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Wittenden
30-11-2011, 22:47
Reading Quinno's review of a pub in Salisbury selling Wadworth's beers from wooden barells reminded me of this slogan from my very early days of beer drinking:it was probably anachronistic even then. I seem to think that some of the "craft" brewers are experimenting with "oak aged" beers in ex whisky or rum casks, and a few brewers such as Waddies and Theakstons use wood for at least some deliveries.Does anyone have opinions on whether beer tastes better from the wood? I had a couple of fine pints of varoius Theakston's offerings at the Lion in Blakey Ridge early this month: I'd like to think they were from the wood. For the nostalgic, such as me,the sight of a row of wooden casks on stillage at the back of the bar takes some beating:indeed , I've a stash of beer porn showing just such pictures. I know temperature control could be a problem, but not insurmountable.

NickDavies
01-12-2011, 09:53
Didn't Sam's used to make a big thing about all their beer came in wooden barrels?

ROBCamra
01-12-2011, 10:01
Didn't Sam's used to make a big thing about all their beer came in wooden barrels?

Yes, they still do, and I don't drink it if I can possibly help it. IMO wood doesn't necessarily mean good.

Maldenman
01-12-2011, 13:30
A lot of it is nostalgia based but I expect wooden barrels are considerably more difficult to effectively clean and sterilise so there is more chance of encountering a duff batch.

aleandhearty
01-12-2011, 13:52
Does anyone have opinions on whether beer tastes better from the wood?

My gut reaction is to say I don't see how drinking from the wood would actually add anything to the beer, the opposite in fact. I suppose the only test would be to compare and contrast the same brew stored in a wooden barrel versus a modern cask. Even back in the 16th century, brewers recognised that there was something in certain barrels that affected the beer. Labelled 'stinkers', they were often cleaned with lime and lye before being used again.


Didn't Sam's used to make a big thing about all their beer came in wooden barrels?


Yes, they still do, and I don't drink it if I can possibly help it. IMO wood doesn't necessarily mean good.

There are still a handful of breweries that use wood, listed on the SPBW website:http://www.spbw.com/wood.html I wonder if the problem of potential bacterial taint contributes to Sam's policy of chilling OBB within an inch of its life?

Farway
01-12-2011, 15:22
I have had few pints of wooden barreled beer in my time, TBH it was mostly Sarson's. No idea if this was the publican, brewer's or the cooper's fault

Metal kegs are at least sterile before the beer goes in

All a bit like the wine bottle discussions, cork, plastic or screw top closures?

AlanH
01-12-2011, 16:42
Wooden barrels were considered like an extention of the difference between keg and cask. Things could go wrong and give the bad 'stinker' barrel, but somtimes left over yeasts could give the 'perfect' barrel where that magic pint came from that may not be created exactly the same again.
As for temperature control, I remember going into the Harrington Arms at Gawsworth near Macclesfield in the summer of 1976 when the temperature outside was in the '90's'. I saw the wooden casks behind the bar and thought 'Oh no - warm beer' but to my surprise a perfect pint of Robinsons was served at the correct temp. One of them 'magic' pints that you always remember!

Oggwyn Trench
01-12-2011, 18:30
You still see Bathams around in Wooden Hogsheads occasionally , must be a pain to get down a cellar , lot more fragile than metal ones .

gillhalfpint
01-12-2011, 19:45
Didn't some brewery set up a wooden one and the usual somewhere recently to see which was best. I am thinking it may have been Theakston or Marston but probably wrong.

rpadam
01-12-2011, 20:08
Proper Kölsch is served direct from wooden barrels in Cologne - moving full ones around a crowded bar to get them high enough to serve from can be quite an art, but I've never had a bad glass of it in one of the traditional beer houses.

hondo
02-12-2011, 07:18
“Of the regional brewers Sam Smiths, Marstons, Theakstons, and Wadworths (whose cooper Alastair Simms made our barrels) use wooden casks."

http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/lifestyle/weekend-life/food-drink/a_barrel_full_of_traditional_taste_1_3290840

Wittenden
04-12-2011, 22:43
Didn't Sam's used to make a big thing about all their beer came in wooden barrels?
I 'd forgotten Sam's-don't often see 'em now. I know they aren't fashionable, but they were one of a small handful of real ales when I was briefly in Durham in the mid 70's. Developed quite a liking for OBB then.