Blog – Cask Basics

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Hey folks – this here is the beginning of a weekly thing for us at PEIBC. We’ll be posting up some words from our brewers, our lab staff, our production team, our director of operations – all in the name of keeping y’all up to date on what we’re doing here. First one comes to us from brewer Spencer Gallant – he takes care of our cask program here at PEIBC. Here we go!

Cask ales are a traditional method (popular in Britain) to serve beer from the container or ‘cask’ in which it was conditioned and naturally carbonated. Unfiltered beer is racked into the cask from the primary fermentation vessel which contains residual yeast. Priming sugar (in our case dextrose) is added to the cask to feed the yeast, commencing a secondary fermentation. Carbon dioxide created during this second fermentation is re-absorbed into the beer, and in turn, naturally carbonates the beer. Traditionally, casks have a lower carbonation than draught beer and are served at a slightly warmer temperature.

When creating casks, brewers have the liberty to experiment by adding more hops, spices, wood, liqueurs, and/or other flavours to the beer for an entirely new experience. Past casks I’ve created include: our Island Red Ale with bourbon-soaked oak chips, a wine barrel-aged red with brettanomyces and dried cherries and a  Berliner Weisse. These are only some of the new and interesting beers that were created with the cask program. Now that we have a beer engine at the brewery, we are able to dispense casks with ease for everyone to enjoy! Stay tuned for new casks to be tapped!