Barrels Of Fun!
Learn About Cask-Conditioned Ale
What Are Casks?
Casks are large barrel-shaped containers in many sizes, most often used for storing alcoholic beverages such as beer. Traditionally depicted with a wooden appearance, casks are also commonly seen built of metal and plastic. Regardless, they all serve the same purpose to condition and mature the finer flavours of ale.
Within the casks, the alcohol undertakes a unique process that enables secondary fermentation. It's unlike most other beer-making methods because there's no need to push inside Carbon Dioxide or any other chemical enhancements during this secondary fermentation phase. You can almost say that the casks do the work as these barrels ensure enough yeast is maintained to complete the conditioning of ale. However, many also add sugar solutions made from isinglass, called primings, to help ferment the liquid and give it a foamy texture. Moreover, during the maturing period, brewers can get creative depending on how they want their beer to taste. Dry hops or fruit can be applied to preserve flavours, and the maturity of the liquid will depend on how long it's inside the cask. The rule of thumb is the longer inside the cask, the more intense the flavour.
Pouring From The Cask
The ale comes out from a faucet on the cask, driven in by a keystone. This way, gravity allows the drink to pour out effectively. A small peg called a spile would then control the flow of air as a beverage gets released, balancing intake of the air and emission of Carbon Dioxide. Interestingly, the faucets on casks are distinguishable from those on kegs. While kegs have a straight single opening valve and spear running through the middle, casks are noteworthy for having a curve-shaped design, which helps sediments settle below the barrel.
Cask Beer Garden Highlight
At the event's craft beer garden, ale will get found in its natural element, dispensed from the barrel, and matured with finesse. With ten unique cask creations, there's no better time to tap into the traditional side of a beer. Come on out September 10th, at Two Blokes Cider, and crave all the cask creations from our local craft breweries and cideries!
Click on the images below to find out more about our feature cask suppliers!