Saturday, 7 May 2011

Life's a Gas


And so was Odell's 5 Barrel last night in the Port St Ale House. Boy was it fizzy. I'd guess at least 2.5 volumes, but quite possibly a fair bit more. Once I'd knocked half the CO2 out of it, there was a decent but thin beer underneath, with some piney hops edging into soapiness. Nothing particularly classic about it. E asked me the very pertinent question as to why the beer we drink in Germany doesn't feel as gassy.  They don't seem quite so fizzy in the US either and certainly not in Belgium, so I am a bit at a loss, as I've yet to find a UK served "craft beer" that doesn't seem well over gassed. The search continues, but it is a dear do doing so.

I couldn't provide a definitive answer to E's question. Of course it could just be us, so used to cask, that the beer seems more gassed than it is. Are these beers served entirely by CO2? It seems like it, but surely not? Perhaps some are served with a touch of nitrogen via an in cellar gas blender, or more doubtfully through pre-mix standard gas bottles, though I suspect not.

Anyone know the full SP on this? I am genuinely puzzled and it isn't a pop at keg. Frankly it is a gap in my knowledge.

Best moment of last night was the look of incredulity (and rebellion) on the barman's face when a customer asked for a pint of Bacchus Kriek with a lemonade top.

7 comments:

Rabidbarfly said...

Some of the breweries tell you exactly what gas settings should be on the keg and a lot of the time it is CO2. Mostly American ones too. I use a mainly 70/30 mix with only one CO2 line at The Rake.
It can be infuriating at times as an operator when breweries don't send on the gas settings and then we have to spend ages getting them right. Part of the job though I guess.

Birkonian said...

Funnily enough I had an Odell beer (possibly 5 Barrels) last week in the Euston Tap. I offered a friend a sip to confirm that it was hard to distinguish the mouth feel from a cask ale. So it must be down to the pub itself.

Tandleman said...

Interesting Glyn. Do some just not bother and bung it on as straight CO2? Which is what Birkonian hints at.

I just don't know in this vase.

Rabidbarfly said...

You'd have to ask the other pubs. Of course with keykegs becoming more common, it should be a problem that becomes less and less prevalent as the gas doesn't touch the beer...Theoretically.

Barm said...

I think they pour the beer differently in Germany so it seems less fizzy in the glass. I had a half-written blog post on this very subject but it appears to have disappeared. Will attempt to reconstruct it.

Mark said...

Glyn: Why "theoretically"? That's got me intrigued!

BeerBirraBier.

HardKnott Dave said...

Glyn is right here, them damn breweries just don't send gas settings with the beer.......

Tandleman, I think that most places don't even change the gas settings; plug and play. Now that I know at least one bar considers adjusting I'll consider creating a technical specification. Maybe.

As you well know, beer will absorb gas if the pressure is set too high or the cellar is too cold. Also, getting carbonation right when the basic method is depending on gas pressure and temperature control in conditioning tank can lead to variable results.