Page Last Updated: Thu 22 Dec 2016 21:12
What is Real Ale?
All beer starts out the same way, more or less. A sweet porridge-like substance is concocted by dissolving malted barley (and sometimes other) grains with hot water - or liquor as it is known in the trade - and this is then boiled together with hops. The result then has yeast added to it, which reacts with the sugars extracted from the grain, and the liquid ferments to produce alcohol.
It is what happens next that counts. Once the beer has finished its main period of fermentation, it is poured (or ‘racked’) into casks. These will usually be either 18 gallon ‘kilderkins’ or 9 gallon ‘firkins’. The beer is not filtered or pasteurised and so it still contains some of the yeast. This will bring about a secondary fermentation in the cask, which produces the natural gas giving the beer its ‘condition’. Most real ale is ‘cask-conditioned’. Real ale in a bottle (RAiB) describes bottled beers containing live yeast.
Keg beers are effectively ‘killed off’ at the brewery and the gas is added artificially, but at a higher pressure than naturally, giving keg beers their ‘fizz’.
National Beer Scoring Scheme
CAMRA uses the National Beer Scoring Scheme to allow members to record on-line their views on the quality of the beers anywhere in the country. We use it to assist in our pub selections for inclusion in the Good Beer Guide. Alternatively you can submit your scores using cards - Contact Us for details.