"Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Bottles, Kegs, Casks, Polypins or however you serve your brew.

"Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby PeeBee » Tue Feb 16, 2016 20:07

11/06/16 EDIT: Some minor edits to the main article (the second post in this thread). Mainly a rearrangement (and some corrections) ahead of posting a "how-to" (yes, I'm still doing it).

EDIT: 29/02/16 The complete article is posted in the next post to this thread. The article is attached as a MS Word document to this post.

I got a mauling over my previous post on this subject (a bit over a week ago); let's see if I can do better this time! But I did take on a lot of the previous comments, this is a rewrite.

First off, I'll try to define what this post is for: This is a "call for assistance", I am NOT trying to post a "how-to"; or not yet anyway! I've been trying to fix myself up with "Real Ale" style home brew which has proven to be pretty tricky. Eventually achieving a fair closeness to my goal threw up a way of looking at things that I couldn't find described elsewhere; probably because it's not a field close to the "craft beer" movement and hasn't been under the "craft beer" microscope like so many beer brewing subjects of late (after all, it's a very "British" desire and you don't find much "Real Ale" style beyond these shores). But the basis of my conclusions is "conjecture" (expression of an opinion without sufficient evidence for proof). Now "conjecture" is fine as long as there is a weight of people who don't disapprove, or I can dig up supporting evidence (at which point it is no longer "conjecture").

Phew, heady stuff! But if I don't go about it this way I could end up peddling complete garbage to inexperienced folk who have no reason to question it!

Right, that out the way: I got a lot of criticism last time for not posting the entire article, just an excerpt. Well I'm not posting the entire article this time either (I haven't rewritten it all!) but I am showing a completed "first instalment" which nicely limits the points of discussion to something manageable. The main topic of discussion is the "graph". If the "graph" holds up, so should the recommendations I make from it. My "perceived as flat" comment gets another airing here too, hopefully it wont be attracting quite so much controversy as last time!

I'm not intentionally ignoring efforts already made in this direction (e.g. "polypins" and even "real" casks). But those methods require considerable skill to get right, I wanted something that anyone (and me!) could try out with the kit they are already using.

To avoid some of the comments from last time: I've been a home brewer and a drinker of "Real Ale" for over 40 years. And that long ago it was pretty difficult to find any decent "Real Ale"! In the last 12 months I established my new brewery, 40-65L capacity, HERMS/RIMS hybrid and permanently installed (still building the "pub" to properly house my hand-pumps and collection of "Cornie" kegs).

That's a whole load of babble! Okay, let's get going...

Last edited by PeeBee on Sat Jun 11, 2016 18:53, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby PeeBee » Tue Feb 16, 2016 20:10

EDIT: 11/06/16 Minor edits/corrections ahead of posting "how to...".

EDITS: 29/02/16 Converting textual JPGs to native format.
EDIT: 26/02/16 This includes the third and final instalment of my article (pages 5-6). The original instalments have had some minor edits including some changes to the graph to better reflect reality with corresponding changes to the supporting documentation.
EDIT: 22/02/16 This includes the "second instalment" of my article (pages 3-4). The original instalment (pages 1-2) contains some minor edits suggested by viewer of this thread.

Once considered to meet with approval it will be posted as a completed article with "Part 2 - Practical" as a "How to...". The article is attached as a MS Word document to this post.

Part I – Reasoning
“Real Ale” style beer is something of a challenge to those home-brewers that want it. Some very dedicated souls have arrived at solutions, but they often need plenty of dedication to maintain them too. How can you arrive at a “Real Ale” style with the (“keg”) equipment in common use by home brewers? Meanwhile along came the “craft beer” movement stirring up a need amongst UK home-brewers to construct “kegerators”, install involved CO2 systems, manage stainless steel kegs, build complex breweries incorporating the latest HERMS and RIMS ideas, and so on. But the “craft beer” movement is very much “new world” driven so there’s has been no significant effort towards the “Real Ale” style (“flat and warm” being a common misconception about traditional British beer).

So the idea of “Real Ale” (“cask conditioned”) style Home Brewed beer is set to die out? Well not necessarily, surely something can be done with this wealth of new equipment, motivation and techniques established by the so-called “craft beer” movement?

