21 January 2008

Corrections to "Back to School with Real Ales and Firkins"

I should have paid a little more attention in Beer School. A couple helpful readers have chimed in to let me know that I was mistaken in writing the following in our "Back to School With Real Ales and Firkins" post.
"real ale never leaves the container in which it is fermented before it makes its way into your glass."
Not true.

According to reader Paul:
"Once beer is fermented it is then placed into a cask or bottle, and without getting too technical, this is where a secondary fermentation takes place. The beer is live in the container and when it is served. Dead beer like most lagers are given an injection of CO2 to give it an over the top amount of fizz."
Another reader who failed to leave her or his name added:
"Paul is right. The initial round of fermentation would leave too much yeast slurry and hop residue (sludge from hop pellets or leaf particles from whole hops) and that wouldn't lead to very clear beer. Once initial fermentation ceases, the beer is racked (aka transfered) into the cask or bottle and it has had a certain amount of priming sugar added to let it do a final fermentation that causes that lovely carbonation we do so enjoy. Bell's beers and Dark Horse beers are bottle conditioned, that is why you decant them into a glass and leave the yeast sediment behind. The yeast is still there and makes the carbonation, thus the beer is alive."
I'd like to thank Paul and Annonymous for their quick corrections to the post, and I apologize for my mistake. Hopefully it'll be the last.

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