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Cask Ale does not drop bright

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  • Cask Ale does not drop bright


    As the title already says, my problem is that our cask ale does not drop bright (or at least the odd firkin that gets returned). This is usually the case with heavily dryhopped beers. Our bitter, mild etc come out crystal clear.

    This is our process:
    - let beer ferment out, add finings adjunct and dryhop
    - cold crash to 0C
    - after 4 days the beer gets packaged
    - add priming sugar into firkin(40g) and isinglass 250ml ( 1:3 dilution isinglass concentrate to water)
    - secondary fermentation for about a week

    Could it be possible that through the dry hops a protein polephenol haze emerges which cannot get cleared by the finnings?

    I would appreciate any input. Our casking process improved a lot but is obviously still not perfect.


  • #2
    Clearing cask ale

    Try sending a wort sample to Murphys and get them to do some optimisation testing on both kettle and finished wort - or get a kit and do it yourself. Is sugaring your casks necessary? Have you tried casking without sugar but leaving longer for conditioning if economics allow? What finings do you use, Kompactikleer is worth a try is you have troublesome settling. It can be a problem - I feel for you!


    • #3
      Hi Moorhog,

      thanks for your reply. We used to do optimisation trials but I stopped them because we still got cloudy beer back although the trials told us the beer should clear. Rates were up to 120ml per firkin for dry hopped beers. We then changed it to adding 120ml to none dry hopped beers and 250ml for dry hopped beers. But still from time to time we get cask beer back.

      Could it be possible that the last bit of the racking is the culprit due to lots of hop material being sucked into the racking arm?

      Do you have experience with Kompactikleer in comparison to Alkleer C?


      • #4
        Yes we now use Kompactikleer all the time having previously used Allkleer (and Finiche). It is a definite improvement, it is very effective and they claim it resettles better as well. Other than that yes your racking arm could be looked at (just run into a clear drum and inspect maybe?). You might also try sugaring less though presumably you have already considered what is the optimum for that. If all else fails try having a chat with Frances Maud at Murphys who ia very knowledgable on this subject. We use Cellarbrite for auxiliary.


        • #5
          What yeast are you using?

          Personally I would add the maximum dose of isinglass recommended in the FV a day or so after your AUX addition. Then continue to dump yeast every day after that. That way you can garuntee clarity prior to packaging or dry hopping the tank. Although for cask I'd take advantage of the design and nature of the cask and dry hop those with whole leaf. Much longer contact time, aroma will be noticeably better, plus you won't be getting any of the hop slurry common with T90's, thus improving clarity.
          Last edited by Quiggers79; 04-17-2017, 07:05 AM.


          • #6
            Quiggers note pushed this back into my inbox and on further reflection I think you may be suffering from chill/protein/tannin haze which can occur post casking. Quiggers makes a good suggestion, use isinglass to get the beer clear before it is casked. If it is clear when it goes into the cask and subsequently develops a haze then you have a colloidal instability - invisible proteins and polyphenols will combine over time clumping together in bigger and bigger particles so that what was once clear bear subsequently becomes cloudy in a seemingly unfathomable way - this is likely to take a matter of weeks, not days. Please do your own research but I think you probably need Polyclar or Clarity Ferm aka Brewers Clarity which is an enzyme that will eliminate this problem, as a side note I believe it also virtually eliminates gluten making your beer gluten free (below 20 ppm) though again dyor. Can anyone else chime in on this thread please, sadly the retail trade are not forgiving of hazy beer and it is a problem that has blighted most of us at some stage.


            • #7
              All very valid points, and should be worth considering.

              However as it is only one or 2 casks of his dry hopped beers that are causing the problem - milds etc are crystal clear - I would most likely put the problem down to racking method, and t90 hop slurry being racked into the casks.

              Cask's are designed to take whole leaf, and you'll achieve much better clarity and aroma from dry hopping idivudual casks rather than dry hopping the tank. I'm assuming you're working with open tanks? Plus, by dry hopping the casks with leaf you'll actually gain racking volume as there won't be T90's in the tank causing the inevitable slurry.

              Not being aware of your racking method I can't really advise, but here's what I used to do when working with cask:

              -Reach FG
              -Crash chill and Aux
              -Max amount of recommended isinglass
              -Dump yeast daily until bright (or adjust isinglass)
              -Prime casks with sugar solution
              -Rack ALL casks with 5-10 seconds worth of beer (again i don't know the volume of your FV)
              -Add whole leaf dry hop
              -Shive and undergo secondary for atleast a week

              Racking 10 seconds or so of beer (find the right amount that works for you) will distribute whatever remaining slurry you have in your tank across all the casks, so you're not just getting one or 2 casks full of hop and yeast matter. But definitely consider dry hopping the casks. All the volatile aromas that you're trying to capture with dry hopping will be concentrated in the cask as there's nowhere for them to go. Of course that is until the cellarman vents it
              Last edited by Quiggers79; 04-18-2017, 05:35 AM.