Let’s start by looking at commercial practices used presently and what might be made of them.
Conditioning real ale II.jpg
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“Real Ale”; the ultimate aim? It is cask conditioned, served without assistance from extraneous CO2, at very low carbonation rates and at “cellar” temperature; 12-14°C. As beer is served from the cask air takes its place. It may be gravity delivered into a drinking vessel or pumped using a “beer engine” (“hand pump”). Conditioning includes some carbonation from fermenting sugars remaining in the beer or added to it (“priming”) resulting in perhaps 1.2-1.5 “volumes” of CO2 dissolved in the beer (1 “volume” is when a volume of liquid has an equal volume of gas dissolved in it). The beer is never filtered, but may be “fined”, “isinglass” being a common clearing, or fining, agent. As the beer is open to the air the dissolved CO2 will, over several days, dissipate and oxygen gets absorbed into the beer. Spoilage organisms may also access and eventually sour the beer or otherwise cause it to go off: Sounds grim, but it’s not kept that long.

CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) successfully championed this traditional style as a result of it almost dying out in the 1960-70s due to unchecked commercialism. They also coined the term “Real Ale”.

Because the beer could go off after 2-3 days, admitting air is replaced by some publicans with CO2 at atmospheric pressure using a device called a “breather”. The claim is that the beer will keep a few days longer, but some vendors of “breathers” may stipulate that this extension is only a day. CAMRA don’t really approve of “breathers”. They controversially argued that oxygen in the air initially has beneficially flavour impact. That may well be, but there is also a suggestion that the use of “breathers” may indicate shoddy practices elsewhere having a dire impact on the beer’s quality.

Arguments aside, from a home brewing perspective “breathers” can look attractive. Home brewers can’t open their beer to the air because it will go off. Replacing beer being drawn off with CO2 at only atmospheric pressure sounds ideal; but why the suggestions of only short life extension? The beer isn’t going off? We need to take a more detailed look at what is going on.
Conditioning Graph I.jpg
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Looking at two casks of identical beer: After conditioning they are “vented” for a few hours ahead of serving using a gas permeable plug (“soft spile”) to release built up pressure because drinkers don’t really want a glass of froth! But even after “venting” the beer will still contain dissolved CO2 from the conditioning; about 1.1-1.2 “volumes”. One cask is fitted with a “breather”, the other isn’t (“Real Ale”). And then… This is going to be “techie”, I’ll keep it within the next four paragraphs…

The cask of “Real Ale” remains open to the atmosphere; as beer is served air takes its place diluting the CO2 in the cask (air only contains about 400ppm of CO2). Dissolved CO2 continues to disperse, and the rate of dispersal accelerates as more air dilutes the remaining CO2 in the cask (this happens because the “partial pressure” of CO2 in the cask gets less... err, “partial…” what? I think we can skip past this). A gas impermeable plug (“hard spile”) may be used when not serving to slow this process.

The cask with the “breather” contains beer continually surrounded by CO2 so the beer still gives up excess CO2 but stops when it contains the maximum CO2 it can hold at atmospheric pressure; in this case “equilibrium” will leave the beer “saturated” in CO2 (about 0.9 “volumes” at 14°C).

Take an arbitrary figure of one “volume” of CO2; a cask of “Real Ale” will reach that level quicker than a cask fitted with a “breather”: Think of a bucket of water, drill a hole half way up the side and water starts streaming out; drill the same sized hole near the bottom of the bucket and the water streams out of this hole very much faster.

Compared to the “Real Ale”, beer in a cask with a “breather” loses carbonation more slowly but then retains much of it too. So it stays drinkable indefinitely? Well not exactly. As carbonation gets less it eventually passes a point where the majority of people perceive the beer as “flat”. This statement will be lost on many drinkers of highly carbonated beverages to whom “cask conditioned” beer starts out “flat”. The point at which a drinker perceives beer to be flat is very subjective, hence vendors of “breathers” put out varying figures for how long their product “extends” the life of beer and why some home brewers swear by “breathers” as a way of getting “Real Ale” style beer from their home-brew and others say using “breathers” does nothing for their beer. But all home-brewers will agree, let air have its way with their beer and it will be undrinkable in a matter of days.

