Setting up a Real Ale Cask
A basic guide to the parts and process of setting up your own casks.
First get acquainted with the various elements of your cask:
When possible casks must be stillaged level upon delivery and secured to prevent any movement. This will allow the sediment to settle to the bottom of the cask.
The cask should be vented on the day that the beer is delivered, ideally after a few hours allowing time for beer to settle and cool. You may need wet towels or ice bags to cool the cask. To vent – make sure that shive and venting hole are both clean, next knock a hole through the shive into the cask with a soft spile.
3. 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 for sale. 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.