If you ever hear anyone talk about cask ale (or cask-conditioned beer) and wondered what language they are speaking then this post is for you.
Cask ale is an ale that has been conditioned but not filtered or pasteurised. It is fermented twice and served from the cask without additional carbon dioxide. The result is a matured flavour and also makes up part of the brewing process. This is commonly referred to as “real ale”.
The second fermentation of casked beer occurs when it is transferred to the cask itself. This is the only real difference with keg beer. Dry hops are added to give the brew a more floral taste. Keg beer is filtered before it enters the keg and is ready to drink.
Cask beer is essentially a living beer which is why it has such a short lifespan. Cask ale should ideally be consumed within 3 days of initially tapping – this ensures that the ale hasn’t deteriorated past its best before window. How a real ale tastes is as much the responsibility of the brewer as it is the landlord. Ensuring the correct transporting, storage and tapping of the beer is crucial to the serving. Cask beer tends to be less fizzy and tends to be served at a cooler temperature than regular pump beers.
It is typically local as it has such a short shelf life. It is considered the most natural way to brew and taste a beer as the flavour tends to be more full and unique and tends to pair better with food than keg