“Perceived as flat”? Well there’s “flat”, no CO2 present at all, and “perceived as flat”, such as the perception drinkers of highly carbonated drinks have of “Real Ale”. The concept is pretty elusive, based on expectation, experiences, desires, fashion, etc. (a bit like “opinion polls”!). If pushed you can “train” your perception of “flatness”; like most kids hate Brussel Sprouts, but some adults can’t get enough of them. Such a tentative concept can’t possibly be drawn as a “cumulative distribution curve”; so that’s what I’ll do then!
Conditioning perceived as flat.jpg
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The thing to extract from this is there will be a level of carbonation that “Real Ale” drinkers find acceptable (not flat and not fizzy). It may vary from one person to the next but for the sake of this article, let’s say 1.1 “volumes” of CO2 (about equivalent to 2PSI of CO2 at 14°C). And from that you can conclude that a “Real Ale” style does not mean it has to be truly flat. This is an important concept behind some of the upcoming recommendations. Coincidentally some CAMRA literature puts 1.1 volumes down as optimum cask beer condition, but certainly doesn’t suggest “2PSI of CO2”!

First a bit of history: In 50-60 years of home-brewing (in the UK it sprang into being when Reginald Maudling removed duty from home brewed alcohol in 1963) not a lot has changed in its serving methods: There was bottling of course and then along came plastic “pressure barrels”. Those after something closer to draft “Real Ale” always had “polypins”; collapsible bags that once contained sherry in the local off-license. Gas injection for pressure barrels came about making it possible to get the beer out at any time (without loosening the cap!), and eventually even pressure dials.

There was, and is still, always a small gang of enthusiasts who will use “real” pub tackle like casks (wooden casks even), spiles, taps that work together with “keystones”, and so forth.

Pressure barrels have improved quite a bit since the earlier days, but their use with CO2 is usually a bit adhoc. They are often over-primed and over-pressured, with a good squirt of CO2 added now and again. Careful management of the CO2 wasn’t generally the case with them (and still isn’t?).

Some very acceptable “cask conditioned” style home brewed beer can be served from “polypins”, but they are far from ideal: When conditioning the bags expand alarmingly and as they deflate the dissolved CO2 slowly dissipates until the beer contains less than 1 “volume” of dissolved CO2 and the beer may well be “perceived as flat”. They are also slightly permeable to gases so CO2 levels are free to drop even lower and the beer can also oxidise (four to six weeks is about the maximum keeping time). If priming is managed carefully some of these problems can be got around. They are also now available in smaller sizes making them more physically manageable (a box helps handling but is often not used). Finally, there are other systems such as the “bag-in-box”, or “BIB”, that are not troubled by oxidation, but are often “one-shot” (not particularly expensive though). I don’t dismiss “polypins” and recommend keeping an eye on advances, but I don’t consider them suitable for the scenario being pursued here because they can be so tricky to operate well.
Conditioning home brew.jpg
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About twenty years ago the “craft brewing” movement kicked off and with it big changes to the American home brewing scene. Gradually more equipment, ingredients and techniques began to filter through to UK home brewing. Today home-brewers are comfortable with big CO2 cylinders, carbonation measured in “volumes of CO2”, CO2 regulators, even “kegerators” and “keezers”. Techniques like HERMS and RIMS became the new “wants”. Stainless steel “kegs” came onto the market (“Cornelius” kegs ex- “Coca Cola”, etc., and more recently designed-for-purpose kegs) and these kegs began replacing the old plastic pressure barrel. But, apart from some very intrepid souls, those wanting “cask conditioned” type beer are still left with those old stalwarts, the “polypins”.

And what of “craft brewing”? In its commonly (mis-)understood sense it strongly influences UK home brewing as mentioned. But it’s an invention of the American Brewers Association and it truly means something no better than 20th century British “keg beer”. Be cautious how you use the term.
Conditioning keg beers.jpg
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Keg “beers” are what was being imposed on the British public in the 1960-70s until CAMRA hit back. Chilled, filtered, pasteurised and force carbonated at very high pressure, they don’t deserve any further description here. “Craft” beer is also “keg” but can be (not “is”) considerably more subtle: Not necessarily as cold, sometimes not filtered or pasteurised and possibly not force carbonated (relying on natural secondary fermentation as well as extraneous CO2). UK home brewing now commonly uses these “craft brewing” techniques, though fortunately in the afore mentioned “deluded” sense. The styles fit with bottling and also the influx of “Cornelius” keg type serving containers.

