CAMRA chairman angry at BA magazine article

Reads 24577 • Replies 192 • Started Sunday, May 29, 2011 3:15:27 AM CT

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InvalidStout
02:55 Wed 6/1/2011

Originally posted by SilkTork
That’s interesting. I think there is as much misunderstanding about "keg" as there is about "cask".



That’s understandable, since the term has been used in the UK for nearly 40 years in the same way by brewers and the trade as well as CAMRA. In British terms it has meant filtered, pasteurised, force carbonated beer served by CO2 pressure. If people now want to start using it to mean something else, it’s going to take a while for other people to get the idea.

 
chriso
beers 7540 º places 736 º 03:55 Wed 6/1/2011

Originally posted by InvalidStout
Originally posted by SilkTork
That’s interesting. I think there is as much misunderstanding about "keg" as there is about "cask".

That’s understandable, since the term has been used in the UK for nearly 40 years in the same way by brewers and the trade as well as CAMRA. In British terms it has meant filtered, pasteurised, force carbonated beer served by CO2 pressure. If people now want to start using it to mean something else, it’s going to take a while for other people to get the idea.

Very true. We know that UK kegs and casks look different. And we have become accustomed to beers coming in the different containers having particular production, conditioning and serving characteristics. The names of the containers have become synonymous with those characteristics of the beer inside. But now we have a whole slew of different containers in use. We probably have brewery conditioned and "near bright" beers going into containers we recognize as casks. We have unfiltered and unpasteurised beers going into containers that don’t look like casks. We have KeyKegs. We have other "foreign" containers that don’t look like UK kegs or casks at all. Things are less straightforward and clear cut than they once were.

There is at least a respectable argument that if you have a beer that is unfiltered, unpasteurised, undergoes some secondary in the container and ends up with the same amount of CO2 (and no other "extraneous" gas) in it as "traditional" cask, it can be regarded as "real" irrespective of what type of container it is put in and how you get it out.

 
MagicDave6
beers 1 º places 1 º 04:06 Wed 6/1/2011

This is an interesting aspect to the beer scene i hadnt throught about over much. I didnt realise there was such a misunderstanding about different vessels for beer.

Iv got some time off for the next week or so, so perhaps i’ll put a document with pics, showing how these work and whatnot together.

 
SilkTork
beers 7340 º places 109 º 04:16 Wed 6/1/2011

Originally posted by SamGamgee
Brewers are perfectly capable of producing good casks and often do, even if they are not strictly "real ale."


Good points and good info.

I’ve always rather lazily equated "real ale" with unfiltered and unfiltered with "on the yeast and naturally carbonated", but you’re right, and as other people in this thread have pointed out, there are varieties of "unfiltered" and "cask conditioned".

The brewer in the Clockwork brewpub in Glasgow showed me his method of kegging his beer back in 2005. He captured the fermenting gas, and then used that to propel the kegged beer to the tap. He did that in an attempt to fit in with CAMRA’s "real ale" definition, as he argued that it wasn’t "extraneous gas" because it was the natural carbonation from the beer. The local CAMRA branch didn’t agree, though it does seem a debatable point. The Clockwork beers and the brewpub itself was (is?) in the American brewpub tradition, so it’s possible that the techniques he was using were taken from what American brewpubs do.

Is capturing the fermenting gas something that happens in American brewpubs?

 
MagicDave6
beers 1 º places 1 º 04:39 Wed 6/1/2011

Originally posted by SilkTork
Originally posted by SamGamgee
Brewers are perfectly capable of producing good casks and often do, even if they are not strictly "real ale."


Good points and good info.

I’ve always rather lazily equated "real ale" with unfiltered and unfiltered with "on the yeast and naturally carbonated", but you’re right, and as other people in this thread have pointed out, there are varieties of "unfiltered" and "cask conditioned".

The brewer in the Clockwork brewpub in Glasgow showed me his method of kegging his beer back in 2005. He captured the fermenting gas, and then used that to propel the kegged beer to the tap. He did that in an attempt to fit in with CAMRA’s "real ale" definition, as he argued that it wasn’t "extraneous gas" because it was the natural carbonation from the beer. The local CAMRA branch didn’t agree, though it does seem a debatable point. The Clockwork beers and the brewpub itself was (is?) in the American brewpub tradition, so it’s possible that the techniques he was using were taken from what American brewpubs do.

Is capturing the fermenting gas something that happens in American brewpubs?




Lots of brewerys and brewpubs do this, it make sence as buying co2 is expensive.

