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moorhog
05-08-2015, 04:16 AM
I'd like to pick the brains of someone with experience of sending English Cask Conditioned Ales to festivals and shows. How long before the show would be the best time to cask the ale (IPA styles) from the fermenter and when is the optimum time to add finings to achieve the best possible clarity for shows. Also would you add yeast and if so would you use the same yeast or something like CBC-1. I ask because despite my best efforts my cask ales are always a little more hazy than I would like, and whilst it is in the nature of cask ales to have yeast in the cask I'd rather not see it in the served beer. Any other tips would be awesome - I need to do better and need your help!

Bainbridge
05-08-2015, 09:53 AM
I gather you are in England, where these things are taken seriously?

Not so much over across the pond... Here Festival Cask is usually synonymous with "Cloudy, poorly carbonated beer. Now with Novelty Ingredient! 5 Stars!"

But I thought an isinglass addition at casking gets 'kicked up' again when moving the cask around and does a sort of second fining in place as the cask rests prepping to be served, right?

moorhog
05-09-2015, 10:49 PM
I gather you are in England, where these things are taken seriously?

Not so much over across the pond... Here Festival Cask is usually synonymous with "Cloudy, poorly carbonated beer. Now with Novelty Ingredient! 5 Stars!"

But I thought an isinglass addition at casking gets 'kicked up' again when moving the cask around and does a sort of second fining in place as the cask rests prepping to be served, right?

Yes I am in England Bainbridge where the joke is that we like our beer warm and flat. In truth it is cool (about 53F) and naturally carbonated in the cask allowing the flavours to shine without forced CO2. Rightly or wrongly keg beer which lasts for months under a blanket of CO2 is frowned upon by many as a poor substitute for 'real' ale which only lasts 3 to 5 days after opening but when fresh is a joy to behold.

I add isinglass when casking but find that it doesn't settle well when the cask is moved (often a matter of weeks later). I am wondering if there is a better way to achieve clarity at the show. Thoughts welcome, shame we can't discuss over a beer!

jamesb
05-11-2015, 03:25 AM
Moorhog,

Could you describe the process you currently use from the fermentation onwards?

Benjybo
05-11-2015, 10:08 AM
For festivals you really need to send the beer already bright (ie off the yeast). We rack and fine as usual, but tap and vent the cask a couple of days before needed and put up on stillage. The day of the festival (or day before) we transfer the beer from the tapped cask to a new cask - effectively leaving the settled yeast behind. You then only have a day or so shelf life for the bright beer, but since it is for a festival that doesn't matter. Most festivals would expect the beer to arrive bright and would struggle to settle a cask properly if it wasn't.





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moorhog
05-11-2015, 10:15 PM
Moorhog,

Could you describe the process you currently use from the fermentation onwards?
Hi James, After fermentation we rack to cask, often this is 10 to 14 days after fermentation started. We add 100 grams of sugar, 200 ml of isinglass mix by rolling the cask and leave in a warm room (18 c) for 7 days before moving to 12 degrees c for two more weeks at least. Then we would simply take to the festival and serve but are obviously kicking up the sediment and it is not settling again. Any ideas greatly received James, clearly we can do something better.

moorhog
05-11-2015, 10:25 PM
For festivals you really need to send the beer already bright (ie off the yeast). We rack and fine as usual, but tap and vent the cask a couple of days before needed and put up on stillage. The day of the festival (or day before) we transfer the beer from the tapped cask to a new cask - effectively leaving the settled yeast behind. You then only have a day or so shelf life for the bright beer, but since it is for a festival that doesn't matter. Most festivals would expect the beer to arrive bright and would struggle to settle a cask properly if it wasn't.
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Benjybo - yes I guess that would work from a clarity perspective and maybe that is the answer but doesn't racking bright result in all the life going from the beer i.e aren't you knocking the CO2 out of the beer when yo rack bright? Our brewery is less that a year old and we are learning daily so forgive the newbie naivety - all thoughts are welcome.

Benjybo
05-12-2015, 10:12 AM
We transfer it relatively gently using gravity. It takes maybe 10 mins. cO2 doesn't seem to be knocked out, but it will only last a day as obviously no new co2 will be added. This exactly the same as we do for private parties etc - can't expect a private party to put up on stillage etc.