Having explored some of the parameters of “cask conditioned” beer I can start laying out what’s needed to “emulate” a “cask conditioned” beer with our home brew. The obvious one is condition the beer in the cask as opposed to force carbonating cleared (“bright”) beer. Conditioning in the cask is responsible for all sorts of subtle flavour enhancements (contains a lot of “live” yeast for a start); it’s also not difficult to achieve since most of us have little choice but to do just that (condition in the cask). Maintaining “cellar temperature” (12-14°C) need not be a big deal, there is usually a room (garage) that is a bit cooler than others; hot weather can cause problems, be very aware that warmer beer will hold less carbonation at a given pressure (above 16°C the beer won't hold on to any appreciable carbonation at 2psi). There’s also lots of other mechanisms that provide subtle flavour enhancements, like contact with air, but these can all be ignored for now so providing the scope for mucking about in future should it take your fancy. The “biggy” is getting the serving pressure down; a simple idea but fairly difficult in reality.

Assuming you have upright containers (like the ubiquitous “Corny” keg) and regulated CO2 distribution systems, the main problem is that the commonly used regulators are crude and will not reliably follow a low pressure settings; they tend to stick. Even the more specialist regulators can be quite iffy controlling pressures of 5PSI or lower. But there are relatively low cost regulators that can work at very low pressures… LPG or propane regulators. There is nothing new about using LPG regulators for home brew, they just haven’t widely caught on. The “fixed” sort will regulate at 37mbar (about 0.5PSI) and the variable ones 50-150mbar (about 0.75 to 2.0PSI). Most are fitted with standard couplers (“POL”) which are inconvenient, but you can get them with “plain” BSP threads. They work using a “diaphragm”, not a “cylinder”, and don’t stick at low pressure. The diaphragm gives them a “flying saucer” appearance! I can’t recommend 37mbar ones unless using a hand-pump, because 37mbar isn’t enough puff to move any beer out of a half empty “Corny” keg. Actually for many of us 37mbar maintains a level of carbonation well below personal “perceived as flat” level.
Conditioning cask HB.jpg
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Beer is primed as normal to generate 1.1 to 1.3 “volumes” of CO2 (2-5PSI at cellar temperatures). Fit the LPG regulator when the beer is ready for serving, but delay fitting if the beer has got itself enormously over pressured and threatens to fill the regulator with beer. As dissolved CO2 in the beer dissipates the regulator is set to prevent pressure dropping below the carbonation level that may be “perceived as flat”. Super-imposing this on the graph used earlier gives:
Conditioning Graph II.jpg
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As soon as beer is drawn out the dissolved “volumes” of CO2 starts fading away in the remaining beer; a LPG regulator keeps the beer with sufficient dissolved CO2 to never be regarded as “flat”. As a side effect, the slight positive pressure means the lids on a “Corny” keg can stay sealed. Another useful side-effect is if the beer is ever exposed to warmer temperatures (14°C plus) when its cooled again the beer reabsorbs CO2 restoring the "condition" it lost.

It should be made clear that commercial systems of holding back the inevitable decline of beer in a cask have usually met with, often justified, hostility amongst drinkers and the CAMRA organisation. Okay, home brew so treated cannot be “Real Ale” in the strictest sense, but it’s a lot closer than many home brewers (me included!) assumed possible! Oh, and before folk get unnecessarily excited; there is a difference between "Real Ale" and "real ale".
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Cask Conditioned HB - Pt I - Take 2.docx
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby supersteve » Tue Feb 16, 2016 20:56

So you're looking for an answer to a multi-million pound question? how to produce Real Ale which lasts forever.. don't write it as an article, sell it to Marstons.
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby PeeBee » Tue Feb 16, 2016 23:30

supersteve wrote:So you're looking for an answer to a multi-million pound question? how to produce Real Ale which lasts forever.. don't write it as an article, sell it to Marstons.


No, that aint what I'm looking for. Though a multi-million pound hand-out wont be sniffed at.
I want to know if my "logic" stands up, and if not, why not? I want to be sure that how I see carbonation in beer decaying seems reasonable to others. Then I can start making outlandish claims in the rest of the article!
And I'm being careful not to mention just "real ale" but use "real ale" style ("once bitten, twice shy"). I'm being equally careful not to suggest or ask for any "solutions": The thread will just dissolve into a slanging match if I try that again!
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby Zod » Wed Feb 17, 2016 08:39

bit early for me to digest all that, but are you basically looking for cask that will allow beer to be dispensed without air entering the cask? If so, then I could imagine a collapsible inner wall/bag which will shrink to the volume of the beer as it is dispensed and allow air into the cask around it on the outside, thus avoiding a vacuum effect and not being able to dispense the beer. That type of technology is used in things like shave gels, which have 'bag-in-can' packaging.

if that's not at all what you are looking for, then apologies!