 
JoeMcPhee
beers 11811 º places 543 º 04:41 Wed 6/1/2011

I’ve never seen any Americans not using beer gas for dispensing. The thought of recapturing fermentation derived CO2 is one I’d never come across

 
Erlangernick
beers 6 º places 2 º 04:59 Wed 6/1/2011

Originally posted by JoeMcPhee
I’ve never seen any Americans not using beer gas for dispensing. The thought of recapturing fermentation derived CO2 is one I’d never come across


Wait...just to be clear, you mean you’ve never seen any American brewpubs using recaptured CO2 for dispense? This would be my suspicion.

 
SilkTork
beers 7340 º places 109 º 05:01 Wed 6/1/2011

Originally posted by chriso
Originally posted by InvalidStout
Originally posted by SilkTork
That’s interesting. I think there is as much misunderstanding about "keg" as there is about "cask".

That’s understandable, since the term has been used in the UK for nearly 40 years in the same way by brewers and the trade as well as CAMRA. In British terms it has meant filtered, pasteurised, force carbonated beer served by CO2 pressure. If people now want to start using it to mean something else, it’s going to take a while for other people to get the idea.

Very true. We know that UK kegs and casks look different. And we have become accustomed to beers coming in the different containers having particular production, conditioning and serving characteristics. The names of the containers have become synonymous with those characteristics of the beer inside.


Yes. I think it it this blurring of the boundaries, coupled with a fairly widespread ignorance of what it is that specific breweries actually do to the beer when packaging it, that is at the heart of the debate.

People have some knowledge, but not the complete picture, and are arguing their points from their partial understandings, filling in the knowledge blanks with emotion rather than common sense.

People latch onto certain terms and give them values which become personal and worth fighting for. "Cask beer" and "keg beer" and "craft beer", all carry significant meanings for people, but the meanings are not universal. We are offering currency which cannot be easily exchanged. In some cultures shaking the head means yes, while in others it means no.

We have definitions and we have understandings. And I note that Chris has been trying hard to get people to look closely at the CAMRA definitions of real ale which are, as he points out, somewhat out-dated and vague and unhelpful.

Instead of arguing at cross purposes about terms that nobody fully understands, perhaps what would be really helpful is a motion to update and clarify the CAMRA definition of "real ale".

Current definition:

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".

I would change "matured by secondary fermentation in the container from which it is dispensed" to simply read - "unfiltered and unpasteurised". People understand that, and it is common terminology throughout Europe. And gets around the filtering and reseeding.

The "traditional ingredients" and the example list is not helpful. Brewers can and do add all manner of chemicals and adjuncts on top of the ingredients, and that is not disallowed by the definition. Hops are a natural flavouring/preservative but are not essential to beer. Other natural flavouring/preservatives can be used, and are. Cervoise Lancelot is an interesting and tasty bottle conditioned beer made without hops. The craft brewer definition used to have something about not using adjuncts, but I think that has changed, because adjuncts are used positively by some really good breweries. I’m not sure it is helpful to prescribe or limit ingredients.

The "served without the use of extraneous carbon dioxide" is open to debate. I think it is this aspect that causes the most problems with brewers and CAMRA. And some drinkers are quite happy with forced carbonation - actually preferring it. My taste is definitely for natural carbonation, but I wouldn’t like to prescribe that for everyone. I am in favour of cask breathers to keep beer fresh. Leave it out? CAMRA members would not accept that, but anyway - my proposal:


Real ale is beer that is unfiltered and unpasteurised.

 
Erlangernick
beers 6 º places 2 º 05:02 Wed 6/1/2011

Originally posted by MagicDave6
This is an interesting aspect to the beer scene i hadnt throught about over much. I didnt realise there was such a misunderstanding about different vessels for beer.

Iv got some time off for the next week or so, so perhaps i’ll put a document with pics, showing how these work and whatnot together.


Yes! Jawohl! Don’t forget the German version of gravity pour kegs you lot call "tubs" at the GBBF: basically the same concept as your casks but turned around so the keg stands on a stillage as opposed to lying.

And thanks to everyone else for the helpful, informative posts since my last one last night!

 
MagicDave6
beers 1 º places 1 º 05:04 Wed 6/1/2011

Originally posted by Erlangernick
Originally posted by MagicDave6
This is an interesting aspect to the beer scene i hadnt throught about over much. I didnt realise there was such a misunderstanding about different vessels for beer.

Iv got some time off for the next week or so, so perhaps i’ll put a document with pics, showing how these work and whatnot together.


Yes! Jawohl! Don’t forget the German version of gravity pour kegs you lot call "tubs" at the GBBF: basically the same concept as your casks but turned around so the keg stands on a stillage as opposed to lying.

And thanks to everyone else for the helpful, informative posts since my last one last night!


Yes, the german casks used to be a thing of wonder to me until i realised they were just the same as normal casks, but generally bright without any yeast in them so you can do what you like with them before you tap them.