Cask conditioned may or may not be a term you are familiar with in the beer world.
The process is very similar to the regular brewing process. Cask conditioned is really another way to package and serve beer. Here are a few of the main differences:
- Instead of aging in a fermentor, the young beer is matured in a cask.
- Beer matured in a cask produces unfiltered beer.
- The matured beer is kept in the cask and ready to serve.
The process of dispensing the cask conditioned beer is the main difference. The cask beer is kept at cellar temperature (between 50 °F to 55 °F). The beer is served at cellar temperature making the beer less cold than regular dispensed beer (typically being in the mid-30’s °F). The beer is served directly from the cask. There is no use of carbon dioxide or other chemicals; the beer is hand-pumped out of the cask.
So what does this mean for the flavor of the beer? The beer is more delicately carbonated due to the pulling method. Cask beer is also unique because of the aging process. The cask tends to create a unique, bitter flavor. Any regular beers like stouts, IPA’s, and lagers can be aged in casks. The aging, temperature and pulling technique will change the flavor of a beer.
For example, if Flying Dog Brewery cask conditioned their In Wheat Heat Hefeweizen, it would taste very different from the normally brewed batch.
Brewer’s Alley is a local restaurant/brewery that serves cask conditioned beer. They tend to take their own beers and cask condition them so costumers can taste the difference. The cask changes weekly. The brewery is constantly cask conditioning different beers. Stop by and see what’s on cask this week!