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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby supersteve » Wed Feb 17, 2016 09:27

Casks loose carbonation because they're not pressurised.. take the lid off a coke bottle and it'll go flat.. open a new bottle of coke and pour your self a glass every day until you're down to the last glass and it'll be flat.. it's because the CO2 that escapes can't build up enough pressure to keep any more CO2 in solution so it all dissipates.
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby Aleman » Wed Feb 17, 2016 09:40

Real ale style cask conditioned beer that does not lose carbonation over time is possible.


It's called bottles!

please note:The use of punctuation, bold, underlining, italics, and different sized type, follows the convention used in writing, for many years, to place emphasis on the point being made, and to highlight the importance of that point in the opinion of the author. It is not the intention of the author to shout, if that was the case the author would adopt the, much more recent, convention of using all capital letters.
Albert Einstein wrote:Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby calumscott » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:58

PeeBee, at first glance this is reading a lot more coherently than your first draught. Well done for that!

Your basic premises seem logical too. That being:

1) Real Ale (as defined by CAMRA) is a short shelf life, high turnover, high risk product. It is also, as you suggest and as Graham W asserted firmly last time out, often very misunderstood amongst the hipster "craft beer" quaffers. (Caveat: I'll nail my colours to the mast here. I'm no hipster. However I would like to put it on record that just as there is phenomenal cask conditioned real ale out there, there is also utter dross which has to be called real ale because it fits the CAMRA technical definition. By the same token the same is true of "American style" craft beer on top-pressure keg dispense - there are both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. I love the phenomenal end of the spectrum of both products.)
2) That "true" real ale, tapped and spiled, technically should lose C02 faster than a CO2 aspirated one. Aspirated only has the physical reduction in pressure, "true" has the additional partial-pressure reduction of the replacement gas being around 0.035% CO2. Logically sound at least.

Some things to address though in terms of balance.

It's not just CAMRA that believe that a *little* O2 in a well kept, particularly south of Englandshire style ales isn't a bad thing. As Graham pointed out previously, real live ales served in more traditional manners will change through the life of the keg, firstly getting more interesting and generally better, the key to success being to flog the whole cask by the point where it starts to slide off the back of that normal distribution bell curve!

Trouble is, it's not just quantity of O2 that spoils a beer, it's length of exposure too. Once it's in (and assuming that it hasn't been mitigated by the yeast in a standard Krebs-cycle respiration phase i.e. primed beer) then it's starting the damage process, it doesn't stop (I think...).

Which is why, those of us who choose not to bottle, tend to top-pressure CO2 in one form or another.

Me, to be honest I'm a bit lazy and I go with the "chuck 5psi on top for British styles and about 10psi for american" suck it and see approach. I drink easily a 30l keg a month and don't mind tinkering with pressures and stuff if it's not coming out right. All my beer is live, I don't filter and I don't fine. It tastes great. Do I miss the "true real ale" thing? Nope. I have one of Oxforshire's very best pubs as my local! I'm lucky I guess.

Others have their home bar tuned to perfection with 0.5-1psi of top pressure which is acceptable to hand pulling from a keg, in fact I think they do this on the festival bar? The only O2 effect you get in the flavour of the beer is from the pour so it won't be as pronounced as in a well kept/served cask but the carbonation level should be there or thereabouts.

Then there's polypins. I can understand the logic of why they aren't perfect. You still have to consume at least part of the 20L in a shortish time as the initial CO2 offgassing starts to only fill space and not maintain pressure. Again, further work will be needed to understand where that transition point is. I think they'd be ideal for a summer weekend of BBQing and entertaining though where, just like the on-trade, you know your demand and will burn through the stock quickly enough to prevent waste.

The one remaining contentious point for me though is the "flat" perception. Those with an appreciation of real/cask ale understand "flat" to be something other than do most of the population - particularly the mass-market swill-consumers for whom Stella is "good beer" and the hipsters for whom there is no other proper style than reasonably (sometimes very) fizzy American style, massively "hop or malt forward but never showcase the yeast" style beers. They're never going to get it, unless someone sits them down and drills it into them Graham Wheeler style! ;) Anyway, the point was that your article is, as I understand it, aimed at those who know and love the proper cask style and for whom "flat" is a lot less carb than those labouring under that "common misconception".

