CASK-CONDITIONED BEER ('REAL ALE')

GLOSSARY

ANGRAM
A manufacturing company which makes high quality beer engines, sometimes just referred to by their brand name.

BARREL
A 36 imperial gallon cask, uncommon.

BEER ENGINE, HANDPUMP
Manual pump used to draw from the cask to the point of dispense.

BEER LINE
Piping leading up to the beer engine.

BOTTLE-CONDITIONED
Unfiltered, unpasteurised bottled beer - 'real ale in a bottle' of sorts.

BREWERY-CONDITIONED
Filtered beer that is not cask-conditioned ale.

BRIGHT BEER
Cask-conditioned beer which has been decanted into a fresh firkin (etc.) to separate it from its lees for safe transportation.

BUNG
Round cork for protecting the inside of empty casks from insects etc.

C-BRITE (U.S.A.)
Brand of powdered sanitiser that efficiently cleans beer lines etc.

CAMRA
Acronym for the Campaign for Real Ale, boasting about 77,000 members in the U.K.

CASK
Traditional vessel of varying sizes used to contain real ale and allow it to have a secondary fermentation. It can be made of stainless steel, aluminium, wood or plastic.

CASK BREATHER
Device that adds low pressure gas into a cask to replace dispensed beer, this prolongs the life of the beer but may affect the conditioning process slightly.

CASK-CONDITIONED BEER, REAL ALE
Beer that has undergone secondary fermentation in the cask and has no extraneous gas added.

CELLARMANSHIP
The art of keeping cask ale.

CELLAR PERSON, CELLAR(WO)MAN
Person skilled at looking after cask-conditioned ale in a pub or at a beer festival.

CELLAR TEMPERATURE
Around 54 or 55 degrees Fahrenheit - the ideal temperature for real ale.

CHILL HAZE
A clarity imperfection caused by the beer being stored too cold.

CHINE
The front or back rim of a cask, usually containing handling holes and sometimes stamped with the name of the owning brewery.

CHOCK
Triangular wooden wedge used to prop up and stabilise stillaged casks.

CONDITION
The amount of dissolved CO2 in the beer.

CONDITIONING
The time that the beer is maturing in the cask.

COOPER
A maker and repairer of casks, especially wooden ones.

COOPERAGE
A brewery's stock of casks and kegs.

CYLINDER
The main under counter part of a beer engine unit.

DIPSTICK
A special rod that measures how much beer is present when inserted through the shive down to the belly of the cask.

DRIP TRAY
The part of the beer engine unit that catches the drips.

DRY HOPPED
Cask beer that has fresh hop leaves or pellets added on racking.

ELEVEN
British Brewing Industry colloquialism for a non-standard 11 Imperial gallon firkin converted from a 50 litre keg.

FINE (v.)
To add finings to a cask.

FININGS
A liquid substance added to the beer at the brewery or in the cellar to aid clarification. There are several types including isinglass and Irish Moss.

FIRKIN, NINE
A 9 imperial gallon cask, the most common size.

FLUFFY BOTTOM
Situation where yeast and protein cells lurk in clumps near the tap but do not stick to the bottom of the cask as they should, this can cause beer to turn cloudy unexpectedly.

GRAVITY
Method of dispensing cask beer straight from the cask into the glass without need for a beer engine.

GREEN BEER
Cask ale that hasn't matured properly.

GYLE (NUMBER)
A batch number on the cask label identifying when it was brewed.

HARD SPILE
Long, thin, non-porous wooden peg used to broach the shive and to prevent natural condition escaping out of the beer.

HI-GENE
A manufacturing company which makes beer engines, sometimes just referred to by their brand name.

HOGSHEAD
A 54 imperial gallon cask (now virtually extinct).

HOP FILTER
A washer-like fitting with an attached mesh filter that goes between the tap and beer line, this catches stray particles and helps to prevent leaks. Use of these is optional.

HYGIENE
Something that shouldn't be forgotten when dealing with real ale.

IRISH MOSS
A type of finings commonly used in the U.S.A.

ISINGLASS
A type of finings largely limited to use by British breweries.

