hist-brewing: Real Ale

isenhour at uiuc.edu isenhour at uiuc.edu
Wed Sep 29 10:11:42 PDT 1999

Kirsty Pollock typed:
 As to the oak - there's no reason anybody should be using it so far as I
 know. Beer barrels were always sealed with pitch or something and no oak
 taste gets into the beer. I haven't got refs (I read the articles a while
 ago), but someone else is bound to. Modern british beer certainly never
 tastes of oak.

One of the articles I've read recently mentioned that early on pitch
was applied to the line where the staves met to prevent leaking if it
was stored dry, and later thin liqud pitch was sprayed up inside the
keg as the equipment was invented.  Whats probably more important in
terms of contact time is the brite tank or fermenter the beer is held
in.  I believe that older wooden fermenters did have some oak exposed.
Tannins would leach out and dissipate over time and variety of oak is
important.  Some american oak casks are awful for beer.


217-328-0295                       Master Brewers Association of America
isenhour at uiuc.edu                   American Society of Brewing Chemists
University of Illinois/Urbana           Beer Judge Certification Program
Fermentation Science Instructor            Institute for Brewing Studies

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