Anyway, much better in style structure, I think a little more focus to the intended readership (we know what "the other people" think about real ale!) and if you possibly can dig up real facts and figures to support the hypotheses you really are on the right track this time!

:hat:

But just a side note to some of what looks like negativity - the OP is trying to create something, trying to do something good for amateur brewers and going about it, IMO, the right way. Hypothesise, invite comment, discussion and expertise, improve himself (which he has now clearly demonstrated he can), improve his document (which he has now clearly demonstrated he can) and maybe, just maybe produce something decent that will give us and home brewers in the future just another thing to think about. We don't know it all. I don't know it all, PeeBee doesn't know it all. The only way to get anywhere close to knowing it all is through collective and constructive discussion, testing, experiment, refinement and drinking of beer.

Help don't hinder. :thumb:
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby Springer » Wed Feb 17, 2016 15:13

This is not intended to be a hinder PB, I would like to know where your "article" is aimed. I have been drinking for 50 years and brewing this last 10 using kegs, pins and bottles. but had difficulty understanding what was being said. :scratch:
As I said, trying to be helpful, don't want anyone to feel that they have had a mauling :)
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby PeeBee » Wed Feb 17, 2016 21:01

Springer wrote:This is not intended to be a hinder PB, I would like to know where your "article" is aimed. I have been drinking for 50 years and brewing this last 10 using kegs, pins and bottles. but had difficulty understanding what was being said. :scratch:


Hello Springer. This thread is a "fact finding" or "idea confirming" one so I presume it is aimed at brewers with plenty of experience, but I wouldn't exclude anyone.

If all this leads to me getting an article out that will be aimed at anyone who wants to try get closer to a "real ale" style brew but probably not those who already do a good (better even) job of it. I'd also like to attract anyone addicted to keg beer who wants to give it a try. So I want to be using things that we already have and are comfortable with, and not add a whole lot of extra expense. And any "solution" will just be an example of using the information I'm trying to glean, I will not attempt to dictate a solution on anyone! At that stage (an article) experienced or beginner doesn't matter, after all a year ago I was looking all over for this sort of stuff.

I want to encourage more dabbling in the "British beer" style because the "craft brewing" movement has had an enormous influence on home brewing but doesn't cover "British beer" or "Real Ale" styles very well; why should it, it isn't British! And any dabbling hopefully offers me an opportunity to gain from it (pay back!).

Springer wrote:As I said, trying to be helpful, don't want anyone to feel that they have had a mauling :)
S

Okay, so perhaps I just picked up just a few scratches last time, a bit short of a mauling.
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby Kyle_T » Wed Feb 17, 2016 21:31

It's an improvement :thumb:

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2u

Postby Springer » Thu Feb 18, 2016 00:02

That's fine, think I understood most of the abridged version. :D
I don't worry about styles etc. if I like it I drink it, three mediums mentioned accommodate my needs quite well. :)
As I said, have spent 50 years drinking what I call good beer, apart from a few early ones drinking Double Diamond, before I knew any better.:lol:
Always prepared to listen and learn ;)
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby PeeBee » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:24

Thanks everyone. I'm just getting together the next "instalment" encouraged by the better reception I received for this subject this time around. I've also got to deal with some of the points Calum has kicked up. All this plus my doctor's orders not to stay seated for more than 20 minutes at a time! I might not be able to progress this as fast as I'd like.
Cheers!
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby calumscott » Fri Feb 19, 2016 10:39

PeeBee wrote:my doctor's orders not to stay seated for more than 20 minutes at a time!


You need a "standing desk" PeeBee... :thumb:
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby Aleman » Fri Feb 19, 2016 13:03

One thing you may want to look at is CAMRA's book Cellarmanship by o'Neill, It goes into this in an awful lot of detail

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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby PeeBee » Fri Feb 19, 2016 13:57

Aleman wrote:One thing you may want to look at is CAMRA's book Cellarmanship by o'Neill, It goes into this in an awful lot of detail

That looks interesting! I do feel at times I'm beating a rather solitary path through this subject; and then sounding a bit "cocky" when writing it up!
Thanks.

calumscott wrote:
PeeBee wrote:my doctor's orders not to stay seated for more than 20 minutes at a time!


