A BASIC GUIDE

for setting up a real ale cask

Delivery

You will receive a) cask of beer (9 gallons / approx 72 pints), b) a tap, c) a “hard” peg (larger) and d) a “soft” peg (smaller). PLEASE put the cask somewhere cool ASAP, out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source.

Racking

When possible casks must be stillaged level upon delivery and secured to prevent any movement. The shive (bung on the side of the cask) should be at the top and the keystone (bung on the end of the cask) should be at the bottom – this is where the tap will go. This will allow the sediment to settle to the bottom of the cask.

Venting

The cask should be vented on the day that the beer is delivered, ideally after a few hours allowing time for the beer to settle.(You may need wet towels or ice bags to keep the cask cool.)

To vent – make sure that shive and venting hole are both clean, next knock a hole through the shive into the cask with a hard peg. There may be some spurting of beer – be ready with a towel / cloth.

Tapping the cask

Make sure that the keystone is clean and the cask tap is sterile. With the cask tap closed knock through the keystone with a wooden mallet. Keep the soft peg in place overnight until the fermentation/bubbling has stopped, then replace with a hard peg until you are ready to drink.

If there are any signs that pressure is building up behind the hard peg a little more time with a soft peg will be required!

When serving the beer you need to make sure the hard spile is removed. If the clarity, taste and smell are all ok the cask is now ready for you to serve.

The first glass of beer will have some sediment in. This will disappear with subsequent glasses.

The beer will remain in good condition for 5 days approximately.

PLEASE LOOK AFTER THE EMPTY CASK AND THE TAP – WE WILL COLLECT IT WHEN FINISHED

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