Skip to main content

What Is Cask-Conditioned Ale?

Learn all about cask-conditioned ale from home brewer Chris Cuzme in this Howcast video.


Hi, my name is Chris Cuzme. I am a long-time member and current president of the New York City Home Brewer's Guild. I've been home brewing since about 2001, and I love it. I'm crazy addicted to it, and I'm happy to share it with you today. I'm also part of the New York City Degustation Advisory Team which I formed with my partner, Mary Izett, I'll be showing you how to home brew today. Cheers!

What is cask-conditioned ale? Other than delicious, technically. Basically, when we get to a point where we're done brewing our beer. As home brewers, we bottle it, or we bottle condition it. What that means is at this time, most of the yeast has settled to the bottom, and has eaten as much sugar as it could. However, there's a little bit of yeast still in suspension. So we're gonna excite that yeast. But this time, it's not gonna be enough to explode our vessels. Which is why we're gonna put it into our bottles, and cap it off. Through osmosis, the liquid will absorb the CO^2, and that's how we will get naturally carbonated beer. The same thing happens in cask conditioned ale. Cask conditioned ales are live ale. We call it live ale because there's yeast still in these casks that are eating the sugar, naturally carbonating it. And when you tap a cask, unlike a bottle, well, just like a bottle. But you finish a bottle much quicker than you finish a 10 gallon cask. You're allowing oxygen into the cask. The yeast is reacting to this oxygen. And over the days that it's tapped, the beer will take different flavors. Cask ale is typically served at a higher temperature than that which you get out of a tap. Taps generally served, are served around 41 degrees. Whereas, cask conditioned ales are typically served at a cellar temperature. And keep it between 52 and 54 degress. Or, you get gravity cores a lot just by sitting on the counter. What happens there is your tongue is able to experience a whole 'nother world of what that beer is. Colder beers or colder serving temperatures or even iced glasses. They'll numb your taste buds. It's amazing the wonderful world of what comes out through this type of serving. And also the fact that it's a lot, it's an awesome experiment to have a beer, a cask ale, day after day. The same cask beer to see how the life of that cask changes, being as it's live ale or real ale.

Popular Categories