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Lagers on cask

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Providence, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. What is this bierschnapps you folks speak of?
  2. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004 Subscriber

    It's distilled Aventinus. As wonderful as it sounds.
    acevenom and Providence like this.
  3. Why yes it is!
  4. Interesting. Would love to try it. I would imagine it's like Utopias, ha ha.
  5. Most Bierschnapps are simply distilled beer(generally old beer). In every sense of the word it is 'fire' water! You can find it all over Germany usually sold at the brewery whose beer was distilled.

    In Upper Franconia many breweries dispense their beer via a Gravity keg. The one or two beers the brewery makes the most of are served in this manner. Weizen on the other hand is always from a bottle as the CO2 level needs to be higher for presentation, and for the style etc.

    Gravity kegs sometimes refered to as Bayerisch Antisch kegs are first breachd at the top of the keg to 'vent' to atmosphere and then a 'tap' is driven into side at the bottom. Depending on time of day these kegs could be 10 liter up to 50 liter. Depends on how busy they are. These are very traditional and are being phased out at all but the most comitted to tradion breweries. You do see some of these made of wood and they need to be coated on the inside with what they call 'pitch'. It's an annual maintenance the brewers deal with(read expensive). More common are rubber lined Stainless steel....you even see some that have a faux wood look!

    The trick to gravity kegs is that you serve them once breached. Since no CO2 is involved in dispense the beer is shot if not consumed(trashed).
  6. Domingo

    Domingo Poobah (1,145) Colorado Apr 23, 2005 Subscriber Beer Trader

    While I'm not always a schnapps/kirschwasser/obstler fan, the ones at Schneider do seem to have a bit more residual flavor beyond heat. Most of the other ones tend to be a bit too much for me, though.

    The first time my wife and I went to Andechs, a small family of Germans "adopted" us for a few hours and the guy busted out a little bottle of Andechser apple schnapps and a neat little collapsible set of metal schnapps glasses. I had no idea what I was getting into, but we felt obligated to drink with him. That stuff smells nice, but reminds me of moonshine. A post-meal shot is usually all I can handle.
  7. fmccormi

    fmccormi Champion (890) Florida Oct 24, 2010 Beer Trader

    Makes me think of that thread about Urquell's new packaging a few weeks back—I would loooooove to try unpasteurized Urquell.
    Pegli likes this.
  8. Sounds like, per your response and that of Tashbrew above you, distilled beer is far from Utopias. It sounds like it's stright up rotgut! Still....would love to try it.
  9. tai4ji2x

    tai4ji2x Advocate (665) Massachusetts Aug 10, 2007 Beer Trader

    YMMV indeed. i used to think this was a 100% blanket rule too. but have now had enough "exceptions" that disprove it. most places in the US simply handle casks poorly, and most brewers also don't brew FOR cask.
  10. I have had a lot of different hoppy beers on cask (mostly IPAs). I have yet to have a hoppy beer on cask that I don’t think was too muted by the cask delivery. I really don’t think it was a function of the cask being ‘abused’; in my opinion it was simply a matter of too low of a carbonation level for those beers. It appears that you have had differing experiences than me (or we have differing tastes in how hoppy beers are dispensed).


    P.S. One way to really experience this is at a Real Ale Festival. I have attended the Yards Real Ale Festival every year for the past 4-5 years; 25-30 beers on cask and very fresh! The hoppy beers are always muted at this festival. The 'regular' beers like Bitter Ales, etc really 'shine' on cask.
  11. tai4ji2x

    tai4ji2x Advocate (665) Massachusetts Aug 10, 2007 Beer Trader

    i have been on the volunteer staff at NERAX (new england real ale exhibition) events for the past 4 or 5 years, and patronize venues that NERAX's parent organization CASC (cask ale support campaign) works with to ensure properly-maintained cask.
  12. Well, I ‘fall back to: “we have differing tastes in how hoppy beers are dispensed.”

