CAMRA chairman angry at BA magazine article

Reads 24595 • Replies 192 • Started Sunday, May 29, 2011 3:15:27 AM CT

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JorisPPattyn
beers 13046 º places 88 º 00:37 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by chriso
Originally posted by SilkTork
CAMRA positions itself as a supporter of fresh, unfiltered beer.

Isn’t the question of filtration a bit of a red herring here?

The definition of real ale on the CAMRA website is
"Real ale is a beer brewed from traditional ingredients (malted barley, hops water and yeast), matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed, and served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide."

The nub of the issue seems to be secondary fermentation and the question of extraneous CO2 (Nitrogen would seem to be OK by that definition). It does not seem to me to exclude the possibility of filtering and re-seeding. I’ve heard a lot of talk about that practice being fairly prevalent although I’m not enough of an industry insider to comment on the truth of that. That definition, incidentally, would seem to exclude wheat beer, fruit beers, those with spices or herbs added etc etc. Maybe it’s an old definition that has not been updated on the website but, if it is the current definition, it seems to me to be very outdated.

Likewise the definition of keg beer (also from the CAMRA website - I’ve cut out some bits)

"With a brewery conditioned or keg beer, the aim is to produce a product with a long shelf life which is ready to drink as soon as it leaves the brewery. The conditioning in the brewery is completed, the beer is chilled and filtered to remove all the yeast, and pasteurised to make a sterile product. The beer is put into a sealed metal container, the keg...

... In order to make the beer lively, and also to dispense it, the beer is made fizzy with excess carbon dioxide - this gives the beer a distinctive bite...

... All canned beers, all draught keg beers, most bottled beers, and nearly all draught lagers undergo these processes."

That may have been accurate in the 70s, and may still apply to the majority of keg beers in the UK, but it is still blatantly wrong.

Keg beer is not necessarily filtered. It is not necessarily pasteurised. It is not necessarily dispensed by pumping excess gas into the beer. Of course some dispense methods such as keykegs do use "extraneous" gas to force out the beer, just like the old Scottish air pressure pumps that were always acceptable to CAMRA, but the gas does not come into contact with the beer. And, of course, beer can undergo secondary fermentation in a sealed container. Ain’t that what a bottle is?


Excellently put, Chris. For the sake of Ian (well, both Harrisoni and - Garrett!), I will repeat ad nauseam that one of BSF’s stalwart beers, and nearly on every Be beer lovers’ prime list, Rodenbach (both Classic and Grand Cru) are utterly filtered.
More: a lot of bottled beers, even unfiltered ones, are filled with CO² overpressure at the brewery. That’s extraneous CO², isn’t it? But GBBF will only stumble when it’s about tap beer...
Oh, I’ll drive it in even further. If the brewery has CO² recuperation, can you call pressurizing with that, "extraneous"?

Again, I concurr with ALL that have put forward that defending keg isn’t CAMRA’s role. Agreed! It’s just the puritan mentality, the righteousness (our definitions are the only valuable) behind Valentines’ speech that totally rubs me the wrong way.

 
MagicDave6
beers 1 º places 1 º 01:45 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by tdtm82
I don’t have a problem with cask conditioning. I have a problem with people denying both sides of conditioning. I think it should be open to a brewers’ discretion how they condition a beer. Cask or keg. It deosn’t matter. What does matter is that that beer is conditioned and served by how that brewer wants it. I’m making perfect sense, I’ve been misquoted far too much. The point is simple. Maybe it’s others whom don’t get that basic point.


Tom, I now understand your misunderstanding. Most brewers have no idea whatsoever as to how you condition a beer. I know as in my early days of cellaring, I used to call up breweries and say "How many days should i vent this for", most would either laugh or simply say "i dont know". I think you should go work at a beer festival or something where you can activy see "condition".

On a different note, Ian, you are mistaken here. The co2 levels of a keg beer is done by force carbonation at the brewery, once at the pub the gas put into the keg is simply pressure to get the beer out. Most kegs use(or shojld use as pure co2 is a bloody waste of time and money) 60/40 gas, this is 60%co2 and 40 nitrogen. The nitrogen being a purely nutral gas and heavier than co2 sits ontop of the beer and the co2 pushes the nitrogen down, in essence like a piston. You cant use pure nitrogen as you dont get the same pressure and you shouldnt use pure co2 as it gets absorbed in over time into the beer(you can use co2, as long as you bave fast turn over of kegs, like less than 2 days per keg) and the beer will "fob", this is where you see loads of head being produced and you have loads of wasteage.