You need a "standing desk" PeeBee... :thumb:

Crikey! Seems I can get advice on more than just brewing around here! Anyway, my 20 mins is up, time to move... :D
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby Dennis King » Fri Feb 19, 2016 14:09

+1 for the CAMRA book.
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby PeeBee » Fri Feb 19, 2016 16:15

Dennis King wrote:+1 for the CAMRA book.


Thanks Dennis. I'll have it tomorrow (got to get some use out of that Amazon Prime subscription apart from lots of telly watching! :shock: ). I've been coming across you a fair bit lately, researching "polypins" (it's a few decades since I was playing with them). You are on my list of "toes I must try not to tread on"! :D
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby Springer » Fri Feb 19, 2016 19:12

PeeBee wrote: researching "polypins" (it's a few decades since I was playing with them

Well worth a revisit, especially with a good beer in them. :D
S

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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby Dennis King » Fri Feb 19, 2016 21:17

PeeBee wrote:Thanks Dennis. You are on my list of "toes I must try not to tread on"! :D


Don't worry about me, I've been married nearly 40 years so I'm used to being trodden on.
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby Good Ed » Fri Feb 19, 2016 22:49

Springer wrote:
PeeBee wrote: researching "polypins" (it's a few decades since I was playing with them

Well worth a revisit, especially with a good beer in them. :D
S


Also you can use 10L pins, they actually contain about 12L so you can split your brew in 2 and not be forced to drink it all so quick.

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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby supersteve » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:18

You can use 5L mini kegs, then design a system which uses a hand pull from some sort of dip tube through the top. real cask conditioned ale through a hand pull at 5L a time.. I'm sure that's managable.
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby Springer » Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:07

supersteve wrote:You can use 5L mini kegs, then design a system which uses a hand pull from some sort of dip tube through the top. real cask conditioned ale through a hand pull at 5L a time.. I'm sure that's managable.


Those mini kegs are another good option, :D just as long as your helpful wife doesn't throw two away before you get to give them a try. :doh:
There are instructions on utube on how to deal with them. :)
S
P.S. dealing with mini kegs that is, not " a helpful wife" :lol:

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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby PeeBee » Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:23

Good Ed wrote:...Also you can use 10L pins, they actually contain about 12L so you can split your brew in 2 and not be forced to drink it all so quick.


supersteve wrote:You can use 5L mini kegs, then design a system which uses a hand pull from some sort of dip tube through the top. real cask conditioned ale through a hand pull at 5L a time.. I'm sure that's managable.


You're all running ahead of me! I will be discussing "polypins" later (the problem I'd have is my brewery has 40L minimum capacity and polypins have a "best before" caveat - but that's all by-the-way...). "Hand-pumps" I discuss much later on, and include a bit on "intermediary" vessels.

But just now I'm discussing the "hypotheses" behind what I suggest. I caused a bit of controversy with it last time so I want to get it right this time! :thumb:

EDIT: I've not got "theories", they're "hypotheses". Okay, now I am getting over cautious! :)
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Re: "Cask Conditioned" Home Brew - Take 2

Postby Kev888 » Sat Feb 20, 2016 13:00

There are many 'real' reasons why home brewers may be drawn to emulating cask-ale, but unfortunately I struggle with the article's (apparent) suggestion that CAMRA's definitions should be one of them, or should dictate how it is done. Its clearly ridiculous to imagine that our beer would 'actually' become fake or unreal if we adopted other practices, and we are deeply unlikely to start brewing poor quality, fizzy cack for ourselves if we did.

CAMRA's (much needed) approach was aimed at improving the industry, which has rather different situations and objectives to contend with. It was not aimed at home brewers, and so the ideals don't necessarily result in better beer in home brewing situations. Nor do we need to be pushed into making good quality beer for ourselves by external organisations. So IMO there is little justification for home brewers trying to work within such restrictions 'if' there are more appropriate solutions for us wrt overall quality of the beer (such as cask breathers).

That aside, I very much like the idea of pursuing methods which could produce 'and sustain' cask-like qualities at home. Though what exactly those qualities are may be open to preference, since cask beer changes character day to day. I'm one of those who likes a little oxidation but 'not' at the expense of sour and utterly flat beer towards the end of the barrel/cask, even if it takes weeks to drink. I'm not sure its possible to do that, but its a noble quest.

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