Keepin’ it real: Cascade Party Ale (Real Ale in a Real Cask!)

20150803_113036Well, this is all very exciting isn’t it?  I’m brewing up in time for a party where I’ll be serving REAL ALE from a REAL CASK, just like what they do in a REAL PUB.

I mean, it’s not as if my ale isn’t real enough already – but I do force carbonate my draught all-grain beers in a cornelius keg, so by the CAMRA definition, my draught ale isn’t quite real enough…

But this time it will be…due to some VERY generous sponsors, I’ve managed to source a 4.5 gallon (36 pint) stainless steel pin (i.e. half a standard size firkin) and all the taps, shives, keystones, spiles and all that other good stuff required.

I’ll cover these beautiful people and their contributions when I post the article on the serving and tasting – this article purely deals with the brewing up of the beer.

My brewing brief was to make something that was close to Dark Star’s marvellous American Pale Ale – only just a little bit less bitter (there’ll be mainstream-lager drinkers there for chrissakes, so we need to “turn” them onto ales instead of their usual yellow mouthwash)

I wanted to keep body in the beer, without making it too “chewy”, the bitterness light without letting it get too sweet, and the hop aroma high because, well why the hell not?

Magnum hops will do a more than excellent job of imparting a very clean bitterness, while the Cascades will be doing most of the heavy-lifting in terms of flavour and aroma.

Here’s the recipe:

Cascade Party Ale

I mashed in at 38C, did 80 minutes at 66C and them a 10 minute mash-out at 76C. A small sparge of 3 litres or so and a 60 minute boil got me about 22L of cooled wort into the fermenter.

I aerated it with a minute of pure oxygen and then pitched the re-hydrated S04 yeast.

I will dry hop in the primary with 30g of Cascade, because that’s how I roll; obviously, I’d love to cask hop, but I can’t be doing with potential blockages in the cask on the big day…

The beer’s merrily bubbling away at an ambient temperature of about 20c*, which is a bit more than I would have liked but it should be OK.

I need to be fermented, casked, fined and conditioned before mid September as that’s when the party is…

Wish me luck!

(*oh, yeah…that thingy in the picture?  That’s a temperature logger – the probe of which, I’ve taped to the glass of the carboy with some insulation over the top – it will take a temperature reading every 15 minutes, so we can see how the temperature goes during fermentation.  Isn’t that EXCITING?  Eve says not.  Find yours on ebay, today.  I paid about £15 quid for it, think…)