British culture is well known for its brewed Cask Ales and beers. People like to socialize while enjoying their beer. It’s a culture that is followed for years by the people who surely know how to have fun in their lives. In the U.K you can find pubs on every corner street as a popular hang-out place for everyone. It’s a new gateway for the students to meet new people and end up being good friends. British culture has got a long history for the traditions they follow while brewing beers and ales. It’s not all of them who can brew a perfect beer one needs to know the right method and process to make one.
Let’s see how Cask ales are brewed and stored for fermentation:
The first thing to do is to grind the malted barley that opens the grains exposing the starch present init. The product known as grist is mixed with hot water in a container for 75 minutes. Once the hot water is added it activates the enzymes within the grist and the central starch starts to break and convert into fermentable sugars. The enzymes work differently with temperature variations to produce the type of sugars that brewers need. This helps them to decide what type of beer they want to make like a sweet beer, dry or full-bodied, etc,
The sugary solution wort is separated from the grain husks at the bottom of the mash bin. The husk layer acts as a natural filter for the wort. Once its collected the leftover grain is used as animal feed at farms. Once the wort is separated from the grain it is transferred into a large copper vessel. The wort is boiled for an hour to sterilize the brew and then we add the first set of hops that bring in the bitterness to the final beer. The next-hops are added at last that gives aroma and flavor to the beer, but the bitterness depends on the first set of hops that are added.
The Wort now is cooled at 18 degrees Celcius for ales and lagers, it is cooled at 12-degree Celcius. It is then moved to a fermentor where the yeast is added. They are many types of yeast that can be used and it’s a very crucial step when you’re adding the yeast as the type of beer produced depends on it. For Cask Ale, an ale yeast is pitched. Ale yeast is a top-fermenting operator, that creates a thick layer of froth in the fermentor while the beer is being made at the bottom where the yeast is consuming the sugars and releasing alcohol, carbon dioxide, and different flavors.
After fermentation that takes between 2-4 days, the beer is left to mature for a week that allows the flavor to develop. This helps to give a smooth taste to the ale. After maturing for a week in the next step the ale is filled into casks and racked, which is an important stage.
How to Condition Cask Ale properly:
The Ales that are racked is the final product which is not filtered and contains yeast and no carbon dioxide is added. Here at this stage, a fining agent is added to settle the ales. One of the fining agents that can be used is isinglass, this helps to attract the negative charge of the yeast forming a heavy material that settles at the bottom of the cask leaving a clear brighter beer.
Some of the Cask Ales are not served in a clear state as some of them like their ales to be hazy and cloudy. To achieve that the brewers produce unfined beer without using isinglass or any other findings. As the beer is left in the Cask it continuous to react with the yeast and sugars creating natural carbonation. In this process, the beer matures and creates a flavor of a perfect pint of Cask Ale.
Looking after Cask Ale in the Cellar:
On the day of delivery to a pub or a bar cellar, a cask must be stillage first before anything else.
What is Stillage?
It is a device where a cask of ale is positioned and served. A Cask is positioned on its belly with a shiver on the top and keystone vertically aligned. This process is followed so that the sediment in the cask settles at the bottom below the tipping point and is not disturbed. If not the sediment will come into suspension again. After 24 hours the cask should settle and reach the right temperatures between 11 – 13 degrees centigrade so that it’s ready to tap and vent.
How to tap and vent a Cask:
Once a cask is positioned correctly, we need to make a hole in the shive and insert a soft porous peg. The beer is left for fermentation for around 48-72 hours to work its magic. After reaching the right conditioned point the soft peg is changed with a hard non-porous peg.
We are going to tap and vent at the same time. We need to attach a clean tap through the keystones to attach a hop filter and a beer pipe. The important thing to note is to sample the beer for clarity, aroma, and taste before attaching the pipe to take a sample. If you feel all is good with the beer then it’s ready to be served. See that the peg is removed before serving and place back between the sessions to keep the carbon dioxide intact. Once you start to sell the carbon dioxide intact. Once you start to sell your ale you need to sell it within 3 days to keep the beer fresh in premium condition. So, to continue selling quality cask ale you need to keep the next batch settled, tapped, vented and ready to serve.
Common Myths of Cask Ales:
It’s Warm: Everyone thinks that cask ales are and British beers are warm and served at room temperatures. The ales and beers should be served chilled at 11-13 degrees centigrade. These conditions should be followed by every pub owner or else they will have a problem.
It’s an old man’s drink: Once ales were consumed by working men a long time ago. This has changed over time as the younger generation both men and women want to try out a variety of beers and ales. They love to try different flavors from local real ales than from the big corporate breweries.
It’s a Float Drink: A good pub owner surely knows when the ale reaches the condition level and is ready to serve. If beer is served before or is kept for a long time after it is been tapped the quality of the ale changes leaving a bad impression on the beer. The owner must know the condition level when natural carbonation from the yeast happens to leave carbon dioxide and producing silky bubbles giving a smooth finish to the ale.
It’sSour: If the sale of the ale is more than 3 days the quality decreases leaving the beer with vinegar like qualities that cannot be consumed at all. The ale changes leaving a sour taste in your mouth.
It’s Brown and Murky: Cask ales can be of many forms. It depends upon the cask method what type of ale is produced is it bitter, pale ale, golden ale, mild, stouts, porters, or any other style of beer. As you all are aware not all the ales are brown and murky!
We at the Brook Pub serve the best Cask Ales, crafted beer, finest Wines, Gins, Whiskies, etc. Some of them might not be in the mood for a drink and they can enjoy our cocktails, teas, and coffees. We always have something to offer for everyone at the pub. We serve the best British Pub food in Cambridge as we follow traditional recipes that go well with your drink. One can even enjoy their beer watching live sports on our large T.V screens cheering up their team.
The Brook Pub is always filled with nearby University students where they like to enjoy short eats and enjoy their time with friends. Our Beer garden is always fun for our customers as they can breathe some fresh air and also get soaked in the sun’s heat. Kids do love to spend their time in summer playing outside where the family and friends can enjoy their chilled beer.
Next time you are here in Cambridge then you need to stop by at our pub to enjoy some nice ales, pub food, and our great services.