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33 Reasons behind ‘Bad’ beer!

There are, sadly, lots of Publicans who have little or no training in handling beer or good cellar practice. This is usually through no fault of their own, as they purchase an outlet and hope to run the business of their dreams, often with little thought or insight into ‘best practice’ in the cellar.

Months of yeast build-up down the centre of the cask tap resulting in hazy beer in glass

Months of yeast build-up down the centre of the cask tap resulting in hazy beer in glass

Good hygiene is essential to serve real ale at it’s optimum. As brewers say ‘they do 50% of the work, the rest is done at the pub’.

Below are some recent examples we have come across of ‘Bad Practice’ and a little guide below as to why beer is not at it’s peak!

33 Reasons behind ‘bad’ beer!

BEER FOBS BADLY ON DISPENSE

1. Poor cellarmanship – insufficient venting/conditioning.
2. Beer line is dirty with yeast build-up.
3. Beer line or tap connection is letting in air.
4. The level of the beer in the cask is below the top of the tap, so the beer engine sucks in air.
5. Beer line is constricted or has a blockage.
6. Beer engine is being pumped too hastily.
7. A hard spile (peg) has been left tight in the shive and not replaced with a soft spile.
8. There is a sparkler on the nozzle that is too tight or is blocked.
9. The beer in the cellar is too warm.

BEER IS CLOUDY WHEN IT SHOULD BE CLEAR

Badly cleaned cask tap taken apart to show yeast build-up inside.

Badly cleaned cask tap taken apart to show yeast build-up inside.

10. Beer is oxidised/been on too long.
11. Beer line and/or tap is dirty with yeast build-up.
12. Cask has been disturbed but another delivery or clumsy person in cellar.
13. End of the cask.
14. Cask has been moved too many times.
15. Beer is infected. (Refer to suppliers ‘Ullage Procedure’)
16. Beer is under- or over-fined.
17. Beer has been un-fined in error at the brewery. (Refer to suppliers ‘Ullage Procedure’)
18. Cask has been kept or transported in excess heat resulting in ‘tired finings’.
19. Cask has been kept too cold resulting in a ‘chill haze’.
20. Beer has been excessively dry-hopped.
21. Cask has been over-tilted.
22. Finings are defective or old.
23. The cask was the last to be filled from the fermenter so has too much yeast.
24. Yeast has been settling on the tap. Cure – Draw some beer off.
25. Yeast in the beer is layering or it has a ‘fluffy bottom’.

BEER IS CLOUDY FROM PUMP BUT WAS PREVIOUSLY CLEAR FROM CASK

Yeast build-up inside cask tap which would ultimately come into contact with good beer

Yeast build-up inside cask tap which would ultimately come into contact with good beer

26. Beer line is dirty with yeast build-up.
27. Cask has been disturbed.
28. End of the cask.
29. Yeast in the beer is layering or it has a ‘fluffy bottom’.

BEER TASTES OR HAS HINTS OF VINEGAR

30. Beer is oxidised/been on too long (open to the air).

BEER HAS OFF-TASTES (NOT VINEGAR)

31. Beer is infected or stale. (Refer to suppliers ‘Ullage Procedure’)
32. Beer line hasn’t been cleaned before connecting up another cask.
33. Beer line hasn’t been rinsed properly after sanitising (line cleaning).

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