Cask failure

Morning Steve. First bit of bad news! I can’t get your 1851 to clear. And it went mental when I tapped it!

Not the best text to get on a Sunday morning from the pub landlord. First, no one calls me Steve. More importantly, this hasn’t happened with a cask before. In a way I’m surprised it hasn’t happened. I mean, it’s not so long ago that I found out the difference between a cask and a keg.

Let’s step back a bit and see if we can work out what’s happened here. The 1851 (a nice pale Scottish table beer based on a recipe from Youngers of Edinburgh dating from 1851) was brewed on 5 June and went into the cask on 26 June. I haven’t noted when I moved it into the secondary. Maybe it should have spent longer.

It was primed with 75g of sugar (for a 40l cask) based on the beer priming calculator at Brewer’s Friend (or you could try this one which gives much the same result). It sat in the Shed for a week before being delivered to the pub last Friday (1 July). It was tapped on 9 July. Neither of these is untypical. Actually, until recently I’d been using 150g of sugar but cut back thinking that was too much. Two weeks between casking and tapping is also what usually happens.

So what’s different? I’m guessing the combination of still too much priming sugar, time and the weather. I’ll explain:

  1. A different calculator suggests that the beer already had 1.7 vol of C02 in it. Since casked ale aims for between 1.2 and 1.4, it didn’t need priming at all but by adding sugar, the cask is heading for 2.2 vol.
  2. If 1 is true then adding any sugar means there was too much sugar.
  3. Time and the weather are working together here, I think. The recent warm weather – it’s been 18-20C in the Shed in the daytime and barely dropping at night (it’s still 18.2C at 10.30pm) means that the yeasts have been working more than usual, accelerating the carbonation in the cask.

So, after two weeks we have a big fizzy cask of beer ready to gush when the tap goes in. Maybe I’ll try the next one with no priming at all and see how it goes.

In better news, I’ve been playing with label ideas. I quite like these, with my little drawing of the Ship Inn.



Cask failure

3 thoughts on “Cask failure

  1. Jimbo says:

    I do recall living in the wilds of Sussex in the early 80s and in the warm summer weather all the beers were cloudy.
    Everyone just accepted that was the way it was.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s