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Old 06-08-2012, 01:35 AM   #1
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Default What's so special about firkins?

So what's the big deal with these? Beer geeks (I'm one too...) seem to get excited about a firkin of XYZ beer being tapped. It doesn't really seem all that special to me. From what I understand it's basically a small keg with a different way to dispense. And the whole tapping / sealing aspect seems to be a pain in the ass. Now I can see a real barrel or cask being something special even just for presentation value but I just don't get the hub bub about firkins. Am I missing something?

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Old 06-08-2012, 02:07 AM   #2
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Interesting.
I await a response.

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Old 06-08-2012, 02:15 AM   #3
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In general a firkin IS a cask - so I'm sure that's part of the draw, it's also small - so limited supply.

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Old 06-08-2012, 02:54 PM   #4
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Right, so a "cask" is just another word for barrel or keg and one of this size is called a firkin. I guess what I'm getting at is that it's nothing more than a smaller vessel right? If it was made of wood or something I could see something special about it at least in regards to appearance, flavor impact from wood, etc. Basically it's a larger corny keg with a picnic tap on it and no CO2 hooked up right?

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Old 06-08-2012, 03:15 PM   #5
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i think the point is such when there is no need for oaking but wating to age or dry hop in a stainless container.

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Old 06-08-2012, 03:26 PM   #6
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Beer served from a cask or firkin is served at a warmer temperature, and typically less carbonated.

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Old 06-08-2012, 03:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnyhitch1 View Post
i think the point is such when there is no need for oaking but wating to age or dry hop in a stainless container.
Yep, I was asking more from a presentation / serving at a bar standpoint. Fermentation and storage by any brewery is done typically on huge scales.

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Originally Posted by j1laskey View Post
Beer served from a cask or firkin is served at a warmer temperature, and typically less carbonated.
Again, nothing special here. I can dial down to low CO2 (or put none on) and serve at whatever temp I want.

To be clear, I'm not trying to be difficult or be a dick. There just always seems to be excitement about a firkin showing up somewhere, but I just don't get it. If it's quantity / scarcity I guess that makes some sense, but in my opinion it doesn't seem much different than a sixtel or two of special beer being on tap somewhere. If you want warmer temps and lower carb then most any bar worth their salt can accommodate that. Some special vessel isn't needed IMO. My guess so far is that it's scarcity / low quantity available combined with a unique or different sounding name to be used for marketing purposes.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:45 PM   #8
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It's usually not the way it's dispensed that excited people about firkins, but rather what thie pin actually contains.

Many firkins are usually "one-offs" of beers, often taking a regular beer at racking time, and often dry hopping, adding fruit, spice, or other "crap" to it to make it more unique.

Google "Firkin Friday" and you'll see a lot of interesting, varied results.

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Old 06-08-2012, 03:47 PM   #9
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Ah! Now I see. That makes perfect sense. Thanks chumprock!

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Old 06-08-2012, 03:55 PM   #10
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For people really big into British "Real Ales" - cask conditioned beer is important. It is primed right in the firkin - (yes similar to naturally carbing in a keg at home). If the firkin lasts a few days you can taste the difference in carbonation and oxidation.

That said, part of the hype is what chumprock said - something rare or special in the keg. These things are filled manually for the most part - not on some big machine. Then there's the whole tapping ritual that some places do.

There's a brewing TV episode on firkins here:

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