Monday, August 07, 2006

Double IPA & Cask Conditioning

A couple of months ago, friends of ours introduced us to the Liars Club. Or more specifically they introduced us to their Friday night cask ales and otherwise excellent micro brew selection. Since then I've had three different Cask IPAs there and they have all been fantastic.

But the question is was it the cask conditioning, the properties imbued by the beer engine or that Liars Club just gets excellent beers for their cask ale nights? Or is it a combination of all three?

Last night we went to the San Diego Brewing Company. They had a Fullers ESB cask ale and while it certainly had that mouthfeel that handpulled gives you, it didn't make it a more enjoyable than the Alpine Pure Hoppiness. So i'm still more of a Hop fan than cask fan.

I did a little bit exploring, trying to track down a beer engine, and it at least appears that they'are all imported from the UK. The only place on the web that seemed to be selling them in the US was UK Brewing Supplies.

But I still want explore the cask ale thing a bit more. Since it appears that beer engines are hard to come by, expensive at that and rigging up a corny for beer engine dispensation is no simple feat, I decided to not test the handpulled part of the equation first.

Yesterday I brewed a Double IPA using one of Home Brew Mart's stock recipes. 11# of extract and about 10oz. of Hops and 2 more coming for the dry hopping should make for a tasty IPA. After secondary fermentation i'm going to split this batch into two and cask conditioning one with priming sugar and force-carbonating the other with CO2. Give them both 3 weeks to age and then see if I can't tell the difference. Sure, they'll be put on CO2 the same way for kegerator use, so it's not a true cask vs. keg comparison, but at least I should be able to tell whether cask conditioning itself creates a significantly different flavor.


  • After reading about Cask Conditioning I wanted to read more about this phenom. I am really interested in reading about the outcome , your method of experimentation seems much more economical than paying for airline tickets to Europe!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:02 AM  

  • Well, the cask conditioning really didn't make the big difference. What it turns out to be is the combination of very low CO2 content and agitation at dispensation, courtesy of a beer engine. I finally broke down and went for one and now have the true british pub cask experience (and without requiring a firkin).

    By Blogger ether, at 11:10 AM  

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