  13. I read "Lagers on Crack" where the hell is my head today?
  14. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,045) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    I suppose Defiant's (Pearl River, NY) beers that are served in-house qualify; they are unfiltered, naturally conditioned and drawn from the bottom of the serving tanks. They don't do too many lagers, but have done a Prohibition lager served in this manner (essentially cask) that was stellar. That's probably the closest we can get in my area.
  15. YMMV @ JackHorzempa

    I hear what you say, conditioning is a big factor. I just like it when beers go soft and fluffy !
  16. TheSSG

    TheSSG Savant (410) Illinois Jul 27, 2008

    Come to the Midwest.
    Between Capital, New Glarus, and Lakefront, I could make a lager dreamteam that would make the Germans jealous!
    (Funny story, my friend had a friend from Germany who was convinced American bier was terrible. I brought him some craft Hefes and Lagers (from Wisconsin), and he was speechless, hahaha. From that day on, he and I drank craft brews together!)
    Providence likes this.
  17. "I just like it when beers go soft and fluffy !" Fair enough.

  18. Domingo

    Domingo Poobah (1,145) Colorado Apr 23, 2005 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Maybe not "rotgut" (I identify that term with fortified wine like Thunderbird or Ripple) but more like a very strong spirit that hasn't been aged in wood. Most of the German ones I've had tend to have a faint nose of what they were distilled from on the nose and maybe just a kiss of sweetness, but they're otherwise pretty fiery. I think they're a little similar to Eau de vie. If you like spirits, you might truly enjoy 'em. My wife likes Obstler and we even brought some Andechser pear obstler back. To me, the Aventinus ones seemed a hair milder than most, so I like them them most.
    A lot of liquor stores will carry German spirits if you look around. Over there they tend to serve schnapps as an after dinner digestif more than something you drink very much of.
    Providence likes this.
  19. Pegli

    Pegli Savant (315) Rhode Island Aug 30, 2006

    I guess the 5L mini kegs would qualify, no ?
  20. jesskidden

    jesskidden Champion (810) New Jersey Aug 10, 2005 Subscriber

    Many of them (probably all of the imports) are flash-pasteurized.
    Pegli likes this.
  21. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,045) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    I recently had a mini keg of Valdensteiner Zwickel, and it had yeast in it- the directions even have you rotate the keg before serving in order to re-incorporate the yeast. That doesn't necessarily negate the possibility that the pasteurized beer is added to a dosage of yeast in the keg, but it does have me wondering about what procedure they use.
  22. There's been more than a few on cask at NERAX festivals overs the years.

    Jack's Abby does some of their beers on cask once in a while as well. I've only had it at the brewery, but I believe they've brought the cask out to Red Bones and other places as well.

    Truth is they really don't taste drastically different than ales on cask. :)
    pjl44 likes this.
  23. azorie

    azorie Champion (770) Florida Mar 18, 2006

    good excuse to take a trip to Germany before even they stop using real wood casks, it's sad!
  24. Believe me, a trip to Germany, Czech Republic and Poland is something my wife and I definitely want to do. Gotta wait until the funds are there though, so I think we'll make it somewhere around 2060, give or take a few years.
  25. Domingo

    Domingo Poobah (1,145) Colorado Apr 23, 2005 Subscriber Beer Trader

    Most places already have. In Munich I believe Augustiner is the only one left that does (not counting Andechs over in Herrsching). Even in Bamberg, some places like Faessla and Greifenklau have faux-casks that are just normal draft systems.
  26. Really? Wow, I would think the difference between the two forms of beer would be even more noticeable out of a cask.
  27. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    Good to see Veldensteiner beers hitting the shelves here; used to quite enjoy their Landbier when I lived in Franconia.

    As for my wisdom on the subject (which is only slightly less exaggerated than my experience), I'd say that cask lager is one of the most unique specialties of the beer world -- and one of the least appreciated in U.S. craft circles. There are literally 1000s of beers served this way in Bavaria, each unique in its own way.

