Cask Beer - Your Questions Answered | Great Newsome Brewery
Cask beer, real ale in a cask, or whatever you’d like to call it has been around for many years. What sets it apart from many other British draught styles (such as filtered keg beer) is that cask beer contains live yeast. When handled correctly, this yeast creates a natural carbonation (or “secondary fermentation”) within the drink; this simply means that the beer gets chance to taste its absolute best! Cask beer treats you to a much smoother mouthfeel compared to something like a carbonated keg, and there’s a reason it’s a staple of British pubs.
So, here are a few common questions that customers ask us about cask beer.
What size casks do you sell your beer in?
We sell our beer predominantly in 2 different sizes: 4.5 gallon/20.5 litre “Pins” and 9 gallon/41 litre “Firkins”.
More importantly, this equates to about 36 and 72 pints, respectively.
Do you have to let cask beer settle before serving?
Absolutely! We recommend at least 24 hours settling time (i.e. don’t move it or you will redistribute the sediment) but on the odd occasion it may take a few hours longer. One thing to bear in mind is that colder temperatures will require a slightly longer time to settle.
If it still hasn’t cleared after 48 hours, then do give us a ring and we’ll gladly help out.
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What temperature should I store the cask at?
Casks should always be kept cool. Beer loses its flavour when it’s too cold, and worse still are “Chill Hazes”. These develop in beer stored at near-freezing temperatures, and prevent the beer clearing. Conditions too warm will cause the beer to become flat and turn much faster.
Ideal storage is at 12°C and below, preferably 9 – 10°C.
How long does a cask of beer last for once opened?
Ideally, cask beer should be consumed within 5 – 7 days of tapping. Darker and/or higher ABV beers will generally keep for a further 2 – 3 days. Something to bear in mind is that the quality of the beer will quickly deteriorate, however, if the cask tap is not clean. If you want to extend the shelf life of cask beer, then cask aspirators are well worth looking into. Contact us for details.
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What is bright beer?
As mentioned previously, cask beer usually needs to settle before serving… The one exception to this is “bright beer”. This refers to beer that has had the yeast sediment removed, requiring no further settling.
The upside here is that the beer can be served immediately. However, this is with the caveat that bright beer does not keep for as long. We recommend that bright beer is used within 4 days of delivery and served within 48 hours of opening.
Bright beer works especially well when the beer must be served on the day of delivery. We currently charge an additional £5.00 + VAT per cask for bright beer.
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Does beer taste different from a plastic cask?
No! We’ve always used both stainless steel and food-grade plastic casks, and we’ve not had a single person tell us they can taste a difference.
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How much does a cask of beer cost?
We charge £54.00 for a 4.5g pin (£1.50 per pint) and £98.20 for a 9g firkin (£1.36 per pint). We can also rent pumps to you, at a cost of £12.00.
For trade customers, please contact us via our trade contact page.
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How do you tap a cask?
This is something that we are going to cover in a separate video. It is not as complicated as people fear, although it does take a little explaining. Alternatively, please email us through the contact page and we will be happy to guide you through it.
If you have any other questions about cask beer, please drop us a line by email or call us on 01964 612201; one of our team will be more than happy to help.