Your racking procedure is different to ours as well. We add 1% finings (typical 400ml in a firkin) to the cask, then rack on top of this. We don't add sugar or mix, although an element of mixing will occur as we move things around. We then put racked casks straight in the cold store at 10 degrees. From your procedure I'm not surprised that things are relatively lively and you will be having quite an active secondary fermentation in there



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moorhog
05-12-2015, 08:12 PM
We transfer it relatively gently using gravity. It takes maybe 10 mins. cO2 doesn't seem to be knocked out, but it will only last a day as obviously no new co2 will be added. This exactly the same as we do for private parties etc - can't expect a private party to put up on stillage etc.

Your racking procedure is different to ours as well. We add 1% finings (typical 400ml in a firkin) to the cask, then rack on top of this. We don't add sugar or mix, although an element of mixing will occur as we move things around. We then put racked casks straight in the cold store at 10 degrees. From your procedure I'm not surprised that things are relatively lively and you will be having quite an active secondary fermentation in there
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Interesting - so how does your festival procedure differ from your procedure when sending beer out to a pub, surely you don't send that bright (or do you?). Also typically how many days after the start of fermentation do you cask?

Benjybo
05-12-2015, 10:41 PM
When sending to a pub we send straight from the cold store.. So no not bright. The pub will then put in stillage a couple of days before it is required (in theory).

We typically go from brew day to cask in 7-9 days.


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moorhog
05-13-2015, 01:53 PM
When sending to a pub we send straight from the cold store.. So no not bright. The pub will then put in stillage a couple of days before it is required (in theory).

We typically go from brew day to cask in 7-9 days.
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Very many thanks Benjybo, if anyone else has any thoughts further input would be gratefully received.

jbrewer
05-23-2015, 07:30 AM
Interesting discussion.

@Benjybo, can I ask about when you move the beer from the fermenter to cask? If you are not adding any yeast or sugar, are you racking to cask before terminal gravity (at my last brewery we used to pull off casks about 1-2 degree above terminal and allow to finish in the cask, but we stored it warmer than 10 degrees)? Or, I guess the real question is how are you getting proper carbonation if you are not adding priming or allowing to stay at 18-ish degrees for a while?

Cheers,
JB

Benjybo
05-23-2015, 11:50 PM
We definitely don't let anything fully ferment out,and target gravity is typically 1-2 degrees higher than if we did. We then cool to below 15, add findings adjunct and move to racking tank. This tank is at ambient, but it only sits in here for 24hrs.

There's plenty of co2 already in the beer at transfer, and fermentation will still tick along nicely whilst cooling. (For example a bucket of harvested yeast will happily overflow if put in the 10degree cold store overnight).

And conditioning is still going on in the pub, if it wasn't then the beer would be flat after the first day being vented.

If you are carbonating any more I wouldn't be surprised if pubs are having a bit more difficulty settling the beer, and are tapping on the day of delivery to try and settle it quicker. In effect they are reducing the co2 level to one more suitable. On the other hand we find our casks can be ready to serve in the pub relatively quickly and are pretty easy to look after.



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jbrewer
05-25-2015, 05:53 AM
We definitely don't let anything fully ferment out,and target gravity is typically 1-2 degrees higher than if we did. We then cool to below 15, add findings adjunct and move to racking tank. This tank is at ambient, but it only sits in here for 24hrs.

There's plenty of co2 already in the beer at transfer, and fermentation will still tick along nicely whilst cooling. (For example a bucket of harvested yeast will happily overflow if put in the 10degree cold store overnight).

And conditioning is still going on in the pub, if it wasn't then the beer would be flat after the first day being vented.

If you are carbonating any more I wouldn't be surprised if pubs are having a bit more difficulty settling the beer, and are tapping on the day of delivery to try and settle it quicker. In effect they are reducing the co2 level to one more suitable. On the other hand we find our casks can be ready to serve in the pub relatively quickly and are pretty easy to look after.



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Thanks Benjybo, that is essentially what we did, except were nervous to chill the cask right away. We left them to condition for about a week in our fermentation room that stayed at about 18 degree, then to our cold box. I think our worry was the yeast going dormant if we let it get too cold. With hindsight, maybe we did not need to do that.
Cheers,
JB