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Cask Conditioning Homebrew

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BioBeing

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How does one go about it? The wiki doesn't say, and a quick search didn't turn up any threads.

I have a bitter (this one) that is tasting very yummy at 4 days in the primary (gravity is currently 1.016). I'd like to serve it direct from a cask - but what do I need? A cask (where can I get a 5 gal cask?). A cellar at 55F (or a fridge I guess)? At what point do I put it in the cask, and how long does it stay there for before it is ready to drink?

Anyone done this?

Cheers!
 

Edcculus

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Unfortunately, cask beer must be consumed quickly after it is tapped. It is either served directly from the cask, or by beer engine. Both techniques draw in air to replace the volume. Air and beer dont really get along too well.

Compare it to your college days and keg parties. Those party taps pump in air to push the beer out. Ever taste beer out of a keg that didn't get floated the night before? Nasty! A good cask conditioned ale could last a bit longer than BMC keg beer, but not much.

I dont keg so take this with a grain of salt. In theory, you could prime it like you would a normal beer, then transfer to a corny keg. Give it a few weeks to condition. Then hook it up to C02 to serve. If you serve it using low pressure, and keep it off of the C02 when not being served, it should keep a low amount of carbonation.
 

fivehoursfree

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you couldn't pump Co2 into it, instead of just letting air flow in?
 
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BioBeing

BioBeing

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Don't have CO2 or cornies yet. I'm thinking pure gravity though: just open the tap on the cask and put you glass under.

But I see what you mean about it going stale. Hadn't thought that bit through. I guess if I were to have a party... but than I wouldn't have any beer left :(
 

tfries

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Since you do not have cornies, I am not sure what you are thinking of using. But if you did have cornies, you would want to prime the beer and carbonate in the keg. To serve, you can take your cornie and lay it down horizontal with the gas in connection at the bottom. Take a gas out connector and attach a valve or cobra tap to it and use gravity to dispense. You will need to attach something to the beer out connection to allow air to vent in.

As mentioned, since you are letting air vent in, you will want to consume the keg quickly. If you had CO2, you could also purge you keg at the end of the day to extend the life of the keg a few more days.

Another option is to use a polypin to carb in and dispense from. I have attached a picture showing these options. Note that in the picture, only the keg on the right is set up correctly, gas in connector on the bottom. The polypin is the plastic jug on top of the kegs.

 

Saccharomyces

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You'd need a corny keg and CO2 tank.

Prime as you would for bottles and transfer. Purge the keg and charge to 10psi to set the seals. Wait for carbonation. Dispense until the beer won't flow, then hit it with a few pounds of CO2, just enough to make the beer flow. That's it.
 

wild

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I naturally carb in a keg then hook it up to my DIY beer engine:

 
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BioBeing

BioBeing

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Since you do not have cornies, I am not sure what you are thinking of using.

...

Another option is to use a polypin to carb in and dispense from. I have attached a picture showing these options. Note that in the picture, only the keg on the right is set up correctly, gas in connector on the bottom. The polypin is the plastic jug on top of the kegs.
The polypin! I guess that is what I am looking for. Do you just rack to that from primary, add sugar, leave it a few days(?) to carb up, vent, then drink?
 
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BioBeing

BioBeing

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I naturally carb in a keg then hook it up to my DIY beer engine:
Looks good. Is it like an English hand-pull? What sort of keg do you use, and how does one carb it?

Thanks for the ideas everyone :mug:
 

Smurfe

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What I am going to do is use an aspirator valve between my tank and keg and use a beer engine to serve the beer. The aspirator lets a small dose of CO2 into the keg to blanket the beer but not enough to force carb. It is the method that many use when they can't finish a keg in a day or so.
 

tfries

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The polypin! I guess that is what I am looking for. Do you just rack to that from primary, add sugar, leave it a few days(?) to carb up, vent, then drink?
Yes, that is exactly what you need to do with the polypin. Keep an eye on the pressure while it is carbonating to make sure you do not build up too much to burst the bag.

