Preparing and serving ale

  1. Cask beers differ to keg beer as they finish the final part of the brewing process in the cellar, this is called ‘conditioning’. On delivery cask beers should be placed where they will be sold from with the shive at the very top and keystone at the bottom this is simply known as stillaging.
  2. Once the cask has been stillaged it should be allowed to settle for around 24hrs. Once this has been done, it is time to vent the cask, clean the shive with fresh water and a brush to ensure no bacteria or debris falls into the ale. Vent by driving a soft peg through the shive – once this is done conditioning starts.
  3. Conditioning will take 24-48hrs depending on product refer to the rep or micro brewary for times. Whilst conditioning is occuring, white foam may come through the peg – this is normal and the peg should be changed every 24hrs.
  4. Once the beer is fully conditioned if the beer is not to be used straight away a hard peg should be inserted this also should be changed every 24hrs to reduce pressure. 24hrs before you are due to use your ale it should be tapped taps should be washed with a mild-line cleaner and brush then rinsed thouroughly with warm water and hung to dry. then simply drive the tap into the keg through the keystone using a rubber headed mallet in one swift clean movement ensure the cask is not going to move before you do this.
  5. Before connecting to the cleaned line for serving you should check for clarity aroma and taste remove the hard peg and you are ready for serving. Each night re-insert the hard peg and close off the tap to maintain quality.
  6. DO NOT FORGET the air from the cellar enters your keg as you draw product contaminated air will nruin it remember air quality is essential. Once a third of the cask has been served, you can start to tilt it to get all the product out carefully. At the end of shift, carefully raise it between three to four inches – this will allow any sediment that is stirred up to re-settle. To improve this, auto-tilt racks make life a lot easier and are recommended or, if possible, use the upright method.

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