05 July 2022

What is the difference between cask and keg beer?

The range of beers has hugely expanded in recent years, ranging from our traditional real cask ales to the kegged modern craft beer. But what is the difference between cask and keg beer? Fuller's turned to award winning beer writer Ben McFarland for help... When the good folk at Fuller’s Brewery asked me to write about "The Difference Between Cask Ale and Keg Beer”, I did what any hard-hitting, sword-of-truth wielding newshound would do. I turned on the internet and typed ‘cask versus keg” into the Google contraption (other search engines are available)

Cask ale, also known as cask-conditioned beer or ‘real’ ale, is beer that undergoes secondary fermentation in the barrel. Brewers of cask ale don’t interfere with it, they don’t filter it and they don’t pasteurise it. All they do is put fresh live beer straight into the barrel where, still in unfinished form containing lots of lovely fruity residual yeast, it remains alive and kicking until it lands in your glass.

“Keg beers” had become a derogatory term for inferior ales served using cold conditioning, pressurised tanks, filtration and the use of extraneous carbon dioxide techniques that, ironically, had first been used to produce the lovely legendary lagers brewed in mainland Europe back in the late 19th century.


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