This is of part of a report on a trip taken by a group of American brewers to Britain. The author doesn't seem that impressed with cask-conditioning and predicts its demise. How prescient. I wonder if he could have imagined, a century later, American brewers messing around with casks and shives?
Storage of Ales.
A very small quantity of English ales is stored in vats, but stout is still matured in large oak vessels of great capacity ; particularly by Messrs. Guinness and other Irish brewers. Otherwise the fermented ale is run directly into the trade casks and these are kept in the beer storage; having a temperature of about 55° F, for a few days in the case of mild ales for quick consumption, (but for several months in the case of pale ales for draught and bottling purposes and strong ales of 1090 to 1110 Sp. Grav. 21.49%—25.85%B).
During this period of storage the ale is not interfered with in any way, except that any excess pressure produced by this fermentation is relieved by inserting in the bung what is known as a porous peg, which is a small peg made of very porous wood.
When the time of delivery arrives, the casks are filled up and finings are added to the casks, so that when a cask is placed in a customer's cellar, the beer quickly brightens.
Krausening of beer is very rarely practiced, and I have not heard of the use of chips.
The beer on arrival in the customer's cellar is allowed to settle from a few hours up to several weeks, according to whether it is a mild ale (quick consumption) or a pale or strong ale, stronger ales requiring a longer period to brighten, although it would be considered a very stubborn beer which was not absolutely brilliant within one week of delivery.
The gas condition of beer in the customer's cellar is regulated by a porous peg, as in the beer storage.
Excessive condition is very difficult to deal with in the customer's cellar, as the beer is drawn for distribution in the "Bar" (Saloon) by the aid of a pump, which would cause the sediment to rise in the barrel if there was too much gas condition in the beer.
Beer is not drawn through pipes kept cool by means of water or ice as in this country.
Drawing by means of gas or air pressure has been tried, but the cost and the fact that the English casks are not made to withstand this additional pressure, have much retarded the application of such systems. It is probable, however, that within the near future a gradual disappearance of the pumping systems, to which there are many objections, will take place.
"Transactions of the American Brewing Institute" 1907, pages 255-256.