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Old 02-01-2011, 08:50 PM   #1
Northcalais40
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Default Beer Engine?

So the local AWESOME pub in Montpelier touts a beer engine. I did not have one, nor did anyone else while I was there. I did some research (not much) and I can't see how a beer engine differs from an old fashioned party tap, like the beer store rents you when you buy a keg. I understand that no artificial CO2 is used but doesn't the beer go stale like overnight?

What am I missing?


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Old 02-01-2011, 08:57 PM   #2
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Cask ale is only carbonated to about 1-1.5 volumes, so even if it's flat, you wont notice a huge difference. While a cask does allow a little bit of oxygen, the natural co2 that the beer produces usually offsets this. Cask ale is usually put into the barrel/keg before it's fully fermented. A hand pump like the one you mention actually forces air into the beer, so it goes bad much faster. Still...I wouldn't personally drink a cask ale that's more than a week old.

Is this bar actually serving real cask ale, or just normal kegs hooked up to a beer engine?


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Old 02-01-2011, 09:01 PM   #3
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Thanks.

I don't know if they are doing real cask ale, but if every thing else about the place is any indication, I'd guess that they are doing it the right way.

It's called the Three Penny Taproom. Worth the trip.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:12 PM   #4
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The beer engine is more like an old-fashioned water well pump than a party tap. The party tap pumps air into the keg until beer flows where the beer engine sucks up 1/4 or 1/2 a pint of beer at a time. If you have enough turn over, the beer in the cask will see very little air since the CO2 blanket should gently settle as the beer is pulled off.

If you don't have enough turnover, you can use a cask breather to provide replacement CO2. I think there's some debate as to whether it's still a "real ale" at that point, but I'd prefer risking CAMRA's wrath than serving badly oxidized beer.
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Old 02-01-2011, 10:15 PM   #5
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From what I understand, true cask ale does have to be served in a few days at most, and it definitely oxidizes slightly during the time--that oxidation is part of the joy of cask ale (you'll get a different tasting beer from day to day).


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