Find quick answers to your questions below...
What is the correct temperature to store and serve cask ale?
What is the best way to maintain cellar temperature?
What pressure should I set my CO2 regulator at when using a cask breather or aspirating valve?
Why is beer running through the beer engine?
Can I dispense keg beer through a beer engine?
How long before dispense should I vent and tap the firkin?
Which is better a ¼ pint beer engine or a ½ pint?
What is the difference between a CO and CQ engine?
Can a cask breather be hooked up to more than one cask?
Is there a particular direction in which the cask breather needs to be hooked up?
How long will the beer last with a cask breather?
Can I use a cask breather for gravity dispense?
What does a cask breather do that I can achieve by putting a low pressure of CO2 on?
How long will the beer last if I let oxygen enter the cask?
Will a Race Cask Ventilator extend the life of the beer?
What is the longest run I can use a beer engine?
What is the difference between a hard and soft spile?
Which are better wooden or plastic bungs?
What is the shive and the keystone?
When will my order ship?
How long will my order take to arrive?
Q. What is the correct temperature to store and serve cask ale?
A. Cellar temperature – 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
Q. What is the best way to maintain cellar temperature?
A. It depends what your serving situation is:
a) If it is going to be on a temporary basis, such as a Friday cask night or a beer festival, the easiest solution is to use the ice blankets and an insulating jacket. The blankets will last for about 12 hours and then they will need to be re-frozen. They can be re-frozen between 5 and 10 times before they start to split. This option is affected by ambient temperature so that needs to be considered.
b) For a situation with a more permanent nature and as long as the cask can be located in a draft-free location, the cooling saddle and insulating jacket is an option. The cooling saddle will need to be hooked up to a coolant source such as the glycol lines. This is placed over the cask and insulated with the jacket. This option is affected by ambient temperature so that needs to be considered.
Another similar option is the use of the probe. Again this needs to be connected to a coolant source. The probe actually goes into the firkin so cleanliness is paramount. The advantage is that it is far more efficient than the saddle.
c) Lastly one could have some form of walk in or underbar cooler specifically for cask. Of course, it would have to be modified to keep a temperature of 54 degrees Fahrenheit. The typical underbar cooler works well as it can be located close to the beer engine and thus the run is very short. A simple beer line cooler can be constructed using a reservoir in the cooler with a submersible water pump. If a water jacketed beer engine is used the coolant can also be circulated around the cylinder keeping the beer in the firkin, the beer line and the cyclinder all at the correct temperature.
Q. What pressure should I set my CO2 regulator at when using a cask breather or aspirating valve?
A. Between 5 and 10 psi.
Q. Why is beer running through the beer engine?
A. Because there is some pressure on the beer such a CO2 line that does not pass through a cask breather, the cask is higher than the firkin, the cask is not vented fully and the soft spile is blocked or the engine is hooked up to a keg.
Q Can I dispense keg beer through a beer engine?
Q. How long before dispense should I vent and tap the firkin?
A. At least 24 hours. From that point on the cask should not be disturbed.
Q. Which is better a ¼ pint beer engine or a ½ pint?
A. A lot of it is personal preference. The ½ pint is a little quicker to dispense beer from but not by much as the stroke is longer. One advantage to the ¼ pint is there is less beer in the cylinder between pours and thus less beer to warm up.
Q. What is the difference between a CO and CQ engine?
A. The CO and CQ are both clamp-on. The CO is available in ¼ pt. and ½ pt. pull whereas the CQ is only available in ¼ pt. The plinth on the CO is a bit smaller. The action of the CO is different than the CQ. The CO handle pivots whereas the CQ has a quadrant that comes up and out. (See images under handpumps.) The CQ has a removable faceplate so there is access to the interior without removing from the bar. Lastly, the CQ is available with a water-jacketed cylinder that coolant can be run through to help keep the beer in the cylinder cool.
Q. Can a cask breather be hooked up to more than one cask?
A. Yes, up to 6. You will need additional cask breather spigots and it would be a good idea to have some form of shut-off for the gas lines that are not in use.
Q. Is there a particular direction in which the cask breather needs to be hooked up?
A. Yes, Depending on the manufacturer, there will either be an arrow showing direction of flow or an embossed "CO2" designating the side that should be connected to the CO2 regulator.
Q. How long will the beer last with a cask breather?
A. Depends on the beer but at least 2 weeks.
Q. Can I use a cask breather for gravity dispense?
A. You can but you will find that when the level of the beer diminishes it will stop pouring as there will not be enough pressure to open the cask breather valve. At that point you would have to remove the cask breather to continue the pour.
Q. What does a cask breather do that I can achieve by putting a low pressure of CO2 on?
A. The cask breather allows the gas to enter the cask at atmospheric pressure. It is like a blanket of CO2. Therefore, it does not affect the carbonation level of the beer nor will it push the beer through the beer engine.
Q. How long will the beer last if I let oxygen enter the cask?
A. Again, it depends on the beer but generally 3-4 days.
Q. Will a Race Cask Ventilator extend the life of the beer?
A. Yes, by about a day. Plus you don’t have to worry about hard spiling each night.
Q. What is the longest run I can use a beer engine?
A. The answer is calculated using a combination of run, cellar height and beer hose id. Click here to get a chart. If the run is too long it can be compensated by using a gas driven flojet pump with a check valve located close to the beer engine. Call for details.
Q. What is the difference between a hard and soft spile?
A. Soft spiles are porous and are used for venting excess CO2. Hard spiles are used for sealing the cask when the correct condition has been reached thus maintaining the level until it is time to serve. The hard spile should also be used at the end of the night to maintain until the next day.
Q. Which are better wooden or plastic bungs?
A. This is really up to personal preference. The wooden bungs can seal a little better if the the shive or keystone bush is distorted as they will swell to fill any void, although they will weap a little. More and more breweries in the UK are using plastic nowadays.
Q. What is the shive and the keystone?
A. The shive is the big bung the keystone the small one. Casks are typically filled through the shive. The tap is knocked through the keystone.
Q. When will my order ship?
A. Order before 2 pm EST Monday through Friday and your order will usually ship the same day. Palletized goods, i.e., 4 or more casks as well as twin and larger beer engines, are shipped by freight truck and usually should ship within 48 hours (2 business days).
Q. How long will my order take to arrive?
A. All orders ship from Illinois. UPS ground orders to East and West coasts arrive in 2 to 3 days. Other locations, obviously in less time. Items shipped by freight truck will require additional days.