have to add any DME but what about just using gravity? I've been thinking about it and is this even possible with a 5 gal keg?

I'd love to walk down to a large cellar that is about 55 F and pull a brew from one of the many oak casks that are full of ale. Thats how they did it in the old days right?

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