A volcanic beer shower when tapping a cask? Uh, no. That's the result of an unskilled publican, tapping with macho posturing. A skilled cellarman, who understands how to properly handle and condition a properly-brewed cask ale, rarely will be bathed in beer.
And, contrary to much opinion,
cask conditioned beer should never be flat. A certain amount of carbon dioxide must be retained in the beer to give it liveliness on the palate; this is the "condition" sought by the cellarman, and without it the beer can become flat and lifeless. The flavor of the beer is materially affected by the secondary fermentation.— The Oxford Companion to Beer: Oxford University Press, 2012.
The photo above was taken, in Baltimore, Maryland, on 16 May 2009, at a festival at a brewery then known as Clipper City Brewing Company (and now known as Heavy Seas Beer).
Excess carbonation (and beer) was fobbing through a soft spile (made of bamboo) which the cellarman had earlier inserted into the tut (an indentation) in the top shive bung of the firkin (a cask holding 10.8 U.S. gallons). When the fobbing dissipated, and only then ... was the beer ready to be drunk.
And it was.
- Cask-conditioned ale —often referred to as 'real ale'— is defined by CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale in the UK) as: "a natural product brewed using traditional ingredients and left to mature in the cask (container) from which it is served in the pub through a process called secondary fermentation. It is this process which makes real ale unique amongst beers and develops the wonderful tastes and aromas which processed beers can never provide." In the U.S., American 'craft brewers often infuse their casks with non-traditional ingredients and flavorings, such as fruits and spices.
- Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as a subject. Camera: Canon PowerShot SD400.
- Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.
- For more from YFGF: