Jester King Craft Brewery

Casks & German Gravity Kegs

Now that we’ve been bottle conditioning for a while, we’ve had a chance to compare our bottle conditioned beer with our beer that has been force carbonated with CO2 and kegged. To a person here at Jester King, we prefer the beer that is bottled with live yeast and allowed to mature and develop additional complexity over time in the bottle. For example, I personally find that our naturally conditioned Black Metal Imperial Stout has some dark fruit (plum, raisin) flavors that its force carbonated, non-living counterpart lacks.

In an effort to continuously advance toward making and presenting the best beer we possibly can, we’re in the process of acquiring a fleet of casks and German gravity kegs (a small keg that sits upright on a bar and allows naturally conditioned beer to be dispensed by the force of gravity through a spigot near the bottom of the keg). This means that more often in the future you’ll be able to find Jester King beer that is unfiltered, unpasteurized, bottle, cask or keg conditioned, and allowed time to develop additional depth of complexity and flavor through aging in the presence of live yeast.

It’s not an easy process to go through. It’s a lot less work to force carbonate the beer and be done with it rather than filling small casks and gravity kegs one by one, adding live yeast, hammering them shut with a mallet, waiting two to three weeks for the beer to naturally condition, then manually driving a spigot into the beer when it’s ready to pour. In some regards, we’re starting to move away from modern brewing technology and efficiency and adopt a traditional, antiquated way of making beer for the sake of greater complexity and flavor.

We may ultimately reach the point where all of our beer is bottle, cask or keg conditioned. We’re not 100% of the way there yet. But for now, we hope you’ll enjoy the beer from our small (but growing) fleet of casks and German gravity kegs.