As you can see from reading above, you can "keg condition" a beer(tom dont even start to question this). Indeed many belgian beers are reseeded in the keg rather than force carbonated, as its simply a case of the gas at the bar forces it out the keg. However these beers will be hazy as the yeast is forced out the cask, rather than settle at the bottom, like a cask.

 
MagicDave6
beers 1 º places 1 º 01:55 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by traPISSED
It’s funny, there is an Irish beer consumer group called Beoir and as far as I can see, they couldn’t care how a beer is conditioned or dispensed. All they want is a well made quality beer that tastes good. This is how it should be in my opinion.




Hear, hear!

 
JoeMcPhee
beers 11812 º places 543 º 03:24 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by MagicDave6
Tom, I now understand your misunderstanding. Most brewers have no idea whatsoever as to how you condition a beer. I know as in my early days of cellaring, I used to call up breweries and say "How many days should i vent this for", most would either laugh or simply say "i dont know". I think you should go work at a beer festival or something where you can activy see "condition".

On a different note, Ian, you are mistaken here. The co2 levels of a keg beer is done by force carbonation at the brewery, once at the pub the gas put into the keg is simply pressure to get the beer out. Most kegs use(or shojld use as pure co2 is a bloody waste of time and money) 60/40 gas, this is 60%co2 and 40 nitrogen. The nitrogen being a purely nutral gas and heavier than co2 sits ontop of the beer and the co2 pushes the nitrogen down, in essence like a piston. You cant use pure nitrogen as you dont get the same pressure and you shouldnt use pure co2 as it gets absorbed in over time into the beer(you can use co2, as long as you bave fast turn over of kegs, like less than 2 days per keg) and the beer will "fob", this is where you see loads of head being produced and you have loads of wasteage.

As you can see from reading above, you can "keg condition" a beer(tom dont even start to question this). Indeed many belgian beers are reseeded in the keg rather than force carbonated, as its simply a case of the gas at the bar forces it out the keg. However these beers will be hazy as the yeast is forced out the cask, rather than settle at the bottom, like a cask.

This is not how beer gas operates - gases mix spontaneously and do not separate again without applying other processing to it. There is no "blanket" or "piston" within the keg - there is just the mix. You’re right about it preventing overcarbonation though - you can apply higher pressure (and thus pour your beer more quickly) without getting nothing but foam out.

 
chriso
beers 7540 º places 736 º 03:32 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by JorisPPattyn
Again, I concurr with ALL that have put forward that defending keg isn’t CAMRA’s role. Agreed! It’s just the puritan mentality, the righteousness (our definitions are the only valuable) behind Valentines’ speech that totally rubs me the wrong way.

Yep, I agree entirely. The article in Beer magazine, where Tandleman and Tim Webb presented two opposing views in a thoughtful and non-aggressive manner, seemed to be an attempt to open up the debate in a sensible way. The Valentine speech seemed more like a pre-emptive strike to put up the barricades when the issue wasn’t even up for debate at the conference anyway. I wonder how CAMRA gets on at EBCU meetings? Is tradition to be applauded but only in its place of origin? Is sharing of ideas and cross-fertilisation to be welcomed or discouraged? Promoting one particular "tradition" without denigrating others, explicitly or implicitly, is not an easy thing to do. The aim of "acting as the consumer’s champion in relation to the UK and European beer and drinks industry" seems to at least acknowledge the possibility that the role may be wider than promoting one type of beer, in one particular country, for the benefit of consumers in that particular country.

 
MagicDave6
beers 1 º places 1 º 03:43 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by JoeMcPhee
Originally posted by MagicDave6
Tom, I now understand your misunderstanding. Most brewers have no idea whatsoever as to how you condition a beer. I know as in my early days of cellaring, I used to call up breweries and say "How many days should i vent this for", most would either laugh or simply say "i dont know". I think you should go work at a beer festival or something where you can activy see "condition".

On a different note, Ian, you are mistaken here. The co2 levels of a keg beer is done by force carbonation at the brewery, once at the pub the gas put into the keg is simply pressure to get the beer out. Most kegs use(or shojld use as pure co2 is a bloody waste of time and money) 60/40 gas, this is 60%co2 and 40 nitrogen. The nitrogen being a purely nutral gas and heavier than co2 sits ontop of the beer and the co2 pushes the nitrogen down, in essence like a piston. You cant use pure nitrogen as you dont get the same pressure and you shouldnt use pure co2 as it gets absorbed in over time into the beer(you can use co2, as long as you bave fast turn over of kegs, like less than 2 days per keg) and the beer will "fob", this is where you see loads of head being produced and you have loads of wasteage.