Cheers,
Tom
 
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BioBeing

BioBeing

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Cool.

Next question: I know I have seen those plastic "cubes" somewhere online, but who sells them, and what are they called???? I'm thinking that if I put 1 gallon in a small one (and bottle the rest), at least I can get some draught beer. [Forgive me: I am English and I miss my real ale!]

Wiki link
 

killian

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I have heard of a mr.beer "keg" used for a cask. I have no idea if it would work well but it would work. If you are adding sugar to prime is it true that you would add a smaller amount to the keg than you would when bottling to reach the same volumes of co2?
 

Philsc

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So, instead of letting air in, you squeeze out the beer like your squeezing out toothpaste, thus keeping beer fresh longer?

Phil
 

david_42

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Bear republic uses those collapsible gallon containers. I've got a couple and they work well, even without squeezing.

wild - is that tap from an RV store? Looks like one of these:

 

Philsc

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What do mean when you say they work well? Does the beer engine suck the beer out collapsing the container? Does the beer keep longer because of this?
 

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I'm seconding the 5l minikeg with a built-in tap, also known as "Fass-Frisch" kegs. You can treat these in exactly the same manner as a traditional cask, from fining to spiling to serving.

You can get homebrew-sized casks from Paul Pendyke at UK Brewing. Unfortunately, they're bloody expensive. You're talking well over $250 to package 5 gallons of beer. And that's not counting the hand-pump!

If you have detailed questions about cellarmanship, just ask.

Bob
 

tfries

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What do mean when you say they work well? Does the beer engine suck the beer out collapsing the container? Does the beer keep longer because of this?
You probably would not want to use the bag with the beer engine. It would be hard to make a secure connection to the pump. The intended use is to just open the spout and allow gravity feed into your glass.
 

RedIrocZ-28

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So do you want to do a cask beer per traditional rules or do you want to use the definition of "cask" as coined by the 1973 movement of CAMRA?

IMO, using a keg and calling it a cask is not correct, because a cask is the secondary fermentation vessel that is also the serving vessel, and originally made out of wood or clay, but redefined in 1973 to include metal kegs. Casara being the spanish word for bark (like from a tree) it should be fitting that a Cask is made of wood, since Cask is derived from Casara.

/Elitist comment...
 

Philsc

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According to online etymology says 'cask' comes from 'casque' meaning helmet or skull, so some kind of hard protective receptacle, so that rules out the collapsible bottles. Mind you, I don't suppose that they are the last word in word origins.

Obviously, wooden casks trump kegs in terms of looks. There's beer out here in Canada, Innis and Gunn, that is wildly expensive because it spent some time in whiskey barrels before it got into the bottles, so apparently wood adds taste as well. To be honest, I just like live beer and would like to get round bottling loads of the stuff.
 

wild

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I don't brew as they did back in the day when they used wooden casks so I use the SS when conditioning.
 

Bob

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So do you want to do a cask beer per traditional rules or do you want to use the definition of "cask" as coined by the 1973 movement of CAMRA?

IMO, using a keg and calling it a cask is not correct, because a cask is the secondary fermentation vessel that is also the serving vessel, and originally made out of wood or clay, but redefined in 1973 to include metal kegs. Casara being the spanish word for bark (like from a tree) it should be fitting that a Cask is made of wood, since Cask is derived from Casara.

/Elitist comment...
Redefined? By whom? CAMRA? So CAMRA comes on the scene and causes massive, industry-wide change in serving-container material?

Elitist or not, your stance is - not to put too fine a point on it - incorrect. If "the secondary fermentation vessel that is also the serving vessel" happens to be a keg, guess what? It's a frickin' cask.

