Author Topic: Research and Education Fund: Cask Conditioned Ale  (Read 531 times)

Offline brewcrew7

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Research and Education Fund: Cask Conditioned Ale
« on: February 23, 2014, 01:56:52 PM »
I appreciate the efforts of John Dura et al for their research project considering cask conditioned ales, which among other projects can be found here: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/community/research-and-education-fund/completed-proposals/

As with all research, more questions are often raised when one finds an answer. Cask-conditioned ale, like all beer, is a living experience: qualities and perceptions are different among tasters as well as during the course of time. Bitterness can fade, oxidation can develop new flavors, and existing flavors can meld harmoniously (or not). Or is more a social experience that sways our opinions of how the beer presents itself to us? I have not been to England nor have I enjoyed a proper pint or three to know for sure if this experience is part of the allure of a "real ale".

The project concluded little difference between the air-vented cask and the one supported by a cask breather after one day of venting and drawing from the first cask. Did perceptions of the beer change after 2 days, 3 days, a week? If so, what qualities changed in the air-vented cask? It would seem the project discredits CAMRA's stance on cask-breathers without putting it through the proper rigors. Can anyone shed light on this with their experiences?



Offline dkfick

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Re: Research and Education Fund: Cask Conditioned Ale
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 07:34:42 PM »
Yeah I have a cask and make cask ale pretty regularly... but I found this study lacked much data.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Research and Education Fund: Cask Conditioned Ale
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2014, 04:25:45 PM »
The way I understood the study is that he made two generic beers and had his friends taste them. What about how oxidation changes different types of beer (e.g. hoppy vs. malty, low ABV vs. high ABV)? Why weren't qualified judges or people with greater qualifications tasting cask beer used to create the data points? No lab work on the beers? It was an interesting question raised but I don't consider the results very useful. It's no more "research" than the "research" I am doing with each batch I brew and drink.
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Offline andrewhejl

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Re: Research and Education Fund: Cask Conditioned Ale
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2014, 05:28:33 PM »
I helped John to arrange some of the tasting and evaluation on these beers so I figured I might address a few of these points.

The way I understood the study is that he made two generic beers and had his friends taste them. What about how oxidation changes different types of beer (e.g. hoppy vs. malty, low ABV vs. high ABV)? Why weren't qualified judges or people with greater qualifications tasting cask beer used to create the data points?

You noted that he "had his friends taste them" but we actually lined up a panel of 7 tasters including 4 BJCP judges (including 2 National and 1 Grand Master judge) who tasted the beers blind and could not tell a great difference.

It was an interesting question raised but I don't consider the results very useful. It's no more "research" than the "research" I am doing with each batch I brew and drink.

I think that the experiment was a bit more rigorous than just our everyday drinking since the beers were brewed, fermented, stored and served side-by-side to minimize as much variability as possible.

The project concluded little difference between the air-vented cask and the one supported by a cask breather after one day of venting and drawing from the first cask. Did perceptions of the beer change after 2 days, 3 days, a week? If so, what qualities changed in the air-vented cask?

As far as this point is concerned, John and I discussed the possibility of tasting daily over several days and agreed that it would be beneficial.  Unfortunately the people tasting were pulled from all over the region and were mostly 45 min to an hour away so it just wasn't viable to go back day after day.

Is there more that could be done with additional time and funding?  Sure, and I would encourage everyone to do it.  I don't think that the Research & Education Fund grants must have the scope of a Master's thesis.  Simpler questions are options too.

Offline brewcrew7

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Re: Research and Education Fund: Cask Conditioned Ale
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2014, 06:43:39 PM »
Thanks for your reply Andrew. I did not want to imply that the study appeared to be just a party among friends. I don't expect a master's thesis either. This winter certainly has provided some difficulty for some of us as far as traveling is concerned so I understand. I guess it goes to show that organizing an event like this is not as easy as it appears.