As you can see from reading above, you can "keg condition" a beer(tom dont even start to question this). Indeed many belgian beers are reseeded in the keg rather than force carbonated, as its simply a case of the gas at the bar forces it out the keg. However these beers will be hazy as the yeast is forced out the cask, rather than settle at the bottom, like a cask.

This is not how beer gas operates - gases mix spontaneously and do not separate again without applying other processing to it. There is no "blanket" or "piston" within the keg - there is just the mix. You’re right about it preventing overcarbonation though - you can apply higher pressure (and thus pour your beer more quickly) without getting nothing but foam out.


Joe, there isnt an actual blanket or piston, but this is how the gases behave in the keg. I know as iv experimented for years with it.

 
Erlangernick
beers 6 º places 2 º 04:22 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by Hoser
Originally posted by Gary
another boring brown bitter please.


I thought it was have another golden ale. My month spend in England was painful there was not much great beer at all.


Bummer for you. All my time spent in England & Wales so far has found me enjoying very little other than great cask ale.

 
MagicDave6
beers 1 º places 1 º 04:34 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by Erlangernick
Originally posted by Hoser
Originally posted by Gary
another boring brown bitter please.


I thought it was have another golden ale. My month spend in England was painful there was not much great beer at all.


Bummer for you. All my time spent in England & Wales so far has found me enjoying very little other than great cask ale.


Good effort and seems you have had good luck. Most cask ale in britian is utterly terrible, made by brewers who are scared to do anything other than really really boring beers.

In all honesty iv pritty much given up on cask ale because of this. Id rather drink tasteless lager than support a brewery who makes rubbish cask ale.

 
JoeMcPhee
beers 11812 º places 543 º 04:47 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by MagicDave6
Originally posted by Erlangernick
Originally posted by Hoser
Originally posted by Gary
another boring brown bitter please.


I thought it was have another golden ale. My month spend in England was painful there was not much great beer at all.


Bummer for you. All my time spent in England & Wales so far has found me enjoying very little other than great cask ale.


Good effort and seems you have had good luck. Most cask ale in britian is utterly terrible, made by brewers who are scared to do anything other than really really boring beers.

In all honesty iv pritty much given up on cask ale because of this. Id rather drink tasteless lager than support a brewery who makes rubbish cask ale.

That’s just as bad a statement as saying all keg beer is terrible. There are loads of really terrific, traditional bitters, milds, etc that are wonderful on cask. It’s can get a little bit boring because the styles can be similar - that doesn’t mean that when you find a great one, it isn’t truly wonderful, it just means that there are too many brewers making very similar product. There are few ways to differentiate yourself in a market like that.

I’m glad to see some UK brewers experimenting with American hops in things like bitters and golden ales - they are terrific products, totally in line with British tradition yet still in the experimental vein that is needed for the market to move forward - I just don’t see that there isn’t room for both models within the UK without the two sides trying to kill one another.

 
Erlangernick
beers 6 º places 2 º 04:54 Tue 5/31/2011

Originally posted by MagicDave6
Originally posted by Erlangernick
Originally posted by Hoser
Originally posted by Gary
another boring brown bitter please.


I thought it was have another golden ale. My month spend in England was painful there was not much great beer at all.


Bummer for you. All my time spent in England & Wales so far has found me enjoying very little other than great cask ale.


Good effort and seems you have had good luck. Most cask ale in britian is utterly terrible, made by brewers who are scared to do anything other than really really boring beers.

In all honesty iv pritty much given up on cask ale because of this. Id rather drink tasteless lager than support a brewery who makes rubbish cask ale.


Well do note that reading between the lines I might have meant that I’ve drunk assloads of crap UK cask, but just haven’t *enjoyed* it!

Seriously though, yes, I’ve been lucky, and I’ve also only been visiting since 2006, IOW since the Trans-Atlantic Pale/Golden Ale trend began. And I’ve had some good guidance. If I had only BBB to drink over there...meh.

Still better than bland Eurolager.

Seriously, I’d instantly trade all 270(?) breweries in Franconia for a half dozen of the better English and Welsh cask breweries I’ve encountered.