JACKET
An insulated covering for a SADDLE which envelops the top of a stillaged cask.

KEG
Sealed cooperage usually used for brewery-conditioned beer.

KEG-CONDITIONED
Unfiltered beer that has undergone secondary conditioning in a regular keg. Same as cask-conditioning unless attached to a gas supply for dispense.

KEYSTONE
The small round bung on the front of a cask where the tap is driven in.

KILDERKIN, EIGHTEEN
An 18 imperial gallon cask.

LEES, SEDIMENT
The yeast and protein contained in cask beer once it has dropped to form a layer in the belly of the container. Also applicable to bottle-conditioned beer.

MALLET
Rubber or ash wood headed hammer used to drive in taps and spiles.

MASON, HARRY MASON
A manufacturing company which makes cask equipment, sometimes just referred to by their brand name.

MINIPIN
Smaller version of a polypin which holds about 17 imperial pints.

NATURAL CARBONATION
CO2 dissolved in the beer, produced naturally by the living yeast in the beer.

NUT AND TAIL
Simple connector to attach a tapped cask to a beer line.

O-RING
Rubber washer in a beer engine cylinder.

PIN
A 4.5 imperial gallon cask.

POLYPIN
A 4.5 imperial gallon disposable beer container with an inbuilt tap, similar to a large wine box.

PRIME (v.)
To add a fermentable sugar to a cask of beer to assist with the secondary fermentation. A practice formerly done in pub cellars but now done before leaving the brewery whenever it is practiced.

PUMPCLIP
Badge for the handle of the beer engine.

PYTHON
Insulation using cold water or coolant to keep beer in beer lines cool.

RACE CASK VENTILATOR, RACE SPILE
Device that screws into the shive which regulates escape of natural CO2.

RACK (v.)
To fill a cask with beer.

REFINE (v.)
To add more finings in an attempt to clear a cask of beer when an earlier effort didn't work.

REMOTE COOLER
A refrigeration unit which can pump cold coolant. Used in conjunction with a JACKET and SADDLE (or however many are needed).

RERACK (v.)
To transfer beer from one cask to another for whatever reason.

SADDLE
A hollow metal pipe shaped to sit on top of a stillaged cask, with which cold water or coolant will be circulated. Used in conjunction with a JACKET and REMOTE COOLER.

SHIVE
The large round bung on the top of a cask containing the tut.

SOFT SPILE
Short porous wooden peg used to deliberately allow dissolved CO2 to escape from the beer, and to enable air to enter the cask to replace dispensed beer.

SPARKLER
Restrictor nozzle that fits on the spout of the beer engine which takes condition from the body of the beer and puts it into an artificially large or creamy head. Not beneficial to the flavour of the beer in most circumstances.

SPEAR
Hollow rod that inserts through the keystone eliminating the need for a traditional stillage. It is more difficult to keep beer properly conditioned with this system.

SPILE PEG
A wooden peg used for venting a cask and controlling the conditioning process. There are two varieties, see HARD SPILE & SOFT SPILE.

STILLAGE
Sturdy metal or wooden frame that casks rest on when in use or conditioning.

SWAN NECK
Design of beer engine spout that enables a glass to be filled from the bottom up.

TAP (n.)
Plastic or brass valve that is driven into the keystone with mallet blows.

TAP (v.)
To broach a cask's keystone with a tap ready for serving.

TEN
British Brewing Industry colloquialism for a non-standard 10 Imperial gallon firkin as favoured by Whitbread.

TILT (v.)
To raise the rear end of a cask up by an inch or two to maximise supply.

TIRED FININGS
Isinglass which has lost its abilty to clarify beer, caused by excess heat or multiple cask disturbances.

TUT
The stopper in the centre of the shive that is pushed through when a cask is vented.

ULLAGE
Stale or infected beer that is unsaleable.

VENT (v.)
The act of broaching the shive, usually done by driving a hard spile through the tut.

WORTHSIDE
A manufacturing company which makes beer engines, sometimes just referred to by their brand name.

YEAST
A living component found in cask-conditioned beer.

[CASK SET UP]


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© Alex Hall, 2005.