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Brewing TV - Episode 36: Gone Firkin




Original postdate: May 6, 2011
Cask ale is a segment of craft beer that is becoming more and more popular with beer-lovers in the United States. But many of us have no idea how it works. In this episode, Jake and Michael get put to work by Summit Brewing Company's Chief Firkin Hooligan Damian McConn. The guys help Damian finish, fine, dry-hop and fill firkins of his Unchained Series beer, Gold Sovereign. Come along with us for a behind-the-scenes look at how the pros get their cask on!
Other formats: iTunes - Vimeo - blip.tv - YouTube
Related Links
More from Damian on Gold Sovereign BLOG/VIDEO
Gold Sovereign Reviews at Beer Advocate

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Reader Comments (33)

Good work BTV!

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Another fun episode - thanks BTV and NB.

On a cask-related note, can you guys point me to any info on the creating the 'Poor Man's Cask' as seen in the Neo-Britannia informational video?

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Gret episode guys! Now where does a home brewer with an interest in casks acquire one?

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

@Mark - At its most basic it's just a 5 gallon corny keg full of ale carbed to a low vol. of CO2, vented (I used a gas disconnect - no tubing), laid on its side and dispensed via gravity through the faucet of your choice. There are refinements you can make like replacing the liquid dip tube in the keg with a second short gas dip tube to make pouring the last portion of the keg easier, and/or connecting it to a CO2 source w/ regulator set at 1-2 psi as an ersatz breather instead of simply venting it (not enough to carbonate the beer, but to blanket it and protect it from O2 spoilage and prolong the life of the beer).

May 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterDawson

@Andrew - NB is going to carry them. They've got a shipment of pins and firkins en route now, so look for them online in the next few weeks. We will be casking and dispensing 5 gallons of homebrewed oatmeal stout from one such pin in a future episode. We started that shoot yesterday and got all jacked up on espresso, so it should be a good one.

May 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterDawson

"Brothers don't shake, brothers gotta hug!" We hammered those bungs hard... Would have been awesome to try the Gold Sovereign on cask at the party, but the Red Horizon was very good, much better than the normal forced CO2 version I thought. Is there kind of some duplicate footage in there? Adding the Glacier, isinglass, priming solution twice? I think there is. Like the first acoustic music, a little different than a lot of the "time to brew" acoustic stuff. It was fun and informative to see this whole process. Congrats on your one year anniversary. You guys have covered so much in one year. Keep up the good work. "listen the f--k up" indeed!

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonO

@DonO -- not necessarily "duplicate footage." They are two different sets of video. (Jake & Dawson rough me up if I use duplicate video anywhere in an episode besides in the introduction teaser.) The first time Damian explains the process inside the brewery he puts it out there very quickly... so I covered that with b-roll of him doing one cask... then right afterwards we follow him through a "real-time" process with deeper explanation of what he's using and why. Sort of a one-two punch of basic, then more elaborate.

Did you think you were having a flashback?

May 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterChip

Another awesome episode BTV!

I enjoyed seeing the whole cask process and the tasting notes on how the cask differs from the keg. Being a complete novice to cask beer in general it was very informative.

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWalter

Great episode boys and very happy anniversary! Not even lunch and I'm already thirsty now....

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJon Weber

Great episode guys. It makes me miss my timein London drinking cask ale every day. Now I need to go get some Bitter on a handpull.

Congrats on 1 year of great info and entertainment. I always feel a need to brew after watching.

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDan P

Earlier today I checked the site as you usually sneak episodes out nice and early and the cupboard was bare. Two minutes later having started a chore set by my glorious leader (the wife!) I got a text saying the new episode was on!!! Damn your timing!!! So I just got to watch and being from Old Blighty it made me feel warm and fuzzy. I was caught out too - there I sat saying I can't believe this dude is using a sparkler and 2 seconds later he put me straight - nice!
Anyway - HAPPY ANNIVERSARY guys - many years to come I hope.

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCrezzer

Hope BTV is around for a long time. Hope you guys can make it to NE Ohio sometime ,we have some great breweries here. Great Lakes is one. bob

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBad Bob

Guys, what an incredible episode. I even got my wife to watch it. Headline: BTV saved my marriage!

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

kik ars episode. Damian was awesome.

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranderw

Damian "Malarky" McConn RULES! Gold Sovereign is delicious.

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVaughn

BTV at some of its finest. I can't wait to see how NB's yet to come to market pins and casks work for us homebrewers. Great episode gents!!

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterduckmanco

What are the general effects of a beer engine? Where does one procure such a device? Is the whole cask conditioning thing just making a beer more like it's homebrew brethren, i.e. bottle conditioned rather than force carbonated? Please, do tell...

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdevi

come to texas and brew m8's. you might just get to try my cask beers

May 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbeerforhere

I love watching Brewing TV. Great show. Very entertaining and informative. Chip does a great job with the video editing. Keep up the good work!

May 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathan Blodgett

also, I have to ask, (I'm sure this has been brought up before) but to experiment with cask conditioning, couldn't one just

1. rack some of the batch of uncarbonated brew to say, a sanitized 2 or 3 liter PET bottle
2. prime the 2 liter with a 1.-1.5 co2 volume level amount of sugar
3. proportionately dry hop the 2 liters of beer
4. wait for it to prime, and then serve at cask temp (55-60 degrees or so)?

I know its not nearly as pretty, obviously not traditional, and it wouldn't be served through a faucet. BUT ....wouldn't the same idea come across for those of use who don't really need 5 gallons of cask ale (along with my other 15 gallons on tap)?

May 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterduckmanco

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