Looking for advice from those with first-hand experience with conditioning/carbonating in a cask (SS firkin or pin; I have a pin).
I bought a stainless steel pin from UK Brewing supplies back in February 2006. To "test it out," I brewed a simple Mild Ale from extract, racked it into the pin, primed it, and drive in a wooden shive. Now here's where I think I made my first mistake; I left it to carbonate at room temperature. About ten hours after sealing it up, CO2 was escaping from around the shive...not sure if this should happen or not...but I suspect it is normal, as the CO2 held by a cask ale is a function of the solubility of CO2 at "cellar" temperature. (yes?) Five days later, after cooling it for a day, I tapped it. The ale was tasty, but was too flat...not as in the American response of "this English beer is flat," but "just about devoid of carbonation" flat.
I did some research and decided my error was in not conditioning it in low 50s temperature. At the time I had no space to do this properly, and was at a lack for getting together enough people to drink up five gallons before it staled, so the cask was used to age 5 gallons of lambic...for two and a half years.
So...fast forward to now: emptied the cask of lambic, cleaned it VERY well, filled it with a low gravity American brown ale, dry hopped it with Liberty, primed it and placed it in a temperature controlled fridge @ 50 F. Tapped it 6 days later; good taste, but I still think it failed to carbonate. Maybe too cold on the conditioning temp?
Anyway, if a few kind folks with cask conditioning experience would share their knowledge, I would be humbly grateful.
And maybe I should name the first successful cask ale after whoever you are...