At Oakham Ales
we take all the beers we make seriously, none more so than the cask aged. This small group of beers has more time care and attention lavished on them in their quest to be the very best of our portfolio. It all starts with a great beer made and fermented in the usual way, but at the end of fermentation the beer is separated from its now tired yeast cells so the beer is brite. It is then racked into cask and krausened, the cask is then cellared like a fine wine.
Any aged beer has undergone fermentation and Krausening and been cellared for at least 1 month, any beer that gone through the same process and has been cellared for at least 6 months can then be called vintage.
All beers we sell due to legislation must have a best before date. So on all aged and vintage beers that point is at point of sale/when it has finings added. Although the beer will be good to drink beyond the six week best before date, the finings which make the beer brite or clear to drink will break down and cause the beer to become cloudy. This is why you can have casks of beer with the same gyle number and different best before dates.
The Krausening process produced a lot of CO2, this gives all of these beers great condition to the point where we have to monitor the key stones to see if they are bulging. We then have to replace them to stop them exploding. They often do in our cellar! This should not be a problem in your cellar as long as it's cold. Take note; these beers serve best from the cask or a large bore handful, putting them through a swan neck and or a sparkler is wrong as this will destroy the conditioning and cause big losses. Leaving the beer to go flat is missing the point of what these beers are about, like any liquid with dissolved CO2 in it once it's opened it will start to escape, leave it open too long and all the time and effort we put in will bleed out. So drink it at its peak with as much condition as possible and enjoy!