Author Topic: Details on Tapping a Firkin  (Read 1638 times)

Offline tomsawyer

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1694
    • View Profile
Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2013, 05:03:18 AM »
Couldn't have done it (without incident) without you all!

We didn't stay that long after having a couple pints, I found out they drank all but about five pints that night though and finished it off the next day.

Tapping another one this Saturday, Abita winter ale aged in Thomas Handy rye whiskey barrels.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Online kylekohlmorgen

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1205
  • St. Louis, MO
    • View Profile
    • The South House Pilot Brewery
Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2013, 07:38:30 AM »
He's going to set up the casks the night before so they'll settle for 24 hr.  I will ask him if he's going to hammer in the hard spile then or wait.  If he isn't doing that ahead of time I'll try to get there early and do it.

Thats got to be what people are doing wrong in all the crazy tapping videos on Youtube.  No spile at all, or just the hard spile.

This is non-negotiable. I've seen SO MANY bars/breweries in a rush to tap their precious firkin, just to end up with chunky beer.

You can keep 'er cool by keeping some wet towels in ice water, draping them over, and replacing every so often.

Side note - jealous of that Vanilla Buffalo Sweat Firkin. That beer is DELICIOUS.
@southhousebrew

Recipes, Brett/Bacteria Experiments:
http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/

STLHops Homebrew Club:
http://STLHops.com/

Offline tomsawyer

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1694
    • View Profile
Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2013, 03:21:07 PM »
I had him put a jacket over the firkin in an attempt to keep it somewhat cool overnight.  It was drafty in the bar too so that helped.  I think it may have been closer to 60F or a little warmer.  Didn't bother me, one of my friends did say she liked cold beer better.

The peppers made a good beer better.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline Bruce B

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 109
  • Overcome, Improvise, Adapt.
    • View Profile
    • Bruce's Brewing Adventures
Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2013, 12:39:00 AM »
Here are some links to two episodes of Brewing TV that discuss making and serving cask ale.  These along with Steve Hamburg's presentation from the 2010 NHC is what got me going down the cask ale path.  Some of these are how to cask condition and about cask condition along with how to serve. 

http://brewingtv.com/episodes/2011/5/2/brewing-tv-episode-36-gone-firkin.html

http://brewingtv.com/episodes/2011/6/1/brewing-tv-episode-38-none-more-cask.html

We also had a cask ale night at our club meeting in August.  I did an overview presentation using these sources and a few others.  The reference page from the end of the presentation also has some additional links in case you're interested.  There is also audio but it is the first one we ever recorded so I apologize for any quirks.   http://beerbarons.org/index.php/publications-1/meeting-presentation-podcasts

Prosit, Sláinte, Salute, Na Zdravi, Cheers! - Bruce
Beer Barons of Milwaukee - http://www.beerbarons.org
Coordinator - Midwinter and Schnapp Hans Cup Competitions
BJCP National & Mead Judge

Offline tomsawyer

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1694
    • View Profile
Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2013, 08:46:10 PM »
Thanks Bruce, I watched/listened to all three of the presentations.  I remember seeing the Brewing TV episodes, just hadn't refreshed my memory.  Your slide presentation with audio was helpful too.

This did remind me how good Brewing TV was with Dawson and Keeler.  Those guys had chemistry.

Now to find out info about the firkin festival.

Also, I've done a version of this with the 5L metal minikegs, its a bit of work for 10 pints but its a way to experiment without having to drink 5gal at a pop.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline tomsawyer

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1694
    • View Profile
Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2013, 05:14:32 PM »
Firkin #2, Abita winter ale aged in rye whiskey casks, is in place and soon to be spiled.  Tapping tomorrow night.  Now I just have to fight off this crappy head cold so I can smell it.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline tomsawyer

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1694
    • View Profile
Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2013, 07:05:17 AM »
The second tapping went pretty well, although when I went by to check the pressure at 2pm the owner made me move the firkin because he said it was in the way where they set it up the day before.  I did my best not to slosh it around, and foretell there wasn't any dry hops or stuff. The Abita rep seemed surprised that the tapping didn't spray beer, I told him the key was relieving the pressure right before tapping.

The beer was what I guess you'd call a winter warmer although it was amber and might've been able to pass for a barleywine.  It had prominent oak tannins and a firm underlying bitterness that helped it finish dry in spite of the vanilla/caramel sweetness from malt and whiskey.  The cask conditioning really let the flavors shine too.  The crowd was good, we made a few toasts, the Irish band played and when I left after two hours the firkin was 3/4 gone already.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTEqAUtQJcY

I'm hoping my friend continues to bring firkins into town.  I do need to help him find a better insulated jacket, or possibly one with pockets for ice packs so these things aren't at room temp by the next day.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 09:21:22 AM by tomsawyer »
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline Bruce B

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 109
  • Overcome, Improvise, Adapt.
    • View Profile
    • Bruce's Brewing Adventures
Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2013, 11:52:02 AM »
For our cask night we propped the pins up on some trays so that the water from the ice bags dripped down into them.  We also put some movers blankets on top of the ice bags to provide some additional insulation.  It worked pretty well.
Prosit, Sláinte, Salute, Na Zdravi, Cheers! - Bruce
Beer Barons of Milwaukee - http://www.beerbarons.org
Coordinator - Midwinter and Schnapp Hans Cup Competitions
BJCP National & Mead Judge

Offline tomsawyer

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1694
    • View Profile
Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2013, 02:05:29 PM »
Yeah the water from ice would definitely be a problem that'd have to be dealt with.  I've seen some insulating jackets that looked like they were made for firkins, a good cold firkin with a jacket might make it 24hr and be low 50's.  Not that I mind but I do hear a lot of comments about warm beer.

The distributor also carries Summit, I asked him to see what they might have in a firkin for next month.  Hopefully the bars are making some money off this, I don't know what they are paying for these.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2013, 02:07:17 PM by tomsawyer »
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline jeffy

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2513
  • Tampa, Fl
    • View Profile
Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2013, 02:26:36 PM »
I have seen gel-filled "blankets" for firkins, the kind you would freeze and then simply drape over the top.  They look kind of quilted, with one inch squares of gel.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline tomsawyer

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1694
    • View Profile
Re: Details on Tapping a Firkin
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2013, 07:05:23 AM »
Thanks I googled this and found what you're talking about through UK Brewing, I passed this on to the distributor guy.  I hope he buys a jacket and a pack of ten of these ice blankets.  I also pointed him to the nice spring-loaded stillage, crossing my fingers on that.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO