Craft Beer 101: What Exactly Is a Cask?

If you're a veteran craft beer fan, then chances are you already know what a Cask is... this blog probably isn't for you (unless you're looking for a refresher)... no, this one's for the new craft drinkers or anyone who's seen our #BlastfromtheCask posts on social media and have kind of always wondered what the hell we were talking about. In a nutshell (in case you don't want to read the full blog), Cask Beers are all about adventure. They give us a chance to try something new and fun, and most importantly allow our beloved customers to have an even more unique Old Yale experience. So, if you're intrigued, keep reading to find out what a Cask is and why we love them...


What is a Cask and how is it made?

A Cask conditioned-beer (or real ale) is a beer that has been through a fermentation process twice; the initial or primary fermentation (which all of our Old Yale beers undergo), followed by a secondary fermentation and conditioning process, while no gas is added to a Cask, it has a natural carbonation due to the carbon dioxide that is produced - this provides a creamier head and generally lower-carbonation level than our packaged or draught product.

The secondary fermentation/conditioning process is done in a barrel-like container made of metal (you guessed it...) a Cask!

Once the beer has been through the full brewing process, a portion is transferred into the Cask. Priming sugars and yeast are then added and the secondary fermentation process begins.  This is also when additional ingredients are added for taste, flavour and to make it a unique beer experience. The Cask is then sealed and left to condition at cellar temperature for approximately two weeks. Once ready, the Cask is chilled, then tapped and served!


CAMRA - Campaign for Real Ale... 

In the early 1970s, an organization called CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale Society of BC) coined the term 'real ale' for traditional draught Cask beers to distinguish them from processed and highly carbonated beers being promoted by big brewers. The organization is dedicated to the promotion and responsible consumption of natural, crafted beer, just like us at Old Yale Brewing! They're a HUGE part of why we decided to create a weekly Cask program at Old Yale - to celebrate the tradition of Craft Beer while experimenting and of course, having fun!

What can I expect from a Cask Beer? 

One of the reasons we love offering Casks at Old Yale is because it gives us a chance to experiment with flavours and styles. Whether we're adding different unique hops to the equation, playing with spices, fruit and teas or just giving our beers the ol' boozy kick it needs, the opportunities are almost endless. Some of our favourite past "Blasts from the Casks" or "Blasts from the Past" if you will, are:

+ Oak Whiskey Porter (7.7%) - our rich, dark & delicious Himalayan Salted Caramel Porter conditioned on Whiskey soaked American Oak.

+ Mojito IPA (7.0%) - Our bold and hoppy West Coast IPA cask conditioned with Mint, Lime and White Rum.

+ Lime Match Blonde (5.0%) - our crisp, clean & straightforward Knotty Blonde Ale with herbal and floral notes from stone-ground Japanese Green Tea, complimented by citrusy, bright Limes.

+ Azacca Lupulin Pale Ale (5.0%) - perfectly balanced and refreshing Off Trail Pale Ale with a citrusy and tropical boost from the Azacca Lupuplin powder.

+ Mango Tequila Sunrise (6.5%) - Our smooth and tropical Moon Dance Mango Wheat conditioned on Orange Peel and White Tequila

Where can I try a Cask beer?


If you’re interested in trying a Cask, you’re in luck! They have become increasingly popular over the past decade and are quite the fan favorite here at Old Yale Brewing. Casks are an excellent way for you to try something different and experiment with beers you already enjoy, while celebrating the traditional side of Craft Beer.

In fact, every Wednesday in our Tasting Room, we tap a one-time only Cask at 2pm. We call it "Blast from the Cask" and it's always a good time. To find out what each week's Cask will be, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, we release the Cask info every Monday. Cheers!