hist-brewing: Re: casks

Joyce Miller msmead at doctorbeer.com
Thu Oct 21 17:30:25 PDT 1999

Al Korzonas writes:
>>Today in England, "cask conditioned" ale generally means carbonated by
>>virtue of yeast in the *metal* casks, but there are a number of breweries
>>still using wooden casks.  Sam Smith's (as someone here said) is one.  All
>>their stuff is in wood (if it isn't in bottles).  The same is true of for
>That's not correct.  Only a small portion of Samuel Smith's casked beers
>are in wood casks... most is in metal casks.  I have also seen Marston's
>in metal casks (at the GBBF, for example, where I worked as a steward in
>1997 and at the Real Ale Festival here in Chicago).

[Here we see the downside of too many brewery tours  :) ] When I visited
the Sam
Smith brewery, all I saw was wooden casks, but I think we're both right --
they tun up there is in wood, and I think the rest is shipped elsewhere to
be bottled 
and put in metal casks.  I'm pretty sure this is what Marston's does, too.

You're right about the charring, too.  The coopers did use the word
"toasted", but then,
I always found it hard to believe the US whiskeymakers actually *char* the
casks, but I 
guess they do (ick).

>I have tasted beer made in new American Oak casks (mine) and new French
>(Limosin) Oak casks... the French was barely oaky and the American
>*intensely* oaky after barely a week!  I also have several British brewing
>texts which specifically say that casks made from American white oak are
>not acceptable for making casks due to the flavour it imparts to the beer.

I could believe this of the French vs. US or UK oak, but I had always thought
the differences between US & UK oak could be ascribed to differences in 
treatment of the wood and in making the casks, since the two are so similar
in so many other ways.  Perhaps not.

Interesting notes on the spiles (but I understand that's a touchy subject in 
the English beer scene right now).  Thanks for all the web sites, too.

-- Joyce

--- Joyce Miller, msmead at doctorbeer.com

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