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2018 Cask Lineup

January: Blood Orange Wright Iron - This beer is produced in the brewhouse, fermented and aged in the same manner as our traditional year-round offering, Wrought Iron IPA . After aging, the beer is cask conditioned and fresh blood oranges are added to the cask. The oranges will add a fresh citrus flavor and aroma that will enhance the tropical fruit characteristics already present in the beer.

February: Coconut Turbodog - Cask Conditioned Coconut Turbodog is produced in the brewhouse and is fermented and aged in the same manner as our traditional year-round offering, Turbodog. After aging, the beer is cask conditioned and fresh coconut is added to the cask. This will add the pronounced flavors and aromas from the coconut to the roasted malt always present in Turbodog.

March: Ginger Big Easy - Cask Conditioned Ginger Big Easy IPA is produced in the brewhouse and is fermented and aged in the same manner as our traditional year-round offering, Big Easy IPA. After aging, the beer is cask conditioned and fresh ginger is added to the cask. The flavor and aroma from the ginger will complement the sweetness of the malt and pleasant citrus hop aroma.

April: Lemongrass & Rosemary Creole Cream Ale - Cask Conditioned Giner and Lemongrass Creole Cream Ale is produced in the brewhouse and fermented and aged in the same manner as our traditional Creole Cream Ale. After aging, the beer will be cask conditioned and we will add a combination of lemongrass and ginger to the cask. The ginger and lemongrass add a wonderful bright taste and aroma.

May: Margarita To-Gose - Cask Conditioned Margarita To Gose is produced in the brewhouse and aged in the same manner as the To Gose. During aging we will transfer the beer into a tank, and add tequila barrel staves and more key lime. The beer will then be cask conditioned. The flavors from the tequila staves blend well with the salt and lime already present in the To Gose, to give the beer a Margarita flavor.

What is a firkin?

It’s a small cask (10.8 gallons) that is used for brewing cask conditioned ale or what is sometimes called “real ale.” A smaller version of a firkin, known as a pin, holds 5.4 gallons. Most firkins are made of steel, but there are also wooden firkins which add the flavors of the wood to the brew as they age. These cask brews are served directly from the same container in which they were fermented.

This method of brewing is the way beer was made for thousands of years.

What makes cask conditioned brews different?

The type of beer brewed in these casks is not filtered so they may appear more cloudy than the beer you’re used to drinking and they are also lower in carbonation. Sometimes other ingredients like extra hops or spices are added to the firkin before it is sealed to add flavors to the brew. Once sealed, the cask is not opened until hours before the beer is to be served.

A cask conditioned brew also has a very short shelf life and must be served within a couple of days after it is tapped. Exposure to air and changes in temperature degrade the brew quality.

Why are Abita cask conditioned brews special?

Abita has created these special brews specifically for our cask program. Some are recreations of very old beer styles and others are original creations of the Abita brewers. Each one has a unique character and flavor profile that sets it apart from modern beer styles.

How are cask brews served?

Cask brews are served at 45-50°. While still considered chilled, it is served at warmer temperature than most traditional beers. The temperature difference allows you to experience the complex flavors and aromas of the cask conitioned brew which don’t come through if it is too cold.

Ideally, the firkin is removed from refrigerated storage several hours before tapping and set in a special holder called a stillage rack. The rack holds the firkin at a 30° angle so the beer will gravity flow from the cask.

Venting the firkin

Next, the firkin is vented to release any excess carbonation from the cask. A small wooden peg, called a spile, is driven through the special cork (or shive) on the top of the cask using a wooden mallet. The vent also allows the beer to flow out of the keg once it is tapped.

After the cask is vented it is wrapped in a cooling jacket and allowed to sit undisturbed to achieve the proper temperature for serving. Limited movement of the cask is important prior to serving so that the yeast, hops and other ingredients can settle.

Tapping the firkin

When the brew is ready to be served the firkin is tapped. A wooden mallet is used to drive the tap through the plug on the front of the firkin. This plug is called a keystone.  The portion of the tap that is driven into the firkin is perforated to strain out some of the solids in the beer. The brew is then ready to be served straight from the firkin.

Some bars serve cask conditioned brews from the firkin using a “beer engine” rather than gravity flow.  Both are acceptable methods of serving cask ale.

Finding Abita cask brews

The best way to discover where Abita cask brews are being served is check in to our Events section!