    Case in point on the uniqueness: when I sat down with Matthias Trum of Schlenkerla last summer, he told me about how the locals at the Stammtisch (regulars' table) all polish off the remainders of their beers when they see a new keg being tapped, as they swear the first few liters taste the best. I told him that we used to look forward to the final 1/3 of the keg, as the carbonation had mellowed considerably, making those go down extra easy.

    Also, by paying an extra deposit, you can get a wooden cask from the brewery for personal consumption. We used to do this for parties, especially in the summer. My friend's father had a brass tap and a wooden mallet to use to tap the kegs. Nothing like a few liters of Mahr's U from the wooden barrel as the sun is setting -- or to take back in a ceramic "growler" like I used to do when I lived up the street.


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  28. azorie

    azorie Champion (770) Florida Mar 18, 2006

    charge it, u only live once!
  29. azorie

    azorie Champion (770) Florida Mar 18, 2006

    yea I was reading about this. My wife has relatives in Munich, but I miss the " old beers", we not not been back since 2009, sigh.
    hoping to go again soon.
  30. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    Actually Ayinger and Der Pschorr on Viktualienmarkt both serve from the wooden keg in Munich now; this tradition is being revived in quite a few places, actually, including the Landbierparadies pubs in Nuremberg. In Franconia (if not necessarily Bamberg proper) it's also still very common to find beer served this way.
    azorie likes this.
  31. I usually live by the "make memories not excuses" mantra myself. However, my wife and I made something else recently: a baby. So we've gotta bank a few bucks so this kid doesn't have to wear tin foil wrapped around his feet for shoes.
    Pegli likes this.
  32. patto1ro

    patto1ro Advocate (620) Netherlands Apr 26, 2004 Subscriber

    Augustiner used to be the only Munich brewery using wooden casks, but recently Hacker-Pschorr have been as well.
  33. Are you playing the lottery? That is the strategy I am following.

    Oh course I was tinkled pink to find out that that HerrBurgess is working on a Plan B: “We really need to start a "send Jack to Schlenkerla" fund”.

    I figure my odds are about the same for both of the above.;)

    Providence likes this.
  34. Scott, do you happen to know whether the wood casks are pitch lined?

  35. In general the ones in Germany are. I have a small wooden cask from Germany that a friend found at a garage sale, and it is lined.
  36. So, since it is pitch lined then other than the aesthetics it is basically the same as having the beer from a stainless steel keg?
  37. I have never filled this little beauty, so conjecture follows. These probably will not hold the pressure as well as SS keg. They are also to be vented for gravity dispense.

    Edit - There are plenty of metal and plastic casks on the market today. I have seen big piles of the metal ones at Pubs in London waiting for pick up. One thing that is true is that it keeps the beer from touching the wood, which minimizes infections - so that is like a metal keg.
  38. mmmbirra

    mmmbirra Savant (410) Italy Apr 19, 2009

    Based on my experience, cask beer(gravity) is fairly common in certain areas of Germany and Austria. And even here in Bologna it's not all that uncommon if you know where to go. There are a few places that serve Augustiner, Hacker Pschorr, or Wieninger on cask once or twice a week. They're apparently unpasteurized and naturally carbonated.
    fmccormi likes this.
  39. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    To be honest, I haven't done any research (other than the empirical; i.e. drinking) in this area. Some pretty good info from Ron P. here. Definietely seems like more than aesthetics may be at work: http://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2010/04/lining-casks-with-pitch.html

  40. Well, I have had a lot of cask beer from stainless steel firkins. These firkins have two ‘ports’: one for the spigot and the other is the shive. I suspect that the stainless steel firkins could in theory hold greater pressure but for cask beer I think they all were carbonate around 1 atmosphere.

    It is my understanding that pitch is neutral from a flavor perspective so serving the beer from a pitch lined wood cask is the same as serving the beer from a stainless steel firkin.