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School Of Hops

What is cask beer?

How cask beer is made

The age old process of brewing beer

Casks are pretty much as old as beer itself and have been the vessel of choice when storing and serving beer since the invention of pubs. Much has changed in recent years though and due to the many benefits, the modern keg is king. But what makes cask beer so different from keg beer?

 

Put simply, cask beer is usually less carbonated and served at a higher temperature (11-13C) through a hand pump. Keg beer tends to be more carbonated and served at a lower temperature (2-8C) through a font tap. But the real difference comes down to the way that the beer is conditioned. For cask beer, after the beer has been brewed it’s transferred into a cask where it is conditioned. It’s here that a second fermentation will be kick-started with additional sugar. The yeast will then go to work, gobbling up the sugars and expelling CO2, giving the beer natural carbonation, and alcohol.

 

The drawbacks of this traditional process become more obvious once the beer is hooked up in a pub. Responsibility for the quality of the beer falls on the pub and they must make sure it’s cellared at the right temperature, and that it isn’t open for too long causing oxygen to change the flavour of the beer. If the cask isn’t looked after, then the beer that reaches your lips will taste nothing like what the brewer intended!   

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BrewDog and Cask Beer

Bringing Cask Beer Into The Modern Age

2 years ago we introduced LIVE beer, a project we worked on with Pete Brown, which was our attempt to modernise the technology and process behind traditional cask beer and take all of the negatives, such as heavy oxidation, inconsistent serve & poor quality, off the table.

 

After 2 years of further experimentation we have further refined and dialled in this process and are now relaunching cask beer in all our bars. But of course, it’s cask with a twist.

 

Our cask ale is conditioned in a key keg, gently sparkling and 100% awesome. It is fermented without top pressure, then lightly centrifuged to remove hop debris. The beer is packaged and allowed to gently re-ferment and condition inside the keg at our Ellon brewhouse, to ensure a perfect pint every time.