Help needed with Firkin of Real Ale at home

I purchased a firkin of real ale (Hook Norton's Old Hookey) yesterday (Tuesday 20/12/05) for consumption over Christmas. I set it up in my garage at midday, left it to settle for the afternoon and vented it at 6pm. I first used a hard spile to penetrate and then inserted a soft spile for the rest of the evening. I checked back on it at about 11pm to change the soft spile if required but no beer had come up through the spoft spile !! I removed it and there was absolutely no activity whatsoever! For the evening I replaced a hard spile and then changed it to a soft one again this morning. Is this correct? The garage is very cold so I am worried that it may be too cold? I drew off some beer yesterday and again today and it is indeed clearing, but there are hardly any bubbles and the flavour is not that great.
Any advice appreciated.
Thanks
Reply to
Sean Spicer
In article , snipped-for-privacy@spicer.net says...
garage (in west London) says the ambient temperature has been around 4-5 degrees Centigrade over the last few nights. At this temperature the beer will hold significantly more CO2 in solution than at cellar temperature. In addition, the enzymes involved in the secondary fermentation may well have shut down at that temperature before they've finished their job.
My suggestion would be to try wrapping hot towels round the cask (a technique which I've seen used to re-awaken the secondary fermentation in casks of Taylor's Landlord which wouldn't drop bright).
Once the secondary fermentation is complete and the beer's dropped, the temperature will have less of an effect.
Hope this helps,
Martin
Reply to
Martin
Thanks Martin
I have just been experimenting with a thermometer in the different rooms in my house. This afternoon, the conservatory was 12-13 degrees centigrade rather than the garage which was somewhere around 10 degrees centigrade. I live just outside Reading and am going to have similar overnight garage temperatures to you, so ..... I have moved the cask to the conservatory!!
Bearing in mind that a soft spile and tap are already in place, on the trip through the house I witnessed the bubbling effect I had been looking for through the spile for the first time. I guessed that this was because I had disturbed the finings, even though I kept the cask as level as possible. Therefore, on reaching the conservatory I thoroughly rolled the cask back and forth a few times across the floor, which again produced the bubbling effect through the spile whenever the shive was uppermost. I have a copy of the CAMRA cellarmanship guide and it advises to do this if you cannot stillage upon delivery, which is effectively what happened. The cask finally came to rest at 4pm today.
Ideally, I would have delivered it to the conservatory yesterday and vented and tapped there in an ideal temperature. However, it was vented and tapped almost 24 hours ago, remaining at a low temperature (i am guessing no more than 10 degrees) until now. What effect has this had? I am a newbie with the science but am thinking that secondary fermentation never started due to the low temperatures, even though the cask has been vented. With the better temperature range I am hoping for, secondary fermentation should now start to occur and I should monitor this for between 24 and 72 hours. This should all mean that I should be able to drink on Christmas Eve.
Have I worked this out correctly or have I done irrepairable damage by venting before moving, letting too much gas 'out' ?
Thanks
Sean
Reply to
Sean Spicer

I think you are worrying unduly. I am sure that once it has settled down after 48 hours or more, you'll find the beer in excellent condition.
Brett
Reply to
Brett...
In message , Sean Spicer writes
Relax! Beer hates to have anxious people fretting over it.
Hook Norton isn't difficult to keep, but ISTR its liveliness varies quite a bit from cask to cask even with the same batch in the same conditions. Let it settle for a day or two (leave a hard spile in if it seems flattish) then sample it. Remember there may be some rubbish in the actual tap so if the first quarter of a pint's thick throw it away and try again. In a warmer place you'll naturally get a richer flavour.
--
Sue  ]:(:)p
Reply to
MadCow
In article , snipped-for-privacy@spicer.net says...
Enjoy!
Me, I've got 2 bottles of Fuller's Vintage Ale (a 1998 and a 2004) to compare and contrast in the evening of Christmas Day.
Martin
Reply to
Martin

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