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Tech. Q. Master Brew. Assoc. Am., 1996, 33(2), 106-109.

Cask conditioned beers for the craft brewer.

Allen, A.F.

The production of cask conditioned beer, which is matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed and, by tradition, is stored and dispensed without any extraneous gas, being naturally carbonated by the carbon dioxide formed during secondary fermentation, still survives in the British Isles but was long ago abandoned in the USA. However, the rise of the microbreweries has led to a revival of interest in cask conditioning as a traditional practice in keeping with the "craft" image which most microbreweries and brewpubs seek to uphold. The author's recommendations on container selection (real traditional ale casks are not easily obtainable in the USA as they must be imported from the UK, but other types of container can be made into workable substitutes), priming (the addition of extra fermentable sugars to the beer at the time of racking into the cask to promote a vigorous secondary fermentation), fining, dry hopping (adding whole hops or pellets to the beer in cask to give it a more hoppy aroma and flavour), the storage of the casks of maturing beer, venting the excess carbon dioxide (to keep the beer from becoming too gassy), cask transport and the dispensing of cask conditioned beer. It is pointed out that, whereas the flavour of beers brewed for kegging, bottling and canning can only be impaired by contact with the air, a traditional beer brewed with cask conditioning in mind actually completes the development of its flavour during the first 2 to 3 days after tapping, and only starts to deteriorate after that (if it has not already been consumed).
Keywords : dispensing draught beer finings maturation priming secondary fermentation