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Thread: Problem with hard spile cask conditioning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    13

    Problem with hard spile cask conditioning

    I'm new to cask conditioning. Anyhow, I did a brown ale this week in an 11gal. cask. I added 11oz. priming sugar to cask. I filled it up with my brown ale out of the fermenter post fermentation. I drove the soft spile thru and allowed it to breathe for a couple of days. It slowed down and I capped it with the hard spile to capture enough co2. The problem lies now in the hard spile breathing. I still have bubbles coming out like they would out of a soft spile. I know I put in a hard spile because I got a brand new package of them a couple of days ago and they look completely different. Has anybody heard of the hard spile breathing? Does the beer have too much pressure, therefore releasing its pressure through the hard spile. I thought the hard spile was supposed to be dense enough not to allow any air flow through either way. Anybodys help would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by Wild Onion Pete; 11-05-2010 at 02:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
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    618
    Try uk brewing supplies for cask info.

    PO Box 5316
    Lancaster, PA 17606 USA
    717.560.9447 phone
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    Operations Director, Tin Roof BC
    ted@tinroofbeer.com
    "Your results may vary"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    56
    Is it going thru or around the hard spile? Hard spiles I have dealt with don't let gas thru. If it is around (ie between the bung and the spile) it might still have alot of pressure/activity. 11 oz seems like alot of priming sugar for a firkin. What temperature its at currently might be helpful info also. I've found that you need to just keep doing casks and taking notes to dial in your process, experience is very helpful in executing them.

    cheers
    geoff
    Geoff DeBisschop
    Evolution Craft Brewing Company
    Delmar, DE

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    13
    Temp is at 68f and beer is coming through the top of the spile exactly like it would through a soft spile. Also I figured 1oz per gallon was normal priming ratio. Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Woburn, MA
    Posts
    27

    hard spile venting

    It's not uncommon to see venting through a hard spile. It's an indication that the cask is overconditioned. The hard wood has a tight grain, but is still permeable under pressure.

    Normally, you wouldn't leave a cask open at all during it's final, in cask fermentation. It sure sounds like you are priming with quite a bit more surgar than necessary. You should only add enough sugar to bring the cask up to your final target carbonation level. A target volume of 1.1 - 1.3 volumes of CO2 is fairly common practice. The cask is then sealed completely with a shive and allowed to finish off. Venting should then be done when the cask is put on stillage for serving.

    A hard spile should be used to maintain the condition level in a cask after it has been vented for serving. If the cask has too much condition, let it sit with a soft spile in it for a while. Once the correct condition level is attained, swap for a hard spile. Remove the spile completely for serving, and replace with the hard spile for long periods of inactivity. This extends the serving life of the cask for a couple of days.

    There are solid plastic hard spiles available in the UK. They are used in those occasions where a cask has been vented, and must sit for an extended period before dispense. The plastic hard spile gives a perfect seal with absolutely no leaking.

    I hope this helps.

    Mike
    Michael Labbe
    Brewery Engineer
    Lord Hobo Brewing Company
    5 Draper Street
    Woburn, MA 01801

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    6
    I have only just come across this post,so I hope I am not too out of date to be of some help.
    Firstly,am I reading right? you are adding 11 oz per 11 gal cask!
    on my reckoning ( and am not sure of us oz s) I make that about 330 grammes!!!.If I have a beer that is bright in tank and a bit low on condition,I tend to add 40 grammes per firkin(9 UK gallons) on filling.and then to allow to stand warm for three to four days before sending into trade.this usually gives the required level of carbonation expected for cask ale. i would have thought that the level of priming you are talking about would result in a very sweet beer or if left for a period of time would blow the shive or keystone.
    If you have the equipment to chill the beer close to the end of fermentation this is the easiest route to good carbonation.simply chill down close to freezing with a couple of points to go,then when you have filled the casks,and they warm to serving temperature,you will have a nice level of carbonation.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    liverpool ,england
    Posts
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by rewerborp
    If you have the equipment to chill the beer close to the end of fermentation this is the easiest route to good carbonation.simply chill down close to freezing with a couple of points to go,then when you have filled the casks,and they warm to serving temperature,you will have a nice level of carbonation.
    i exclusively cask condition my beers and this is the exact process i use. It works well.
    support the diamond empire

    www.liverpoolorganicbrewery.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    13

    Thumbs up Thanks to all replies

    Thank you all who replied. Every bit of info has helped. Like I said, I am new to cask conditioning and any little bit of advice was great.
    Cheers

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