Monday, July 14, 2008

Under Presssure

I love beer served from my pressure barrel. It even beats cask dispensed to my mind, though I suppose they are one in the same in many respects; both are naturally carbonated and served at around 12 degrees centigrade. The manner in which the beer is discharged from the vessel is different though, and perhaps this makes all the difference. When I fill the barrel I prime it to around 3 or 4 parts CO2, a shocking degree of carbonation, just the thought of which makes my trigeminal nerve ache and no doubt dedicated real ale drinkers cry into their pints. However, this vast amount of CO2 merely propels the beer from the barrel and provides a degree of turbulence from the tap which brings a satisfying head to the beer. After dispense I'd wager the beer contains little more than 1 to 1.5 parts CO2, and feels perfect on the tongue.

Over carbonation is disasterous in a beer that doesn't warrant it. When it's a part of the experience, such as a tangy refreshing wheat beer I enjoy it greatly, but fizzy ale is just terrible. I find the carbonic flavour overpowers just about everything and the sting on the tongue is not welcome at all. The problem is, I find this happens quite often with many commercial ales, but if so many breweries think this is a suitable way to serve ale, perhaps it is the accepted norm and I am merely being overly sensitive, much like my dislike of beer sold in clear glass bottles ( a whole other post, that one...). So many brewers continue to do both with seemingly little affect on their popularity that the vast majority of ale drinkers must be happy with it.

1 comment:

Ale Fan said...

I'm crying into my beer.