I don't know what you're misinterpreting from CAMRA, but unlined wood casks haven't been used by British brewers since the early 19th century. At that time, metal linings - steel or aluminum - came into vogue. For that matter, for centuries before that, wood casks were lined with brewer's pitch. Pertinent to this post, all-metal casks were in widespread British use long before WWII, much less 1973.

Wood is nice. Wood is romantic. Wood - untreated/unlined wood, that is - just isn't all that good for beer. Brewers 'back then' realized the inherent problems of wood, fixed them, and now we've got metal.

Clay? From whence comes that bit of - again, not to put too fine a point on it - nonsense? Clay pots used for chicha, or the clay pots Egyptians and Sumerians used?

Respectfully,

Bob
 

RedIrocZ-28

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Bob, I do see your points and I do agree with some of them.

Here is what I google'd to show the relationship between Cask beer, CAMRA, etc. Its far too long to type out a reasonable response to your post using this article.
Cask ale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

But in direct response to the topic: "Cask means container. The word comes from the Spanish cáscara which means tree bark, in the sense that the bark surrounds and holds the tree in the way that a cask surrounds and holds the beer. The Histories of Herodotus, written in 424 BC, refers to “casks of palm-wood filled with wine” being moved by boat to Babylon, though clay vessels would also have been used. Stout wooden barrels held together with an iron hoop were developed by the north European Celts during the Iron Age for storing goods. But whether the “cask” was made of clay, palm-wood or oak, whether it was a barrel, a pot or a storage jar, all had one thing in common: they all contained unfiltered, unpasteurised beer."

:shrug:

Also: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cask
 
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"Cask means container. The word comes from the Spanish cáscara which means tree bark, in the sense that the bark surrounds and holds the tree in the way that a cask surrounds and holds the beer.
Cool information. The Spanish terms "corteza del árbol" or "cáscara del árbol" refer to "tree bark".
 

DubbelDach

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Did an IPA last summer and put it in a pin. HBTer jaysus got the pin for use at his wedding (Troeg's filled it for him), and it was sitting unused. He got it from UKbrewing.com Here's the first pour and the pin on my bar:



We primed with 1/2 cup of corn sugar and let it condition in my basement (60F) for a few weeks. We were expecting a little more carbonation that it actually had.



We had about 20 people over and kicked it in about 3 hours. It was about 6% and dryhopped with Cascade. With a long pour, it bubbled up a bit. Great flavor, I just wish I had an engine to hit it with some bubbles on the way out. Might look into that RV pump...



The pin in action again a few weeks ago...
 

Philsc

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Sorry to get side tracked by the words, but I am a bit of a logophile.

In my search on online etymology Online Etymology Dictionary for 'cask', one of the last entries on the page was 'keg' from old Norse 'kaggi', which they translated as 'keg/cask'. I'm sure they made their kegs out of wood back then.

But whether the “cask” was made of clay, palm-wood or oak, whether it was a barrel, a pot or a storage jar, all had one thing in common: they all contained unfiltered, unpasteurised beer."
That's why I'm getting into this game, to drink live beer.

$30 for a beer engine. That's great.
 

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these guys will be a cheap source of casks in the stateshttp://www.plastickegsamerica.com/v1/products_pin.html

i cask condition about 90% of the beer i produce(61776 uk gallons in the last year!) i use these casks along with others (steel and the eco plastic cask made by global polymer solutions) you can either rack when fully fermented or rack with about 5% still to go to provide the conditioning(i use the latter method). plastic casks of america do pins(4.5uk gallons) or firkins(9uk gallons)
 

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Thoughs are pretty nice, but it says you have to order a minimum of 5 kegs from them I don't want that many.
 
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BioBeing

BioBeing

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They also say they are not suitable for home brewing.

As an update - I did try the 1 gallon plastic polypins, and they worked OK. I was always afraid they were going to overcarb though, so I'd let some gas out, and then the beer ended up flat.

I currently have a 5 gallon SS pin which I'm trying for the first time this week...
 
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